Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Procrastination vs. Discipline by Jan Drexler

Writing is hard.

No. Wait. Let me start over.

Disciplining myself to write is hard.

I love to write. I love to revise and edit. I love the feeling when God gives me the exact word I need to make a sentence sing.

BUT… Some days I’ll do just about anything else other than write. Do you have that same problem?

Some days the discipline of writing escapes me. It’s a battle. I stare at the computer screen. I answer emails. I scroll through Facebook. I answer more emails.

I procrastinate.

Procrastination is the antithesis of Discipline. Procrastination tells me I have plenty of time. Procrastination convinces me that cleaning the bathroom is much more important than putting words down on paper.

Procrastination tells me that today isn’t important.

But we have a way to win this battle!

Discipline is the armor of a writer. Discipline has its own set of weapons, and when I open that box, Procrastination flees!

What are the weapons of Discipline?

1) Routine. Make a schedule and keep it. When I plan a time to write, I’m more likely to stick to that plan. If my schedule says that my writing time is from 8:30 until noon every morning, then I know I’ll stick my bottom in my chair and put my hands on the keyboard.

2) Know your strengths and use them. I know there are two times in the day when I am most successful at writing, when my brain is most creative, so that’s when I schedule my writing time.

I also know I write more easily when I’ve done my homework: research, character development, and plotting. So, I make sure I have those things checked off the list when I sit down to write.

3) Treat your writing as a job. I learned this trick when I was a homeschooling mom. When a person works outside the home, their time is naturally divided into “work” and “non-work” hours. For those of us who work at home – whether it’s our primary occupation or not – we need to set aside our work time as sacred. Tell your friends not to call or stop by during those times. Don’t answer the phone. Turn off your social media notifications. Minimize interruptions where you can.

4) And that leads me to my final weapon: Be flexible. Life happens. The dog gets sick. Your child has a volleyball game. Your mom comes to visit for a week. If you can’t adjust for planned and unplanned life events, then Discipline will suffer. One unplanned dishwasher leak can throw off my schedule for days. So, when the interruption happens, take the needed time off without guilt – but then get back into your routine as soon as possible!

Do you find it hard to discipline yourself to write? What methods (or weapons!) have you found to be most effective?


Jan Drexler’s ancestors were among the first Amish immigrants in the 1700s, and their experiences are the inspiration for her stories. Jan lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and growing extended family. She writes historical Amish fiction and is published by Revell and Love Inspired.

Fun blog:
Twitter: @JanDrexler
Facebook: Jan Drexler, Author

The Sound of Distant Thunder
Katie Stuckey and Jonas Weaver are both romantics. Seventeen-year-old Katie is starry-eyed, in love with the idea of being in love, and does not want to wait to marry Jonas until she is eighteen, despite her parents' insistence. So much can happen in a year. Twenty-year-old Jonas is taken in by the romance of soldiering, especially in defense of anti-slavery, even though he knows war is at odds with the teachings of the church. When his married brother's name comes up in the draft list, he volunteers to take his brother's place. But can the commitment Katie and Jonas have made to each other survive the separation?

From the talented pen of Jan Drexler comes this brand new Amish series set against the backdrop of the Civil War. She puts her characters to the test as they struggle to reconcile their convictions and desires while the national conflict threatens to undermine and engulf their community.


  1. Jan, great tips on how to deal with that procrastination monster....which I struggle with often! I’m in the revising phase right now, which I love, but still need to use those snippets of time available to make progress...flexible progress. Good to see you have a new series starting this month. Thanks for your thoughts!

  2. Preach it, Jan! I'm all about routine as well. Sometimes, like now, I get pulled into reading an awesome blog post. lol. Great advice here. Happy writing! Waving to Sandy... :)

    1. Hi Dora! Routine is the only thing that keeps me writing some days! For some reason, this week has been double distracting. I'm going to blame the holiday. :-)

  3. Awesome tips and great reminders to get us focused on our goals, Jan. God Bless!!

  4. I battle with procrastination, but find if I add my writing to my To Do list - I fit it in. Great article!

    1. Hi Janetta! I wouldn't get anything done without my to-do list. I use a bullet journal, and I'd be lost without it.

  5. Oh yes, I battle procrastination with everything. The best solution for me and writing is a routine or schedule. And I love BICHOK which you’ve taught me by example. Some days words flow better than others but nothing happens if I don’t have my bum in the chair and hands on the keyboard. 😁

    1. LOL! Exactly, Amy! I'm running late this morning, but as soon as I've walked the dogs, it's BICHOK time for me!

  6. Yes! I love the tip to treat it like a job. In all of my extensive homeschooling experience (ahem...three whole days...ahem) I've already found that things work better if I get up with an alarm, shower and get dressed, eat breakfast, and "get ready to go" to work as if I had to leave the house to go teach at school. Somehow it just tricks your brain into "taking it seriously" in a way that scrubbing around in jammies just doesn't.

    So I wonder what tricks I could use to treat writing like a job. Maybe start the habit of "clocking in" on a time sheet? Adopt a work uniform (other than my slippers)? Hm...this needs some thought.

    Oh shoot. Giving it some thought means procrastination. ;)

    1. Oooh, I like the clocking in idea! Anything to keep me accountable!

  7. Jan, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only writer who battles with this time thief! Your suggestions are spot on, and especially writing when you know your brain works at its best. When my husband complains I'm doing laundry at night ("why can't you do this during the day??? You're home ALL day!!!) I tell him "I'm doing my JOB during the day" - and if I was still working outside the home I would be doing laundry at night. He's just forgotten "those days"!

    1. I used to have trouble with my husband wondering why I didn't get more writing done during the day. After all, it only takes a few days to READ a book, so it should only take a few days to WRITE on, right?

      LOL! Okay, he wasn't that bad. But now that he's home more (he's semi-retired and working part-time), he sees me struggle with words, concepts, timelines, characters, etc. and I don't hear that any more.

      Now, he's the one keeping me accountable!


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