Skip to content

Five Steps to Stop Procrastinating and Start Writing

Five Steps to Stop Procrastinating and Start Writing

How can something as simple as a blank page be so intimidating? How does it have the power to simultaneously shut down your mind and suggest a million other things you could be doing? Writer's block is real. How can you stop procrastinating and start writing? From a homework essay to a doctoral thesis, from starting a journal to finishing that novel your publisher keeps calling about, these tried-and-true steps will help you write.

Pocket Ledger
Pocket Ledger
Pocket Ledger
Pocket Ledger
Pocket Ledger
Pocket Ledger
Pocket Ledger
Pocket Ledger
Pocket Ledger

Pocket Ledger

$ 8.99
Copper Anniversary Edition Pocket Notebooks
Copper Anniversary Edition Pocket Notebooks
Copper Anniversary Edition Pocket Notebooks
Copper Anniversary Edition Pocket Notebooks
Copper Anniversary Edition Pocket Notebooks
Copper Anniversary Edition Pocket Notebooks
Copper Anniversary Edition Pocket Notebooks
Copper Anniversary Edition Pocket Notebooks

Copper Anniversary Edition Pocket Notebooks

$ 12.00
Dot Grid Notebook
Dot Grid Notebook
Dot Grid Notebook
Dot Grid Notebook
Dot Grid Notebook
Dot Grid Notebook
Dot Grid Notebook
Dot Grid Notebook
Dot Grid Notebook
Dot Grid Notebook
Dot Grid Notebook

Dot Grid Notebook

$ 22.00
Reporter Notebook
Reporter Notebook
Reporter Notebook
Reporter Notebook
Reporter Notebook
Reporter Notebook
Reporter Notebook
Reporter Notebook

Reporter Notebook

$ 11.99

Tidy Up

First, spend a few minutes tidying up. You know as soon as you sit down your brain is going to suggest that you finish folding the laundry, wash your breakfast dishes or perhaps deep clean all the kitchen cabinets rather than start writing. Without going too far and starting a spring cleaning project, spend 5 or 10 minutes actively tidying up, especially what you can see from your writing workspace. Use this time to stretch, move around, bend over and get your blood flowing. Just a few minutes of exercise can put you in a much better frame of mind and help you focus.

Next, set up your workspace. You know you're going to need your writing materials, a notepad, and a nice pen, but that's not all you're going to need. As soon as you sit down you'll think of something else, so start by setting yourself up for success. You'll need an extra pen and a bottle of water, at the very least. Make yourself a drink, put some essential oils in the diffuser, turn on the right lighting and really set the mood for relaxation and focus. Set the thermostat and grab a throw so you can adjust your temperature without getting up. Music can be helpful for focus during the research part of a writing project, but at the writing stage, it's a distraction. So set up a quiet workspace or perhaps some white noise to block everything out. 

No Screens

No screens. Can this really be a modern tip for successful writing? You'll find that curling up in a comfortable chair with a notepad and pen will lead to much more focus and creativity then using a laptop at this stage. Perhaps your research materials are online so you really do need to keep your screens on, but you can minimize unwanted distractions by spending a few minutes checking all your notification settings and turning everything off. All your messaging apps and alerts should be set to silent - no vibration, no lights, no pop-ups. This is your time. You should be able to concentrate and focus and not feel bad about tuning out the world for a few minutes.

Outline It All

Write an outline. The first benefit of an outline is that you can sit down and immediately write something on that blank piece of paper, which helps get you past the initial mental block. Choose the simplest possible outline structure that works for your project, and write it down the left side of your page. For example, the simplest essay outline could be the title, introduction, 1, 2, 3, conclusion. A simple journal outline could be a series of what/when/who/why/how questions. 

Fill out your outline. Don't use full sentences or worry about perfection at this stage, just write keywords and phrases. What are your main points? Start to form paragraphs by writing down supporting thoughts for each main point, and decide what references from the research material you want to use in each paragraph. Having the main body finished will give you an idea of the title and words or phrases for your introduction and conclusion.

And now, armed with an outline that's almost a rough draft for your project, writing looks like a much less daunting task than it did a few minutes ago. You could even complete it just by voice typing it based on your outline. Celebrate by making yourself another drink, and some proofreading and revision are all that's left.

Sometimes writers are overwhelmed with creative ideas that flow effortlessly onto the page. But more often, you need to get something written even when you're not feeling like it. As you practice setting up your workspace and writing an outline, completing these steps will get faster and easier. You'll find that using an outline will give you clarity and purpose in your writing. Without feeling overwhelmed by the prospect, you'll be able to get started on and finish writing projects as a professional writer.

related posts

The Mightiest Pen: A Brief History of the Ballpoint Pen

The Mightiest Pen: A Brief History of the Ballpoint Pen

Anybody under the age of sixty will struggle to imagine a world without the humble ballpoint pen. They're cheap, reliable, and available pretty much everywhere - the perfect embodiment of...

How to Stop Being Micromanaged

How to Stop Being Micromanaged

One of the biggest complaints from employees is that they are suffering under micromanagement. But, what exactly is micromanagement and what can employees do to get their supervisors off their...

How to Increase Your Productivity at the Office

How to Increase Your Productivity at the Office

How to increase your productivity at work? This article focuses on working smarter instead of working harder. Tips on a wide variety of topics are included, such as when you...

10 Ways to be More Confident in Meetings

10 Ways to be More Confident in Meetings

Like us, lots of people find it difficult to speak up at meetings. They have things that they want to say, but they lack the confidence to voice their opinion....

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published