How To (Successfully) Procrastinate NaNoWriMo

Sometimes, the words just aren’t coming and you don’t know why. Well, don’t despair! Simply procrastinate (or, look for inspiration). On my other blog, you can see how I managed to expertly procrastinate, but I thought I’d do another post if you do need some help to get through the month. 

1) Chat to your writing dragon/kitsune/imaginary writers friend. Don’t lie, we all have one. Get in touch with yours, rant a bit and perhaps ask for advice, or talk over your plot line. Alright, so this’ll look like you’re talking to yourself, but all the best are a little crazy. 

2) Make your NaNo survival kit! Check out the forum here. I’ll probably be posting about my NaNo survival kit on my other blog if you’re curious. 

3) Go out. Going out for the day/evening is ok, too, and you’re kinda procrastinating NaNo, but you’re also having fun, a break, and getting inspiration to get back into it again! 

4) Write your characters’ back stories. For fun. Maybe. 

5) Browse the NaNoWriMo forums and get chatting to some other Wrimos. They might be able to help with your predicament! 

Obviously, procrastinating the entire month of NaNoWriMo probably isn’t a good idea, but, hey, we all have bad days, and don’t let it bring you down! And sometimes, successful procrastinating is just as good and helpful to you as writing for 5 hours straight. 

Good luck for NaNo, folks! 

Find a Way To Relax

I know that writing can be stressful. More than stressful: sometimes it even turns into a chore. Characters are temperamental, the plot just isn’t working and despite the five cups of coffee you’ve had, the caffeine just isn’t kicking in.

Miraculously, though, you don’t have to write every day. Well, most of the time. Some times you can have a day off, even two days, or maybe just a morning if that’s all it takes.

When you do relax, distract yourself, completely, from your writing. If, for example, you find baking relaxing but you know it so well that your mind wanders, then try a new recipe that you really have to concentrate on. Not only will you be pleasantly pleased with the brand-new end result, but you’re distracted!

Why distract yourself? Because if you’re thinking about your writing, chances are you’ll still be stressing about it, and wasn’t the point of this whole thing to take a break?

If you want/need to take a break, though, and you can’t get away from your laptop (for example, if you go down stairs you’ll be trapped by a well-meaning but incredibly annoying relative) then why not try writing something else instead?

This article was originally going to be about fanfiction, but I did a series of articles on that not long ago. However, fanfiction can be a fantastic way to wind down, or, indeed, wind up if you’re trying to get your mojo working. The characters are already 3D and completely mapped out for you, you don’t particularly have to think about it, and you can write as much or as little as you want. I’m actually writing a fanfiction at the moment, because it makes me happy and helps me to destress. Simples!

Another thing you could do is simply write something else: an article, a blog post, a couple of fillers for magazines (which can then be used in the real world!), even a short story about something random on your desk or outside your window. And then these things can kind of just disappear into the void of writings if you want them to, so they can be as terribly hilarious as you want.

One of the worst things you can do when you’re stressing about your work is procrastinate: go on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and just sit and scroll. It’s incredibly difficult to break the loop, because you think to yourself, “Oh, I’ll just read the next post…or the next one…or the one after that,” and before you know it you’ve wasted an hour looking at cat videos! Even baking would at least give you a decent finished product. Procrastination is my writing fatal flaw, and it’s something I am trying to work on!

Remember that writing is meant to be something that you love, not something that you detest. Start each session with a smile and make sure it ends that way, too. Most of all, enjoy it!

Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! 😀 

Dammit Procrastination!

Ugh, I hate it when you’re avoiding doing what you want to be doing. Right?

First of all, procrastination makes no sense. Sure, if it’s something you don’t want to be doing, I understand. But I want to be writing; I want to tell my character’s stories. So why can’t I – and why can’t you?

  • Can’t be arsed. Basically, what it says on the tin. When you’ve had a long day, and you just don’t want to.
  • Written yourself into a plot hole. Those little plot bunnies burrow their way into your work and then undermine all your lovely plans. They’re terrible, I know.
  • Something else is distracting you. A looming deadline, screaming kids, the moon being too bright. The usual.
  • You don’t want to do it. Is it an article that you’ve been putting off because the subject makes you yawn?
  • The deadline is looming. Funnily enough, I work brilliantly under pressure – just ask my GCSE grades. But some people – most people, probably – don’t. Like, at all. And when a deadline is coming up, especially if you know this could make or break your career, it just seems to oddly give you more of a reason to avoid it.

Procrastination affects most people in their lives. Be it for a college application, picking the kids up from school (writing, kids, writing, kids…) or even going to bed, it’s there.

So, what can you do about procrastination?

  • Make yourself be bothered. I normally devise a punishment for myself if I don’t do it. I want to lose weight this year, and if I don’t hit my goal, I’m having a cold shower. May I remind you that by this time it will be December and our house freezes.
  • Look back over stuff you’ve written, and see if you can figure yourself out of what ever hole you’ve written yourself into. Maybe you forgot something and it made you take a completely different path to the one you had thought out. Sure, it may mean you have a rewrite a lot of it, but it’s better than finishing and your manuscript being a mess.
  • Get rid of distractions. Some people tidy their rooms if their procrastinating. Tidy them before you try to start work. Hell, lock yourself in a box (without WiFi, phones or a book) and make yourself write.
  • If you don’t want to do it, don’t do it (NOTE: this doesn’t apply to homework). Also note that this applies only if you don’t need the money… That article you don’t want to do? Don’t do it! If you have to, then yes, by all means, do it. But if you really really don’t want to do it, it’s making you miserable and you just can’t even bare thinking about it…don’t do it.
  • If you can, move the deadline to a later period. If you can’t, get your butt into gear. Sometimes, you just have to give up and do it. I want to start writing in 10 minutes, working on my novella – hence, I’ve got my butt into gear and written this article!

Remember, writing is supposed to be fun. Have fun with doing it. If it’s making you unhappy, get yourself another hobby (if it’s your job, find a new job!).

But just because I’ve said that doesn’t mean that some days you just don’t want to write. And that’s okay.

Procrastination is basically just an annoying kitten that won’t leave you alone. Sometimes you just have to give it some attention and play along before it goes off to sleep.

Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! 😀 

PS Sorry this post may be a bit scattered. I’m tired, all right?! 😛

When It’s All Right Not To Write

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There’s no getting around it. Sometimes, when you sit down at your computer/notebook/tree carving, you just don’t want to write.

And sometimes, that’s ok.

I mean sometimes, obviously, it’s not. When you’re working to a deadline, or have to get that essay done. THEN you need to write. But occasionally (very occasionally) it’s ok if you just want to sit with a book instead of typing out word after word. When is it all right not to write?

  • If you’re ill. Serious one to start, but writing + illness [can sometimes] = more illness. Don’t stress yourself out. Writing requires a lot of brain power and obviously physical work, unless you’re dictating it – and then it requires you to say every single thing, even punctuation. Don’t make yourself sicker by trying to hit that goal. Wait until you’re better, then smash it.
  • If something else more important has come up.  For example, your little brother’s sporting award night, or a dance. Don’t stay up just to write a few shitty words. You want to have good stuff to work with later. Just relax, enjoy the night, and then write the next day.
  • If you just don’t feel up to it. You’re not ill, but you feel it. Been dumped? Watched something depressing on the news? If you feel physically sick at the thought of adding another word to that god-damned document, wait until you’ve had a sleep, and feel a bit better.

Sometimes, however, you feel like you don’t want to write. So you don’t. But the next day, you don’t want to either. So you don’t. But the next day… 

If it’s been a while, and you’re just procrastinating, you have to start writing again, if that’s what you really want to do. If you don’t want to be a writer any more? Well, quit. But remember not to look back and think about all those characters you’re abandoning, or the plot line someone else may use to become a millionaire, or…

Yeah, you wanna keep writing.

Um… How do you start up again?

  • Find something interesting, and rewrite it in your own words. By far the easiest, and gets the juices flowing again.
  • Find something you wrote a long time ago, and rewrite/edit it. Alternatively, use the crappiness to egg yourself on.  No doubt about it: you’ll have improved.
  • Find someone better at writing than you. Try and write something better than them. Aim high, hit low.

Basically, if you wanna write, write. Sometimes it’s good to have a break: go for a walk, have a bath, take the dog for a swim. But sometimes you just gotta grip your teeth and get those words on the page.

You can do it. I believe in you.

Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! 😀