ROW80: Battling Procrastination

Two out of three isn’t bad, although this is yet another week where I totally could have accomplished all three goals if I would have just kicked myself into gear on the writing and gotten it done. I did give it priority over the brochure design, but instead of working on that project when I didn’t feel like writing, I just goofed off more.

The good news is I got my 2500 words in, and I did finally kick myself into high gear, by using an old friend: the timer.

My friend, the timer

My friend, the timer

I’ve also been following Dean Wesley Smith’s progress as he chronicles ghost-writing a novel in ten days. Writers, this is very worth checking out, to see how a seasoned pro does it! He takes plenty of breaks, and does lots of other stuff too – but when he writes, he sits in the chair, gets the words down, and doesn’t slack. This evening, I had another 800 words to reach my weekly goal of a measly 2500 words (Mr. Smith writes over 7k/day), so I told myself, if he writes 1000 words in an hour, I should at least be able to get these 800 words in about the same amount of time (I’ve also timed myself before, so I know I can). I also remembered what Flylady says: “You can do anything for fifteen minutes.” Well, I made it a little easier and set the timer for ten minutes. (I use the Windows 7 Widget, in case anyone’s curious.)

ROW80Logo175When it went off, my first thought was that I’d set it for one minute instead. But then I looked at what I’d written, and I’d gotten over 200 words down! So yes, I did get those last 800 down in less than an hour.

Here’s the quick rundown of this week’s progress:

  • Design flyer for relative’s small business – started, but not much done
  • Writing: 2,500 words – Done!
  • Fitness: 4 workouts – Done! Actually, I went one better and did five. Back to my old routine!

So this week, the goals remain pretty much the same, except that the story will be done in less than 2500 words.

  • Design flyer for relative’s small business
  • Writing: finish short story
  • Fitness: 5 workouts

What about you – do you have trouble with procrastination sometimes? What do you do to get over it? Please share – I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

8 Responses to \

  1. “You can do anything for fifteen minutes.” <– love this, I need to remember that. So much easier to handle something for 10 or 15 minutes than an hour or more. Smart. Plus, you had 5 workouts, well done. I'm working my way back to that discipline. I always feel so much better when I'm physically active.
    Hope you have another great week.

  2. Isn’t it amazing how quickly time moves when you’re in the groove? If I have an appointment, I have to set my timer, or I’ll be late! Luckily, I have this handy-dandy, portable timer/stop watch right beside me and it works GREAT. I take it with me when I travel, too (because I have Vista and no built-in widget).

    I tend to procrastinate when editing. Mostly because it’s mind draining and slow. I wish I could edit as fast as I can write, but it is what it is. I just have to tell myself to get that chapter done or no writing on the new project! That seems to be working for me now.

  3. Great progress, Jennette! I’ve used timers before too, and they can be great. A word war on Twitter can do much the same thing.

    More dangerous for me that procrastination is what I call “frittering” — getting distracted. I want to look something up, and then I see something else, which leads to another something else and another … I think I should just turn off the Internet more often. 🙂

  4. Yes, I procrastinate…mostly housework, but also editing at times. I can get in a writing “zone,” but I haven’t yet discovered such a zone for editing.

    Good week! I love that “you can do anything for 15 minutes” quip. I need to remember that. Happy writing and workouts this week!

  5. This post is super timely for me, Jennette. I’m always very disciplined about my writing. BUT . . . I’ve been rushing through revisions to get my manuscript to my editor, and I’m beat. It seems I’ve thought of little else but these revisions for the last month.

    But being reminded of that 15-minute rule is just what I need this morning. I’ll set the timer, do some revisions, then see if I can go another 15 minutes. After that I have to get dressed to go teach my . . . that’s right: my writing class, where I’ll be adjuring my students to sit down and write! 😉

    Thanks for this!

  6. 7,000 words. I feel like such a slacker. I don’t think I’ve ever done that in one day. I’m going to have to check out that link. Procrastination does get me, but I also have intense “closure” needs LOL so I have a hard time relaxing if I don’t get something checked off.

  7. SJ, telling myself “I can do anything for fifteen minutes” really works!

    Stacy – I couldn’t believe how fast those ten-minute bursts went! I think the widget I have is for Vista, too. It didn’t come on my computer – I had to go download it from Microsoft’s site.

    Ruth, thanks! I so get what you mean about “frittering.” I do that way too often! The timer helps keep me from doing that.

    Julie, I procrastinate from doing housework too, but usually use it as a break from writing on the weekends. I find it easier to get into an editing zone, probably because I’ve done more of it lately.

    Lynette, glad it helped! Good luck on your revisions!

    Coleen, me too! His series is so worth a read. Be sure to read the comments – he really shows us what we can do if we really want to.

    Maria, I love lists!