“Well begun Is half done.”
“First, once we get started…we perceive the task as much less aversive than we do when we’re avoiding it. Second, even if we don’t finish the task, we have done something, and the next day our attributions about [ourselves] are not nearly as negative. We feel more in control and more optimistic. You might even say we have a little momentum.”
Professor Tim Pychyl, procrastination expert
The last days of summer and a long holiday weekend — the perfect recipe for relaxation, but also a combination that can easily derail even the most tantalizing of writing projects. If you’ve slipped off track, a few tips from helpful online story, “Don’t Procrastinate!” featured on the Writer’s Relief website* may be all you need to jump start yourself:
Get started: Some people like to tackle their least appealing writing task — like diving into a thorny patch of revision — first and then move on to something more enjoyable. Others find that starting off their day with a pleasurable, “priming the pump” activity like writing or reading poetry or dipping into an inspirational book gets their juices flowing. Decide which strategy works best for you and embrace it to regain your momentum.
Reconsider your routine: Sometimes, if you’re off your game, you can ease back into a productive writing rhythm by shaking up your routine a bit. Try working in a new café or taking a lunch break at a new restaurant. On the other hand, people often find that returning to a tried-and-true routine after a lapse gets them back in their groove.
Use free writing: If you’re feeling a bit sluggish or having a hard time getting your motor going, stream-of-consciousness writing may ignite your ingenuity, give you some fresh ideas, or enable you to clarify a vague concept that’s been rumbling around in your head. Adopting a relaxed, open attitude and letting your mind wander always helps.
Read and ruminate: Dipping into a classic you love or checking out a new bestseller you’ve been hearing about can spark new ideas and fresh connections that you can bring to the page with energy and brio.
Now that we’re primed and ready for action, let’s all write on!
* Writer’s Relief (writersrelief.com) is a well-established submission service.