As you may imagine, the most essential part of writing a book is writing a book! After all the hemming and hawing, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. Title. Chapters. Protagonist. Characters. Plot.
In the past, choosing a title has always been one of the very first things I do when writing anything. This time, however, I have decided to leave myself some creative room to give the book a title either during the writing process or at the very end.
That being decided, it was now time to write!
And….nothing…and more nothing…
And then, there was something! A small idea which led to another and another. You’d be delighted to hear that I am now officially writing the book and chapter 1 is underway.
I’d love the romance of waking at dawn every day to pen a few words next to a hot cup of coffee, while being serenaded by a few eager birds. In the cool of the morning I’d sit in my warm robe tapping away at my laptop in a spot in the house specifically designated for artistic genius. The reality, however, is that I’m usually scrambling to write down a few words late at night or on the weekends and the only things offering sound are the engines of a few vehicles driving along the main road and my fan which hums dutifully. I’m never in a robe since its so hot in the Caribbean and there is currently no where in the house set aside for me to write comfortably. I’m looking forward to that changing shortly when my family moves house and I think I’ll give the early mornings a try then.
NB. I am awful at waking early in the mornings! If my husband is reading this, he’s probably rolling his eyes knowingly.
Since I have officially started to write the book, I thought it would be helpful if I share with you the 5 steps I made to beat procrastination:
STEP 1: Start. Right this moment! (see what I did there?)
This may seem overly simplistic but it worked. I made a decision to begin regardless of how I felt and then I actually began. I tried not to dwell on how daunting the project seemed or all the things that would be required before the goal is completed. I tried to remove all fears from my mind and focus solely on beginning – one step at a time. Once you have made a start, there is less to do now than before.
STEP 2: Don’t wait for perfect conditions.
For years I put off writing a book because I was waiting on perfect conditions. I said that I’d write when I had more time. That I’d write when I was inspired. I’d write when I bought a new laptop! On and on and on it went.
Whoever watches the wind will not plant;
whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.
But I recognised that conditions are external. I cannot control them. Who is to say that the conditions will get better? What if today’s conditions are much better than the conditions of tomorrow? And of course, who on earth has their life in their hands? Tomorrow is not guaranteed, but I can control what I do in this moment.
STEP 3: Make yourself accountable.
Accountability can be the mother of activity sometimes; especially for me. When I know someone is counting on me to get something done, it’s more likely that I will get it done. After all, I can forgive myself easily. But who likes to let someone down? So you, dear reader, are one of the reasons this book will become a reality. Feel free to badger me for the book release in the meantime!
STEP 4: Remind yourself of why it’s important to act now.
Procrastination often disguises itself as the voice of reason.
It can be done tomorrow, right? You will work better after you rest. Tomorrow your schedule will be lighter.
Sounds familiar? All of these are thoughts that have stopped me from making my dream a reality. This was until I reminded myself why it’s important to act now. Refer to Step 2 again if you need to.
STEP 5: Don’t rest on the accomplishments of yesterday.
The voice of procrastination also loves to recall the accomplishments of yesterday to justify the obscurity of today.
You worked so hard last week; you deserve a break! Last year was tough on you; take time time off this year.
Of course, all of these things may be valid. But I’ve had to be honest with myself as to whether these thoughts were genuine or simply a disguise for non-activity. I’m sure you can see what I finally concluded given the focus of this blog.
Are you procrastinating about anything? Consider if the 5 steps that helped me can help you also. Feel free to share any tips you have in the comments below!