Procrastination is my, and I suspect a lot of writers, worst best friend. It’s comforting, but at the same time crippling. With less than a week until NaNoWriMo and with an average daily word count of 1,666 needed to hit the goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month, I think it’s important to tackle this issue head on.
There are a lot of external things outside of my control that can get in the way of writing. Hopefully my preparation over the last month has carved out a space from all those external distractions so I can get the writing done.
The one issue I know I won’t be confronted with until November 1st and is entirely in my mind is procrastination. Pamela Hodges over at The Write Practice lays out what the stakes are when it comes to procrastinating and what effect it can have on your writing life:
I was going to write three pages a day from Monday to Friday for six months. I wrote three pages on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday I didn’t write because I forgot to sit down. On Thursday I didn’t write because I felt so bad about not writing on Wednesday. And on Friday I didn’t write because I felt so bad about not writing on Wednesday and Thursday. I was crushed. I thought, I will never be a writer. I can’t do this.
A few posts ago I had written about being kind to yourself and forgiving with your writing goals. The corollary to this is that it’s easy to be too forgiving and let yourself off the hook way to easily.
Even if your NaNoWriMo goal isn’t to make it 50,000 words (maybe it’s 20,000 words, maybe it’s just to write daily) the pace of NaNo will not be so easy to forgive your procrastination and once you start it can snowball to full on giving up faster than you know.
Fortunately, there’s help. The folks over at Now Novel have put together a fantastic list of ways you can stop procrastinating and get to writing.
Every suggestion is spot on and worth checking out to see how you can fit them in your writing life. One in particular feels like it especially applies to NaNoWriMo, namely #8, Enlist the help of others:
Allegedly, the 19th century French novelist Victor Hugo worked naked, or asked his valet to take away his clothes to prevent him from leaving his study. You might not have a valet (and might in fact wish to keep your clothes on). Yet persuade a friend or family member to help keep you on track.
Participating in NaNo has a lot of this built in (no, not the valet or nudity), but it is a community and just like getting a gym buddy to keep you accountable, you can get a writing buddy as well.
Thanks to this blog I’ve actually been able to get a few. If you’re interested in buddying up you can find me on the NaNo website under the handle blockandtacklewriter.
So don’t wait until tomorrow, work on your procrastination now! I look forward to both being kept and track and doing my part to keep others on track next month. Happy writing!