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7 Fool-Proof Ways To Kick Procrastination (In The Pants)
by Jennifer Brown Banks
There are hundreds of bright and talented writers whose works you will
They will never motivate, move you to tears, or make a difference.
How do I know? Because I have the pleasure of teaching them in creative
classes and workshops throughout the city. They are men and women, young
and old—some even with “rocket science” potential. The
prospect of which saddens me. For as a friend of mine often states, we
all have a piece of the puzzle of this thing called life, of which we
uniquely possess. Nobody has the exact same vision or creative voice.
Yet I see it far too often. Here’s the script. An aspiring writer
will sign up for my class. He/she will enthusiastically ask questions,
and pen page upon page of notes. They leave the session singing my praises,
and swearing to put into practice the things they have learned. Then they
get home and reality settles in. There are everyday distractions—a
demanding job, family obligations, and plaguing doubt. Not to mention,
there never seems to be enough time.
Consequently, they join the ranks of the “someday” people.
You know them. “Someday I’m going to finish that novel.”
“Someday I’ll publish my poetry.” And someday never
When I follow-up with them, months later, I find that they’ve given
up on their dreams, while toiling on dead end jobs. Perhaps you’re
even one of them.
Given this scenario, how does one go from good intentions to great author?
Here’s how to start:
1. In the words of a very famous Nike commercial—“Just do
it!” Start somewhere, anywhere. Pen a piece for your community newspaper
or your church’s newsletter. Believe me when I say that the thrill
of a byline is addictive. I’ve been writing for 15 years, and every
time I go to a bookstore or supermarket and open a book or magazine with
my work, I get that same original high! Still
2. Get a Goal Buddy You know how some people have work out buddies to
tag along with them at the gym to stay motivated and accountable? It works
for writing as well. Perhaps it can be a friend with similar aspirations,
or even someone you meet through an online bulletin board.
3. Establish Short and Long Term Goals. Where would you like to see yourself
a month from today? A year down the line? Decide, then write it down.
Studies show that people who commit their goals to writing are 3x more
likely to achieve them.
4. Set Deadlines. A goal without a deadline is just a dream.
5. Stop Striving for Perfection—Instead pursue excellence. Sometimes
procrastination occurs simply because of over analysis and over editing.
Write it to the best of your ability, and then send it off already! It
doesn’t have to be picture perfect; that’s what editors are
6. Set Priorities. Can you have it all? Most definitely. Just not all
at the same time. Know that there are sacrifices to be made. For example,
sometimes my writing causes me to live the life of a hermit. For you it
may be fewer hours in front of the TV. Which is more important?
7. Know that “Discipline” is not a Dirty Word. Believe it
or not, good habits are just as easy to cultivate as bad ones. Sit down
to your computer or journal—daily, weekly, or whatever works for
you. But be committed and consistent. Then watch the results!
Here are some resouces to help:
CREATIVE WRITING PROMPTS.COM—Helps
to jumpstart the creative juices through prompts and exercises.
the “voice of authority” on writing and related markets, did
you know that they also offer 52 prompts (one per week) to help you generate
creative pieces and produce more?
prompts, inspiration, and excellent resources for writers.
So what are you waiting for?
To quote a popular saying, “Most people won’t regret the
things they have done when their life is over. It’s the things they
didn’t do that they will most regret.”
Don’t let that be you. Immortality awaits!
© Copyright 2006, Jennifer Brown Banks
Jennifer Brown Banks is the former senior editor of Mahogany Magazine. She holds a B.A. in Business Management and blogs at Penandprosper.blogspot.com
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