Write and Stop Procrastinating

Procrastination is hard to overcome!

I’ve actually done a blog post on this before. But I’d hate to use this blog as an excuse to procrastinate on answering your question in this blog.

Dear Tori, I’ve been procrastinating on my graduate thesis for months. I’m terrified of it even though I’m a pretty good writer…do you have any advice? I want to graduate someday!

I am, of course, guilty of procrastinating on answering your question. We all procrastinate. It’s easy to come up with more pressing matters when you don’t want to do something that has a long-term deadline. When you’re worried about failing. When you’re worried that you won’t be able to achieve the exact plan you have in mind. It’s easy to distract yourself with the minutia instead of focusing on the bigger picture.

It helps to schedule focused work time, and to give yourself breaks as a reward. To hold yourself accountable to a schedule. You shouldn’t beat yourself up about not accomplishing exactly what you want initially, or not being able to write that perfect thesis in your first draft (or two… or five). You may even have to re-write.

Overcome Barriers to Procrastination

It’s important to overcome the barrier to being active in whatever it is you’re procrastinating on. In my experience, the thing that prevents me from getting started on a big, important task (like a thesis) is fear of failure. I don’t want to sit down and find that I can’t focus, or that I can’t get the words on the page the way I want, or to waste time scrolling through resource after resource and not actually make any progress on compiling useable information. But the thing is, every difficult task starts out with bumbling, shitty first drafts.

You have to let go of the fear of starting, set aside your compulsions to distract yourself with minutia, and just do it. (See my Halloween post for another way to think about this handy writing trick: http://wordsmithessays.com/ask-an-editor/write-and-stop-procrastinating

Bryan has also written on the issue: Cure Writers Block


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