If you’ve been given the job of updating the company blog or newsletter even just knowing where to start can feel intimidating. We are all experts at putting things off. When a task looms large in our heads, it can sometimes feel easier to just ignore it and do something easier instead. All writers procrastinate. Be suspicious of anyone who tells you it just flows from the fingertips. Sometimes it does but even on the days it doesn’t you still have to get the words out and put something down on paper.
These days I know exactly when my procrastinating has got out of hand. It’s when I start blaming my desk for my lack of work. Immersed in a cloudless word fog I’ll stare at my messy surroundings and mutter about inspiration and tidiness… before giving myself a kick and realising I just have to get on with the task at hand.
So without further ado, here’s my personal guide to getting Awkward-Stuff-That-You-Don’t-Want-To-Start-But-Really-Have-To get done.For any big writing task the first thing you should do is break it down into bite-sized chunks. Don’t sit scared stiff looking at a blank screen – look at the task in hand and navigate a path through your writing marathon. You could start with research and then move on to creating an outline before tackling an introduction. Chances are, that by the time you reach the intro you will have a good idea of where you’re heading and how you’re going to get there.
Creating your own mini-deadlines is a great way to make sure you make it to the finishing line. Start by giving yourself a final date when you want to have the whole thing finished and work back from there. When you reach a little writing milestone give yourself a pat on the back. Wiping the sweat from your brow and recovering with tea and/or G&T are of course optional at this point.
If you are a procrastinating pro, it’s at this point you may need even more of a nudge to get things up and running. The answer? A TO-DO List which offers no escape but LOTS of redemption.
- List everything you need doing on a bit of paper. Don’t jot down the jobs you know will get done anyway or you secretly like doing (filing anyone?). Be ruthless.
- Then ban the internet. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are sure fire ways to waste oodles of time.
- Pick a job and set the timer going for half an hour or an hour. Then pick another and start again. You’ll make lots of progress and, perhaps more importantly, feel fantastic at achieving so much.
Finally, remember to KISS your procrastination good bye. Namely, Keep It Simple Stupid. Don’t over complicate it or worse, tear your work to shreds with endless editing. Once you have the bare bones you have something you can shape and edit.
A first draft trumps no draft EVERY time.
If you’ve been given the job of updating the company blog or newsletter even just knowing where to start can feel intimidating. We are all experts at putting things off. When a task looms large in our heads, it can sometimes feel easier to just ignore it and do something easier instead. All writers procrastinate. […]
A quick heads up on why the words at the top matter. Headline writing is a true art form. Armed with just a few well chosen words you can convey a great deal within a matter of seconds. It’s no surprise then that with so much riding on headlines a lot of thought goes into their […]
Writing for a living can be very rewarding. Every day you create something new; bringing new ideas to life. But EVERYONE has little bugbears about their profession and writing is no exception. Now it goes without saying that I love what I do… but every so often I feel the need to count to ten. […]