Stop Procrastinating and Write Your Book

As a wife and mom, I’ve spent the past many years putting others ahead of myself. Kids, of course, always take top priority especially when they’re young and depending on mom for everything. Siblings, parents, spouses, and friends – these are people who are important in our lives and who depend on us. There will always be times we have to put others ahead of ourselves. When it gets to the point where we’re putting everyone ahead of our own needs, we’ve got to make some tough decisions.

I’ve barely written anything all year, and now it’s time for me to take a good, hard look at myself and the way I manage my time.

So far this year, I’ve skipped my writing time on multiple occasions in order to beta read for friends. I also read and reviewed a book for a complete stranger, regardless of the fact that I am no longer doing reviews on Authors to Watch. I broke my own rules for a complete stranger who didn’t even have the decency to say thank you in return. Whose fault is this? It’s mine. I have a difficult time saying no. I put others ahead of myself, and in the case of beta reading for friends, that’s okay to do sometimes. We all need help. We all rely on others. But when it comes to breaking my own rules in order to accommodate someone who displayed a lack of regard for my time from the very beginning? That’s unacceptable.

Time and time again, I put my writing on hold to beta read. Or review books. Or help someone write a blurb. Maybe I’m too nice to say no. Or maybe I’m allowing other people derail me as an excuse to procrastinate. This is my fault. And it’s unacceptable.

It’s unacceptable for me to allow others to derail me, and it’s even more unacceptable for me to blame other people and things (other writers, my day job, my laundry, invitations to play Quiz Up) for my inability to prioritize.

The truth is, I waste time. I procrastinate. I don’t prioritize. I don’t put myself first – ever. I don’t write because I don’t make time to write.

It’s time to make some tough decisions. Am I a writer, or not? Am I in it for the long haul, or am I going to keep “playing writer” by changing backgrounds on my blog or making pretty banners? Writers write. Yes, we all have issues pop up from time to time, but if Facebook can distract me so easily, maybe I’m in the wrong business.

Where are my priorities? Reviewing books? (If so, that’s fine, but then I need to call myself a “reviewer” instead of an author.) Facebook quizzes? (I love Facebook quizzes.) Sharing Grumpy Cat pictures? (I love Grumpy Cat!) Website maintenance? (I can waste tons of time rearranging stuff on my website.) Or writing?

If you time to spend on Facebook, you have time to write. Even if it’s only for five minutes a day. Yes, social media is important to your author platform, but do you really need an author platform if you never finish writing your book? How important is that pretty banner on your author page if you’ve pushed back the deadline on publishing your book until no one believes there’s an actual story to go with that snazzy cover?

Making connections with other authors is important, and so is promoting and helping other writers. Without forging relationships with other writers, we go crazy. But take a look at these friendships. Are they give and take relationships, or are you doing all the giving? Are you sharing support and advice, or just complaining about the publishing industry and the evils of writer’s block?

Do you really have writer’s block? Or are you just using that as an excuse for slacking off?

No more excuses! I’m determined to finish a book (or two) this year. I’m determined to write every day, even if it means skipping Facebook and Quiz Up. I’m determined to kick procrastination in the rear. And I’m determined to find that elusive balance between helping others and making time for myself.

Saying “no” to other people is a way of saying “yes” to myself. It’s a way to tell myself (and others) that I have a job to do. I’ve made a commitment to myself. I would never dream of backing out on a commitment I’ve made to someone else, so why would I back out on a commitment I’ve made to myself? Aren’t I just as important?

You are important too. So is your writing. For some of us, there are REAL challenges to writing. Family problems, health issues, day jobs – we can’t control everything. If you have REAL challenges that prevent you from writing, that’s okay. Take all the time you need. But if you have time for television and computer games and Facebook quizzes, chances are your problem is you – not writer’s block. So get busy and write!

For those of you who have fallen into a pattern of procrastination, I challenge you to get to the heart of it. Is fear holding you back? Are you afraid to say no? Do you allow others to derail you, and if so, why? How do you plan to prioritize your writing?


34 thoughts on “Stop Procrastinating and Write Your Book

  1. My grandson challenged me to a race to see if he could beat me doing 25 math problems while I wrote 35 sentences. How long? One hour. I wrote almost 400 words. (I wrote a blog post about the challenge.) We were so pleased with the outcome, we’re still doing it. He gets his math done and I can write between 350-500 words. It’s not perfect, but since I’m writing the first draft, that’s okay. In five days that’s 1750 to 2500 words. Throw in Sat. and Sun. and it’s 2450 to 3500 words. That got me excited. I realized that I could do it!

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  2. Review commitments also interfered with my writing time, but this is entirely my own fault. I bit more than I could chew. It takes some experience to find the proper balance between writing and book blogging stuff, I am far less experienced than you in that regard.This post made me step back and think. I think I will put writing above all else and not take any extra review requests (I will keep posting reviews for the books I have picked myself that I’m reading in my leisure time, but I realized I can’t afford taking requests anymore.) So I’m totally with you there. I have a hard time saying no also, this is why I can’t take requests until I finish my book at least.

    I can’t write at home, so I took the time to find a proper writing place where I can be tgruly productive. Turns out it’s public places like crowded and loud pubs and coffeeshops. The ones with unstable or no wi-fi preferred. I put the phone on silent, turn off all the distracting stuff like skype, google hangouts and facebook and get to writing. In a good day I write 2000 words or so. In an exceptionally good day it’s 3-4k but that’s very rare. It’s not so much the word count for me but progressing the story and really getting into the characters’ heads. If I have no energy to write that day, I work on the worldbuilding and add more details, more background information, more stories to the character’s past (even if none of it will end up in the actual book!)

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    1. It’s the same for me, Leona. I have a hard time saying no. Authors get enough rejection. I don’t want to be the person who dishes it out. But at this point, it’s impossible for me to do reviews. I have a few commitments I already made, but after that, I’m not going to review on my blog anymore. Even though my review policy is posted on the blog, authors see me posting reviews for the books I purchased, and they think I’m back to doing reviews. I get at least 2 or 3 requests a week.

      I write at home in the middle of noise and chaos. I always have. For me, distraction comes in the form of social media and articles on the internet. I just have to learn to shut out these distractions until my writing is done.

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      1. I am going to do plenty of reviews but nothing unsolicited, I simply don’t have the time. I will review the indies I know personally, in addition to the stuff I have already purchased and eager to read, in whatever free time I have left after the full time job and my own writing.

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  3. Honey, as your friend and a fan of your writing, you HAVE to start putting yourself first, lol, for selfish reasons I want to have more of your books! Lol, I know what you mean though, I find it impossible to say no to people and so end up doing favours for people and putting my own stuff off constantly, but I know it’s my fault and not theirs, but I am painfully slow anyway so really can’t afford to procrastinate! 😀

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  4. I have the same problem. Everyone, myself included, puts my writing last and when i have to spend a day on the laptop working on it i feel guilty because “it’s not really work” (which some people like to remind me of). You’re right. We need to prioritize. If it was a day job i couldn’t skip it because hubby wants to watch a movie, or because someone wants me to do something. I’d say “sorry, i have to go to work” and no one would be mad or pout or think anything bad but because it’s writing it’s something that can be put off, something i should only do when there’s nothing else “important”. Sadly until we see big royalty checks, i don’t know how to combat that. I keep saying I’m going to but in the end the same old opinions creep up.

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