Thursday, May 16, 2019

How to Overcome Procrastination by Sherrinda Ketchersid

I am the world’s worst procrastinator. Seriously, I am. I’ve been procrastinating writing this post by taking the dog out (again), cleaning the kitchen (what?!), and checking my email (for the 100th time today). Can anyone relate?

Procrastination is really just a form of fear.

We fear that our work will not be good enough. We fear that we will be exposed as an “imposter” posing as a writer who knows what she is doing. But if we are honest with ourselves, we would realize we are hardest on ourselves—our own worst critic. I know this is true for me.

Sometimes fear stems from not knowing what to write about. I struggle with this when I’m trying to think of something to blog about. I wonder what I have to say that would be of interest to others. I suppose that is another example of the “imposter syndrome”, but not knowing what to write about can be paralyzing.

How do famous authors combat procrastination? Check out these authors and what they do to get themselves writing:

• Victor Hugo – His procrastination got so bad he stripped and made his servant hide his clothes. This forced him to stay at home and focus on writing.
• Haruki Murakami – He swims 1500 meters every morning to wear out his nervous energy so he can focus on his work.
• Douglas Adams – His procrastination was so bad a friend stayed with him to keep him writing.
• William Gibson – He incorporated naps into his routine so that when he awoke, he would be fresh and ready to write.
• Maya Angelou – She would go to a hotel and have all distractions and stimuli removed from the room so she could focus.
• Friedrich Schiller – He let apples rot in his desk drawer, saying he couldn’t write without the stench.

What can we learn from these authors who found a way to deal with procrastination?

• Do something to get your mind and body able to focus. Whether it is exercising or napping, do what allows your mind to clear and attend to the task at hand.
• Find an accountability partner. I know this helps me when I am under the gun to get a writing project finished. Having to tell someone at the end of the day how much I accomplished is a huge motivator for me.
• Find a new place to write. I know many writers who leave their house to write in a coffee shop, restaurant, or library. This gets them away from the mountain of chores and responsibilities at home.
• Instigate a ritual to signal writing time. For me, I like to light a good smelling candle and have a cup of coffee by my side. This signals my brain to get started and most of the time it works, though if it is a rainy day, I just want to read instead of write.

As a Christian writer, I have found that when I go to God with my procrastination—my fear of not being good enough or not being inspired—He manages to ease the way for me. He has given us the gift of words and we need to fan that gift into flame. As 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

Don’t be timid. Do not be afraid. Don’t let procrastination rule your life. Just write from the heart. Write as you are led. Your words on the page will not be perfect the first go-around, but at least there will be words to work with and polish.

What do you do to combat procrastination? What writing quirks or rituals help you begin writing for the day?

Amazon Buy Link
Lord of Her Heart

He’s fighting for his future—she’s running for her life.

Lady Jocelyn Ashburne suspects something is amiss at her family’s castle because her father ceases to write to her. When she overhears a plot to force her into vows—either to the church or a husband—she disguises herself and flees the convent in desperation to discover the truth.

Malcolm Castillon of Berkham is determined to win the next tournament and be granted a manor of his own. After years of proving his worth on the jousting field, he yearns for a life of peace. Rescuing a scrawny lad who turns out to be a beautiful woman is not what he bargained for. Still, he cannot deny that she stirs his heart like no other, in spite
of her conniving ways.

Chaos, deception, and treachery threaten their goals, but both are
determined to succeed. Learning to trust each other might be the only
way either of them survives.

Sherrinda Ketchersid is a lover of stories with happily-ever-after endings. Whether set in the past or present, romance is what she writes and where her dreams reside. Sherrinda lives in north-central Texas with her preacher husband. With four grown children, three guys and a gal, she has more time and energy to spin tales of faith, fun, and forever love.

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  1. Thank you so much for having me! I meant to get here earlier, but my laptop wouldn't come on this morning! Aak! I did an update last night and when it didn't come on, I panicked! My husband popped out the battery and put it back in and then it came on. Weird! But I'm soooo thankful! Whew! Now I'm going to quit procrastinating and get back to my edits. ;)

  2. Lovely post Sherrinda! I think we are all procrastinators when it comes to something we are fearful of for some reason. I know I can put something off until the last moment telling myself I work best under pressure. Word to the wise: pressure is NOT a fun thing.
    I wish you much success with Lord of Her Heart. It's a great story of romance and adventure and I highly recommend it.

    1. Thank you, Cindy! You are so right! Pressure is NOT a fun thing at all! I'm speaking at a Writer's Guild next week and really need to think of something to say! I've never spoken anywhere before and I'm terrified. Aak! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Thanks for your thoughts, Sherrinda! I confess, I'm also a procrastinator. If I schedule my writing time, I will usually keep to my plan. However, during busy weeks, establishing a period to sit at my computer is a challenge. Your scented candle suggestion is one I will try! Blessings!

    1. I've been trying to schedule writing time too! Most of the time it helps, but lately with all the marketing stuff, I've been pulled away too many times! And a scented candle definitely helps me. It feels cozy. ;)

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  5. Love this, Sherrinda! It convicted me - as I was merely checking email before doing the thing I need to do (write) - that FEAR is the reason I'm not doing the thing I need to do (write). The examples you shared of what other well known authors have done made me smile. Also helped me realize the procrastination thing affects us all. Maybe more so for Christians who are attempting to write transforming truth of the Gospel.

    1. Mary, I didn't mean to point fingers! I meant to encourage! lol It was such a new concept for me to learn how fear plays a part in procrastination. It certainly rang true with me. And I was cracking up when I read those examples of how other authors dealt with it. Ha! I'm not that desperate yet. ;)

  6. Sherrinda, this is so cool!! I loved the stories about the other writers. And I couldn't agree more...fear rears it's ugly head in so many ways and procrastination is just another one. Love this, thank you!!

    1. Sharee, you are so welcome! It's nothing new, but it really helps me to move past procrastination knowing that it is really just fear. :)

  7. Great post, Sherrinda - - you nailed it! :) I've often wondered if my first initial of "P" actually stands for Procrastination, LOL, because I'll admit I do this quite a bit. And I really believe it's the fear that you mentioned that's the culprit. Beginning my writing time with the Lord really DOES help---if I remember to do that, rather than jumping into my writing and feeling frustrated!

    A while back I was reminded of an old saying I read many years ago. "Once begun, is half done." Yes! If I'll simply BEGIN a project, then most times I'll continue with it to completion. :)

    Thanks so much for sharing with us, and CONGRATULATIONS again on your debut novel!! SO proud of you and can't wait to read it!
    Hugs, Patti Jo

    1. Patti Jo, I love that saying! It is so true. Once I start something, it's not near as bad as I originally thought. Now, if I would just remember that each and every time! lol

      Thanks for the cheers! It's been such a fun week!

  8. Deadlines! Either self-imposed or on my calendar because I need to get a project to my editor or proofreader. Because I self-publish, I could just let things slide, so I'm also intentional about setting a date for a release and then marketing. With that date out there in public, it makes me more accountable.

    1. Dawn, how I wish self-imposed deadlines worked. I have tried and tried that to no avail. Now give me someone to hold me accountable and I can write like the wind. It's so strange how people react to different things. I love how you've figured it out for yourself! It's that kind of discipline that will get you far. :)

  9. Sherrinda, congratulations on Lord of Her Heart!

    You touched on a subject I battle constantly. I'm the world's worst procrastinator, as you can tell by how late I'm posting my comment. Unfortunately I'm like you and self imposed deadlines don't work for me. Now my sis, she creates a deadline and she makes it. Maybe someday I'll be like her.

    Thanks for spending the day with us!


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