First Drafting, Part 4: Procrastination

Welcome back to the next installment of tips for finishing a first draft! And what better way to get this post done than to procrastinate and write it at the last minute?  (Granted, I have a fairly good excuse: I'm doing a major editing push on Words of Gold and all my free time is taken up with it.)

But back on the subject of Procrastination.  We all do it, some of us more than others.  So what do we need to do to get past it?

Because what's a better way to not write then to go ride a horse and walk the dog and go for a run all at the same time?
Check Actions

Remember when I said to make a list of priorities?  This is similar.  When you find yourself procrastinating and doing something that's not writing, run a quick priority check and just make that what you are doing is or isn't more important.  If you are washing the dishes or playing with your younger sister, don't stress over it.  If you're staring out the window or training flies for your new bug circus...maybe you need to turn that laptop on.

But also watch out for piddling on important tasks, so you don't have to get to writing, or not doing those things seriously.  For example, one of my biggest procrastinations is playing the banjo (no, I'm not joking).  I'll have half an hour before dinner to do something, and instead of writing, I'll just grab that thing and start playing a song.  And that's not bad in and of itself.  But I don't practice or even do a really good job.  I just kinda stare into the distance and let my fingers do their thing.  That is what annoys me...if I'm not going to write, and instead play an instrument, I'd better do it well and not waste that time

Get Motivated

So you may be procrastinating because there are other things more interesting than writing.  You totally want to write...just playing the banjo sounds more fun at the moment...

What gets you motivated to write?  Re-reading previous parts of your story?  Looking at your Pinterest board?  Listening to a certain song?  Keep a mental list in your head and use these as ammunition to get yourself back into a writing mood.  Don't overuse them, or they may become meaningless.  But do get yourself excited about writing.  Not only will you look forward to writing, you will actually write better.

*hums a song about a spoonful of sugar and all that nonsense*

Set Tasks

Maybe you're procrastinating because it seems like such a hard thing to do: write an entire draft!!  There's just no way you're going to finish it, so you don't really see the need to get writing.

So change things.  While your end goal is still to write a complete draft, shift your focus to finishing a scene or a chapter.  When you sit down to write, instead of saying "I'm going to type until I stop, and hopefully I'll be closer to the end" give yourself an easier goal. 

I'm going to write this entire counsel scene. 

I'm going to nail this conversation between these two characters.

I'm going to finish this chapter.

The writing process is less daunting when you break it down.  (Perhaps this is why a number of people use chapter-by-chapter outlines.)

Tell Someone

If you join a writing group, or at least tell someone you are writing, then you will be held accountable by them to, well, write.  Now you have someone breathing down your back, asking "are you done? are you done yet?"  So even if it's just to get them off your back, and prove that you can do something you set out to do, you'll get to writing.  Because what's more encouraging than someone popping in once a day or so and saying, "How's the writing going?  Got anything I can read yet?"

Or give yourself a deadline.  Knowing that I had to have this post up by Monday really helped me sit down and write it.

Force It

Or, of course, you could always throw down whatever you're doing, glue your rear end to your desk chair and force yourself to write.  Forget motivation, forget wanting to do it, just get right down to it and start typing.  You are a writer, so that's what you're going to do: write!!

What did I use to get this post written?  I sat down and did it.  How do y'all get past procrastination?  Remember, I'm not a wealth of wisdom - just a fellow writer trying to get everyone thinking about why they aren't finishing a draft, and what they can do to get it done.


  1. I often fail at this. Honestly, I just have to eventually force myself to write. I do it first thing in the morning after a bit of Bible study and before I go to work out. Then I try to get more done throughout the day. I'm hoping to get a bit more done today, but we'll see if I stop procrastinating. :D
    Great post, Julian! <3


    1. This is a major problem of mine, admittedly. I'm totally serious about writing, I just need to do a few Plus I forget easily, so if I don't make a note somewhere, I'll easily forget I have a blog post to write...

    2. Sometimes, I forget I scheduled a blog post and then when I log on I see comments and I'm like, "What is this?"
      Then I see I made a post.

      Also, I read The Girl Who Could See. I loved it. I made a review on Goodreads and I'll have one on my blog soon enough. I would so reread it again. It was amazing. <3

    3. Also, your dog is adorable. *squeals*

    4. I haven't figured out how to schedule blog posts yet...maybe someday...

      Yes!!!! It is good!!! Looking forward to your review!

      He's such a good dog. We found him out at the barn as a puppy, and now he lives with the chickens and protects them from wild critters. A dog-lover friend of mine says he's probably a lab/beagle mix.

  2. Yes, yes, yes. I agree with all of this.

    1. Wouldn't it be nice if writing was really easy? Like, if you could just type for twenty minutes and have a perfect story all written out?

  3. This was so encouraging! Oftentimes, when I could be writing, I'm lying on my bed with my headphones on, listening to music, my mind on... well, nothing.

    I think I'm going to incorporate some of your suggestions :) Great post, Julian!

    1. I'm so glad to hear these are helpful!! Go and get some writing done!


    People: "Got anything I can read yet?"
    [While other writers might find that helpful...]
    Me: *stressss* "That is private, keep your sticky paws off! It's not ready yet!"

    My current problem is that I tell myself I can't write because I should be studying... and then I procrastinate on the studying. *slaps self* I'll keep your suggestions in mind, Julian! :)
    Jem Jones

    1. I kinda don't mind people reading my stories, provided the story is more or less polished. So it kinda encourages me. But what works for me might not work for other people.

      Come on, Jem, get to writing!

  5. I am a big fan of deadlines with writing! I always try to set daily goals revolving around writing, blogging, reading, etc. I am one of those people who needs to stick to a schedule.
    Really good tips! :)

    1. Sometimes deadlines work for me, other times, not to much. I'm a laid-back kinda gal, so I tend to be like "ah, who cares" *tosses deadline out of window* and that doesn't really help me get stuff done. But I wish I could work better with them, and I take my hat off to you!

  6. Ah, procrastination, my old friend. Sometimes it helps to determine what you can procrastinate on and what you need to work on consistently. Some of my best work is from waiting until the last minute to work on it. Other times I should have just worked consistently on it. It always depends on the situation.

    These points are excellent! Accountability is probably the best solution for me. Goal setting is a close second.

    1. I struggle with this a bit, but knowing that I really need to get something done by a deadline with the addition of really feeling like getting down and writing help a lot!