How to Stop Procrastination

Writers are notorious procrastinators. One will look for any excuse not to write, but when you step into a bookstore you realize that your favorite writers finished their work. Sure, they may have procrastinated along the way, but at some point they got down to brass tacks and got to THE END.

The dream of publication is an intoxicant that keeps many writers in the chair. So how do the pros overcome the desire to clean the house, to return overdue library books, to do the grocery shopping and file their taxes early, all in an effort to avoid writing? Well, an article in the Harvard Business Review has a few ideas on how to beat procrastination (link to full article at the end):

It’s all about rebalancing the cost-benefit analysis: make the benefits of action feel bigger, and the costs of action feel smaller. The reward for doing a pestering task needs to feel larger than the immediate pain of tackling it. - Caroline Webb

In her article, Caroline Webb suggested you can overcome procrastination by doing the following, and if you’re following along at home want to know if these techniques work, the simple answer is yes. Give them a try:

  • Visualize how great it will be to get it done.

  • Pre-commit, publicly.

  • Confront the downside of inaction.

  • Identify the first step.

  • Tie the first step to a treat.

  • Remove the hidden blockage.

Patiently ask yourself a few “why” questions—“why does it feel tough to do this?” and “why’s that?”—and the blockage can surface quite quickly. Often, the issue is that a perfectly noble competing commitment is undermining your motivation. - Caroline Webb

You can read Caroline’s full article here. And if you’re thinking about finally putting an end to your procrastinating ways, joining a community of writers is a great next step. Check out our classes (In-Person & Online) in Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction, and Screenwriting via the button below.