Tag Archives: procrastinating

I want success, but… Do I have what it takes?

We all want to be successful. As a writer or anything else, we all like to be recognized by our work.

That recognition can also be quite scary. After all, it leaves us exposed to criticism, bad reviews, or nasty comments online. You can (and should) try to ignore them, but eventually, something will hit your nerves.

At that moment, you start to ask yourself: do I have what it takes to be successful? Stop right there!

Postponing the fear

Many writers and aspiring keep postponing their writing due to their daily responsibilities. It’s a common thought to decide to write when the kids become independent, or when you retire.

Most of the time, this decision is due to nothing else than the fear of failure.

You postpone your stories, your books, your fears… You believe you’ll deal with them later, but often, it is an illusion.

Are you talented enough?

Talent is a beautiful word to say. According to the dictionary is a “natural aptitude” to do something. You have met too many talented people in your life, and you wish you have it as well.

The first problem with focusing on talent is that it is not measurable. That makes it difficult to know if you have the gift or not. Secondly, talent is great, but it alone is nothing. Writing is what makes you a writer. Talent without production is worthless.

You must write to improve, that’s not an innate thing. You’ll write thousands and thousands of words, and most of them will be sent directly to the trash can. You will keep improving your skills until finally get your shot. Maybe, someday, you’ll see your work published and your skills recognized.

Do it and do it again

One of the biggest mistakes of beginners is to compare their work with published, successful writers. It’s evident that you should read them, you’ll learn a lot from them. Yet, let’s face it: your first draft will never be as good as their best novel.

This doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough, or that you should quit. It only means you need to train—the most as you can.

Being a good writer takes time and practice, not talent. For some people may be easier than for others, of course, but if you really commit to it, there is no stopping you.

You’ll be a good writer, with practice.

A successful writer is someone persistent enough to keep trying.

Procrastination: some tips to keep you motivated in your writing task

Procrastination is a common problem in any area. Many of us have to fight hard to find ways of motivating ourselves to finish what we start. It can be a tough task, right?

You may feel frustrated every time you hear, “Well, you love it. If it is your dream, why don’t you do it?” The answer is quite obvious: because of life! Life happens. Things get in the way, and at the end of the day, you feel exhausted.

As a writer, especially if you have another job (which most of us are forced to, unfortunately), this is especially true. However, with the right mindset and dedication, it’s possible to overcome procrastination. How? I have some tips to help you.

Commitment

First of all, commitment. The truth is: how many times do you get up in the morning, and the last thing you wanted was to go to work? But you go anyway! You must do the same thing with writing.

You may be tired or not in the mood. Go for it anyway. Don’t wait for inspiration, sit, and write something. If you want to be a writer than writing is your job.

Less is More

New ideas are exciting, and they make us want to follow them immediately. It’s a trap. Take notes of all the new ideas you have in a different document or a notebook, and stick to your job. Having too many projects at the same time will end in no finished projects.

Plan

An outline will help you to avoid a moment when you don’t know what to write. Check the post Planning: a story is more than an idea to know more.

Goal

Keep your goal in mind, even in those moments when you don’t want to write. The path is hard, but remember, finishing the book is, by itself, a tremendous success.

Some authors are focused on what comes next and get scared with all the problems with publishing and marketing. Just try to ignore that for now. Focus on one step at a time. Allow yourself to feel the satisfaction of finishing your project, and then you worry about the rest.

Training

It is, indeed, a matter of training. Human beings can do amazing things, but they have to train for it. It’s the same with writing.

Force yourself at writing a minimum every day (might be in minutes, or the number of words, as you prefer), and in no time, it will be part of a routine, and it will become easier.

I don’t have the time!

The lack of time is probably the most common problem for any writer. It’s challenging to find a break in your schedule, but with some planning, you can do it.

Let’s try something for a week. You write down everything you do during the day, and the time you spend on each thing. Mainly focus on those things you do every day. Then find holes, find things that you can cut out, or at least, spend less time with them. Even 10 minutes, it’s better than nothing.

Try to use that time you got for a couple of days. If it works, perfect! Doesn’t it? Try again. If writing is that important to you, you’ll find a window in your schedule. It’s a matter of priorities.

Always remember: “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” (Richard Bach). So, don’t wait for the perfect moment or idea, just go for it.

One Story, Multiple Stories

When you’re a writer, every single thought can be a potential idea for a story. You never know, which of those thoughts will actually make the story happen. They are simple, yet complex, plentiful and you can’t really use all of them, which turns out to be really frustrating.

So what should you do, when plenty of them seem good? How to work with it? How to deal with so much information? Should you try to merge or conciliate most of your ideas within a single story? Should you write different stories, and multiple ones at the same time? Should you ignore all the ideas that don’t seem to fit in with the story you’re currently writing? If so, how to choose the best ones?

There isn’t a definitive answer to these questions and, in the end, it’s your personal preference that matters and should prevail. However, there are plenty of reasons not to focus yourself on a single story or work. Let’s think about it, really.

When you spend all your energy on a single story, you mostly end up frustrated. It’s too much pressure that falls on a single goal and each requisite step to get there. Also, something that initially seemed to be a, or THE, great idea doesn’t always turn out to be that good when finally put on paper, or even be something that you’d love or want to work on, let alone finish. This feeling can be overwhelming and it ends up with you giving up your dream of writing.

In your writing career, many stories will never leave your computer or your desk and if you invest many a month, sometimes years in a single one of them, without having anything else… Well, it’s something that can really make you crazy, right?

Besides, it’s really boring to do the same thing all the time… Even if you really love your story and your ideas, there will come the day when you just can’t look at it anymore… It’s a natural process in any long term project and you can’t run from it. So, now what? After so many time spend writing it… What will you do? Give up? Of course not.

So, instead of putting all your efforts down on a single story, just one, instead try to have three or four ideas for different stories and just pick up the one that best fits your mood that day.

But! There are always a but, right? Please be careful, because this work methodology can also be a wonderful way of procrastinating. It needs constant attention on your end, to make sure you keep up with your work, stick to at least a semblance of a routine and change your plans any time it’s definitely needed.

Who says that you have to follow the very same schedule, for each of your stories, from the beginning until the end? 😉