Procrastinating from writing? It can be frustrating, I know. You may wonder why you do it.
I mean, what makes us resist doing the thing we intend — maybe even want — to do?
When you find yourself in the midst of procrastination, you can of course try to power through. In my experience as a writer, author, and coach, this actually steals time and energy from you. It’s not effective. You end up with writing that’s far from your best.
Taking the time to understand why you’re procrastinating from writing is a game-changer.
Listening with an Open Heart
You know when your child or your pet or partner or maybe even in a co-worker is in a funk? Have you ever taken the attitude of “There’s nothing wrong. You shouldn’t be acting this way” only to see the situation devolve and get even ickier? Sticking to your guns and being rational when someone is upset doesn’t often work.
The other approach you may have tried in a situation like this is to try and to understand. You can listen with empathy and offer comfort.
When you find yourself procrastinating from writing — a form of resistance — it’s like your writing mind is in a funk.
This situation doesn’t fall into the realm of the rational. You can’t talk yourself out of it and change your mind by argument.
But, you can absolutely change your behavior by digging deep to see what underlies it.
What Are You Writing?
The first question to ask yourself when you’re procrastinating from writing is “Am I clear on what to work on?”
This seemingly-simple question is often all it takes to get you back on track. It reminds you to take a look at your outline. Or to take a few minutes and create an outline. Maybe you need to set aside some time for a brainstorming session to clarify your thoughts.
Not knowing what you’ll write isn’t always a problem. If you’re freewriting or clearing the pipes, not knowing can be thrilling.
But when you can’t sit still to write, when you keep opening new tabs, when your whole house is as clean as the blank page staring back at you… Well, then my friend, it sounds like you’re procrastinating.
Get clear on what you want to write, however that looks for you. You could jot down a few notes on a Post-it, talk into an audio recorder, or make a quick bullet-point outline. Tell yourself what you’re trying to write.
Why Are You Writing?
If you’re clear on what to write but you’re still procrastinating, you may not be clear on your purpose.
Why are you writing what you’re writing?
When you’re writing content for your business, this question is a great pal.
It gives you time to pause and determine whether writing what you’re writing is really the best use of your time. After all, there’s a lot you need to and want to do each day to serve your clients and share your message.
Is the piece of writing — whether it’s a blog post, a new page on your website, or a Facebook post — really serving your goals?
Sometimes procrastination is actually an angel on your shoulder, not a little devil. It’s your intuition speaking up in roundabout ways to tell you your actions are out of alignment with your goals.
Thank you, Procrastination!
Take a few moments to clarify your purpose. This doesn’t have to be fancy or particularly deep. Simply state what you want to have happen as a result of this piece of writing.
- I want people to sign up to grab my new free resource.
- I want to get people thinking about this particular pain point.
- I want to show up and be awesome in this Facebook group and be known as a helpful person. (Not familiar with that term or how to do it? You need to listen to this!)
Once you’re clear on your purpose, there’s one more cool thing you can do to really soothe your intuition and let her know you got this. (So she calls off her vicious attack Chihuahua of procrastination.) Tap into your deeper motivation!
Try adding the words “so I can” after your purpose.
“I want people to sign up to grab my new free resource so I can grow a list full of my ideal clients who really need the help I have to give.” –> Pretty motivating, right???
How Will You Write?
What to write? Check
Why to write it? Check
Still procrastinating? It might be your HOW.
Learning your own writing process is one of the gifts (and sometimes burdens) of being a business owner.
The writing needs to get done, just like all the other things in your business that might not be your particular jam, like building a website, keeping your books, and figuring out Instagram stories. (<<That one is still on my list. How do those work???)
The more you learn your particular writing process, the more success you’ll have writing clear compelling content that makes your ideal client hungry to hire you.
For example, when do you get your best writing done? Have you been forcing yourself to write at 2:00 pm when actually that’s your least creative time of day? Maybe you need to switch to writing first thing in the morning so you have maximum brainpower.
Have you found an outline method and style that works for you? Do you have templates? Or are you creating your content from scratch each time you sit down to write?
The HOW of your writing is something you build up over time. By doing. But you can definitely get a head start by working with a writing coach and by learning effective strategies for each of the 6 stages of the writing process. That will give you a foundation to build on in order to figure out your unique process.
Start by doing a little thought experiment. Simply ask yourself how you tackle each stage of the writing process below:
- Gather your ideas
- Decide on your content and put your ideas in order
- Write a rough draft
- Revise your rough draft
- Edit your revised draft
- Publish your polished draft
👉Are you skipping steps?
👉Are you confused about how to successfully do certain steps?
👉Are you lumping a bunch of steps together and things are getting pretty jumbled?
Find out where you need to get more clarity about your process and start there. You don’t have to get it all figured out at once. Just focus on the next thing you need to know right now.
What Can You Learn from Procrastinating?
Procrastination is like a red light. Sometimes it’s just annoying. You bang the steering wheel and wish it would let you get on your way without this delay.
But that red light is happening for a reason.
Maybe you need to pause and figure out what you’re really trying to write.
Maybe the purpose of the pause is to ask, “Is this really what I need to be working on right now?”
Or maybe, you’re sitting at this red light because your writing process needs a serious tune up and a top-off on all its fluids.
When you’re procrastinating, pay attention. What’s the deeper message? That’s the best way to grow your writing.
👉What do you think is your most common cause of procrastination? Do you tend to get stuck on clarity, purpose, or process?
👉What next step can you take to bring yourself more writing success?