This does not apply to me at the moment, of course, I am in fact extremely busy – but I have been known to drag my feet a little when it comes to getting into my manuscript – sometimes for days – More than once I have finally climbed in there to sit and read or poke with things, only to wish I had started much earlier, say, in the morning rather than last thing at night because – hey – it’s going great and I’m actually enjoying myself!
That’s the frustrating bit, the wasted time not getting in there when it turns out to be fun.
Procrastination is bad at the best of times, but when things end up going beautifully (and you might have missed out), you feel like you’ve been cheated as well!
So, since realizing that, I have learned to trick myself in there if necessary. The writers amongst you will know where I am coming from. You might even do the same and you might possibly have a better range of tricks than I do, in which case, please do share!
Here’s what I do:
I will set up some simple task. It has to be simple, some added sentence, something really minor that won’t take too long because that’s the trick.
I’ll tell myself that I’ll just go in there and do that, that it’s a two minute job, tops. I’ll tell myself that I will feel as though I’ve achieved something by doing this minor thing. That alone will get me into the file. What writer doesn’t want to end the day feeling as though they’d done something?
Then, I’ll do whatever that two minute job is. While there, of course, I’ll have to read the section where I do the work, whether it’s putting something in, taking something out or just moving something along. The task might actually be as simple as just checking some fact is in there, or checking something, such as what color eyes you gave a character.
What often happens is that I end up staying in there and a few minutes turns into many hours and I feel great for it.
The point is, if my little trick doesn’t work and I don’t stay, I haven’t lost anything for trying – and I still got that little job done – but if it does, I’ve just given myself a key that unlocked a period of procrastination that might have run into weeks.
Yes, it’s a trick, but, hey, it works! Isn’t that what counts?