Saturday, February 2, 2008

Kicking Procrastination To The Curb

Rumor has it there's another meme floating around. Alright, it's not exactly rumor. Michele Tune at Writing the Cyber Highway told me about it. And she's asked me to get involved, to boot. This one entails providing 7 tips for ridding your writing life of procrastination. So, though I know my tips and tricks may not work for everyone, here are my chosen dilly-dally busters. Meanwhile, I'm gonna try to figure out what, exactly, "meme" means...

1) Blog About It. Are you having trouble finding motivation? Post your concerns. The mental and physical process of getting it (the problem) down and defined may be enough to kick-start your juices. Not to mention, your network of fellow bloggers can both empathize, showing you you're not alone in the world, and encourage, providing you with the added support you may need to get going.

2) Let's Get Physical. Thank you, Olivia Newton-John, for now I'll be singing your song (sans leotard and headband, of course) all the live-long day... There's something to be said for a few minutes of exercise. Truly, I think there's actually some kind of endorphin or hormone or gas or somethin' that's given off when you're heart rate has been increased while exercising, and it proves to serve your creativity. But though I don't know much about biology, I agree that the process of working out your bodily kinks and energizing yourself can boost your thoughts and get you geared up for your stalled project. So get hoppin'! Or running. Or jazzercising. Whichever. (I like Kathy Kaehler's Get Fit Class on DVD, found in the bargain bins of Target for $2.50. Really.)

3) Strike A Balance. I know this is a recurring theme with me, but I can't speak enough of balance. If all areas of your life (for me they're God/my faith, family/home, and writing) are evenly considered, your mind will be at peace. Then, you'll be prepared (and ready!) for those writing-related thoughts to come ahead full-steam.

4) Take A Break. If you're really having that much trouble, it means a break is in order. And you can fulfill this need in a number of ways, all across the spectrum. It could be that all you need is an afternoon to yourself, doing something you love, just for you. Go antiquing. Or visit the gym. Or try quail hunting. (Mmm. Quail...) Or, if a greater respite is needed, keep your writing tucked away for several days or weeks. Go away if you can. Whatever your pleasure, the rejuvenation it provides you may be what your mind needed to get back on track.

5) Arm Yourself With Resources. If you can't actually make yourself write, immerse yourself another way. Keep handy a list of helpful websites, a stack of great books that get you in the mood. Ahem, for writing. Give yourself some time to absorb the information within. Eventually the bug will bite, and you'll be getting your own words out again before you know it.

6) Take Out Stock In Mead. I seriously keep notebooks everywhere: one in the kitchen, bathroom, at my desk, on my nightstand, and in The Burgundy Turd. Er, um... my van, that is. It's hard for me to keep up with and drag just one around, and this ensures that whenever inspiration hits I've got a method with which to capture it. Then, next time I sit down at my computer, I have some notes to get me started. With any luck, the idea will flow and culminate for me, without cause for procrastinating. And it may for you, too.

7) Sweat The Small Stuff. Okay, I'm not trying to argue the concept behind the books of a similar (but opposite) name. I just mean that life is full of teeny, tiny (though also giant and hard to ignore) bits of fodder. Be aware of your happenings, your surroundings day-in and day-out. We're supposed to write about what we know, write? I mean... right? So use your daily life as inspiration; you know that better than anything else. All the small things, if approached well, can turn into something grand at the hands of a writer.

And again, this is one of those "Tag! You're it!" type deals. Can I tag myself, times 7? 'Cuz then my work is nearly done. No? Okay...

Well, I don't think I've got seven people in queue who haven't already been tagged by me. There are some from whom I'd love to get tips, but I hesitate to hit 'em again. So - maybe this is a cop-out - if you read this and you've like to share your own 7 tips, have at it. (Please let me know via comment that you've done so.) And good luck!


Michele said...

Wow, you've done such a fantabulous job, Janna! Hurray for you! You've shared some excellent and very useful tips here. I'm so glad I tagged you!

I cannot believe what you call your van, ha!


Janna Leadbetter said...


Rebecca Laffar-Smith said...

Great tips, Janna! Thanks for sharing. You've given me a few ideas I'll keep in mind next time I'm procrastinating.

I've decided not to be afraid to tag people. Actually completing the tag is optional and the link love is always welcome. You'd be surprised how many people actually do enjoy meme's if they're related to their own blog's topic.

Michele said...

Oh, I loved your title too!