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Sunday, 16 October 2011

Comments wanted: How to Beat Procrastination.

Internet - You're My Favourite Waste of Time

Wasting time is an author’s biggest problem. We don't mean to, but because the Internet and Other Exciting Things are only a click away, it’s all too easy.

But I have devised a cunning plan!

I’ve not paid my ‘net provider! Ingenious! They’ve cut me off and I’m ‘net free and I can write to my heart’s content… ‘cept I’m getting irate phone calls asking why I’m not answering important emails.

OK, so getting cut off is a bit drastic and self-discipline  is really the only way. You’ve heard of bum glue, not something you can buy off eBay, I’m afraid, but straight talking willpower and the ability to churn out your story without straying from it.

This is why NaNoWriMo is so good; it offers a like-minded community and puts you into the mind-set of writing. Whether your unedited writing is good or not doesn’t matter, it’s getting it out of your head and onto the screen that counts.

But this post isn’t about NaNoWriMo it’s about procrastination – a writer’s enemy. Psychologists think the behaviour is a way of coping with anxiety. It could be the case. I mean, when I’ve a finished product, be it a book or an article, I always wonder if it’s good enough. So, does that mean that because it’s taken a DAY to write this hundred-word (or thereabouts) article I don’t want it published because I secretly believe it’s crap?

It probably is, but I’ve done it. It’s out there for all the world to see and it’s something I’ve DONE. FINISHED, and COMPLETE. Whoop!  

So even though I’ve checked my email three times, looked into Twitter and Facebook. Clicked into and out again of my current novel I’m writing. Checked my KDP statement and upped my bid on eBay for a Chucky doll (Halloween soon!) this short article is written.

Procrastination, for a short time, has been beaten.

Bum glue? I want glue for my fingers not to stray to my Internet connection!

What’s your secret to staying on course?


  1. I have to disconnect from the net completely AND uninstall any games or distracting programs from my laptop ;) Seriously, the six months we had where the wireless didn't work and I had to use the desktop computer to get on-line were SUPER productive!! I love the internet but . . .

  2. The internet probably is my biggest waste of potential writing time - but I'm sure that without it I'd find plenty of alternative ways to procrastinate.

  3. @ Sessha, that's no good to me because it's so easy to reconnect. I think I'm going to have to buy a good old fashioned word processor without Internet connection.

    @ Patsy Like typing away and suddenly having an urge for housework! That's me. It's as if sometimes housewifey jobs are more important. :(

  4. I think one way is to tell people you will have "x" document with them on "x" day, ie make a deadline. If you don't make that deadline because you've procrastinated, your reputation is at stake.

    Another way to help yourself is as well as making sure you schedule in time to work, to allow yourself some play time allocated too.

    from dora

  5. When I'm in writing mode, I put it top of the list, so each morning, once I'm up I'll have tea or coffee (I don't usually have breakfast straight away) and I get an hour's writing done, then I stop for food. Then I do another couple of hours (or more). I give it top priority - no emails, no fb, no internet until after midday.

  6. Hi Dora, that's a very good idea. I will have a go at making it into a deadline - 2000 words or so a day.

    @ Flora, you're right. It MUST become a top priority. It's discipline. Pure and simple.

  7. Losing your internet connection helps, of course. When I was editing my previous novel I booked in to Gladstone's Library in Hawarden for a few days. They had internet connection in all rooms but it was so slow that all I could do online was check my emails. Perfect! got lots of work done. of course, they might have "improved" it by now.

  8. Buy a portable typewriter!