Friday, 26 April 2013

W is for - Where Do I Begin?

Dive In - Maria A Smith

Where do you begin? Anywhere, anywhere at all, as long as you start. Procrastination is usually a
symptom of something else. That is my experience anyway. You can't afford to delay in getting going with your writing, you've got to plunge in and begin, because lets face it, most of us are time poor. We can't afford the luxury of hanging around until it feels right.

We've all got something else to do with our time, be it work, family, or recreation. If you want to write, you should just do it! This is what the A to Z Challenge has taught me. That, and the marathon of words known as NaNoWriMo, where you need to write 1667 words a day to reach the magic 30k in  30 days.  A novel draft in 30 days! Yes really. Or 26 posts for the A to Z Challenge, written on the hoof in my case.

Here are my tips to kill procrastination.

  • Jot down ideas in advance - Use a notebook, your mobile phone, or create a mind map
  • Set a deadline - Write for an hour, do a word sprint with a writing buddy, or plan it in for lunchtime, or before breakfast, put it in your diary like any other appointment you would make, and stick to it.
  • Set goals - Break the job up, the task won't seem so overwhelming. If you need to write 10,000 words, write 1000 words a day for the next 10 days.
  • Reward yourself - everyday, be it tea and cake, a swim and a sauna, a run in the park or a Crunchie bar. Dangle the carrot. 
Going from doing nothing to doing something is hard work, you need to create a habit. Don't delay, start today. Just do it!

Tell me how you begin?


  1. Great post, Maria.

    How do I begin? In the only way I know how - by turning up. By sitting in front of my keyboard, or opening my notepad and . . . Writing. Something. Anything. 'Turning on the tap' is the name I have for forcing out that first sentence. Doesn't matter what it is, just write it and the next sentence will be easier, then the next and the next and before you know it . . . the water's flowing and you wonder where that hour disappeared!

  2. I go through phases when I can't stop writing down snippets, ideas, odd thoughts and then I go through phases when I can't even look at any of my WIP. There's no logic to it but I think I've learnt not to force the muse.

  3. It's so strange I clicked on your blog.I've had a idea in my head for a book,not written anything down just part of an idea and I was thinking today what to do.Do I wait until I have more of an idea or just write down what I have in my head just now.I think you've answered my question,thanks Maria.

  4. In my experience (& I appreciate it is only mine) the more we think about it, the less likely we are to begin. I do have fairly unlimited time too & know this makes me fortunate.

    I avoid distractions & only ever have one project on the go at a time. I don't do deadlines & never set myself goals! When I'm working, I don't read blogs or links from Twitter.

    I do write a journal entry most days, to get my writing muscles warmed up. And making notes is an ongoing process for me - part of my tool-kit.

    As for rewards - hell yes! Reading you, after several hours hard revision, is my treat for today! And maybe the chocolate cookie...

  5. So remiss of me not to have caught up earlier.. Sorry!
    Love mind maps! Reward myself all the time.. perhaps too often.. Goals work for me. Wouldn't have written anything without NaNo. It takes me a while to work out what works thaen I keep at it till I get bored and need to find another 'what works'.

  6. great tips for writing here!
    i always have my notebook, never know when an idea will come!
    editing is what i procrastinate doing!

    happy a to z!

  7. I begin by showing up at my desk every morning at 5:00 am.

    Before I made this "appointment' with myself I did all the procrastination things and my house was never cleaner.

    All your tips are great.

  8. I love it! The point is to begin. Once you start you can't stop.

  9. Loving your posts such good advice. I even recommended your blog to another A to z blogger :)

  10. I like the idea of rewarding myself. :) Being this is Friday, and I've been writing/reading all week (no, month) that sounds just about perfect.

    I just sit down and write. Many times ideas just come, other times I have to wait for inspiration to take its sweet time.

    Silvia @ Silvia Writes


I really appreciate you taking the time to leave me a comment, and I try to reply to every one. Many thanks!

Planning Your Time - How Hard Can it Be?

Blue Skies Over Tenby - Maria A Smith  Planning your time is often much harder than you ever dreamt or expected it to be, and if you do...