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Avoiding procrastination

Like every other writer I've ever spoken to, I suffer from the urge to procrastinate. I will do almost anything in the morning (like writing this blog post) to avoid getting down to working on one of my books.

And, let's face it, we've never had more ways to put off writing and to distract ourselves. (Facebook, anyone?) So I was genuinely interested to see the results of a survey (the website it's published on calls it a study, but that's a bit strong) of 2,000 writers, listing the top tips for getting around procrastination.

There are quite a lot of references in the article to 'writer's block'. I'm not sure this really exists - if you need to write, you will write; if you don't need to write, don't bother. But you can ignore that, because most of the tips apply just as well to everyday (and, boy, do I mean every day) procrastination.

You may find a lot of the suggestions are fairly familiar or obvious - break it into chunks, force yourself to write whatever comes out, take a break etc, but it doesn't do any harm to revisit them and to deploy this wide range of suggestions next time you simply can't bring yourself to do the writing thing. Everything won't work for everyone. For instance it's very common (and 47% of respondents came up with this) to suggest cutting your internet connection to avoid online distractions. This is fine when you are writing fiction, but when I'm writing science stuff I'm always flitting between different online resources, emails and more - it's an essential part of the job. So you can't apply every suggestion to every case.

[Edited] - There was a link to the detailed survey results here, but the site has now vanished. Thanks to Yvonne Shiau for pointing this out.


  1. I used to procrastinate but these days I just can't seem to find the time.

  2. But srsly, I have found pint 2 most useful. When I really want to write something - break the back of the first draft of a book - I take two weeks off and treat the writing as a 9-to-5 job with an hour off for lunch. In other words I treat it like a job, and I start writing - writing anything - at 9 o'clock sharp.In the evening I veg out and watch TV - like any other office worker.

    I expect you empahtised with point 21.


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