Every writer deals with procrastination. It’s one of our key traits. We put off the next chapter, the next article, and wait until our deadline is just a few days away. Then we frantically type away at the keyboard, hoping that we have enough time to edit it before it’s too late.

But why do we procrastinate?

the time is now

Photo by asja

One of my New Year’s Resolutions for this year is to procrastinate less. I’m probably the biggest procrastinator in my family. There’s always something I’d rather be doing, always a new way to organize my room, always a friend I haven’t e-mailed in forever. Why? Why do I put projects off? I only figured out the answer to this question a few days ago.

It turns out that there are multiple reasons why one might procrastinate. Here are three possibilities.

1. You’re Scared

You’re scared of rejection, of failure, of negative criticism. You might be hesitant to write because you’re not sure how people will react.

The truth is, there’s no point in not trying. You can’t please everyone in the world. If you tried to do that, you’d be stuck with an impossible feat that pulls you in a hundred different directions. That doesn’t make anyone happy, including yourself.

Put your brave face on and write what you’ve been meaning to write for a while now.

2. You’re Stuck

You’re out of ideas. That dreaded writer’s block has gotten the best of you again. You’re putting off opening that document because you know that all you’ll do is stare at it for ten minutes before going off to check Facebook.

I’ve put off writing posts I really did need to write for weeks because I had no idea what my topic was going to be. When I finally did sit down at my computer, I realized that I had dozens of ideas. I just had to look for them.

 3. You’re Bored

Your story is no longer interesting. You’ve squeezed all of the excitement out of your plot and now all you have is a dry sponge.

This has happened to me too many times to count.

This problem is actually quite easy to fix, though. Add a plot twist, a new character, a surprising secret that no one knew about your character until now. You’d be surprised how many chapters you can get out of that. All I added was one surprising secret about my minor character and suddenly the word count in my story has doubled!

Try it!

Do you procrastinate? If so, why? How do you handle it?

PRACTICE

Write what you’ve been putting off for a while now. (Come on, I know you have something). If you really and truly don’t have anything that you’ve been procrastinating, write about a character who is procrastinating an important project.

Write for fifteen minutes and post your practice in the comments. Be sure to comment on a few other practices, as well.

Have fun!