How To Stop Procrastinating And Get Writing

How to stop procrastinating and get writing is a guest post by Samantha Gray.
Research papers are a vital part of the dialogue that moves the scientific community forward, and an inevitable part of an online degree program — they can also be personally intimidating and a chore to write.  Just the thought of putting pen to paper can sometimes seem so gargantuan and so unpleasant that you will put if off and put it off until the pressure is on to complete your project. 
Student researchers are often prey to needless delay, self-sabotage, and any number of other behavioral manifestations that fall underneath the umbrella widely known as "procrastination."  But writers of every kind can identify with procrastination struggles, regardless of field, style, or form — even bloggers are all too familiar with procrastination.

How to stop procrastinating and get writing

how to stop procrastinating and get writing

Actually start writing

There has been a surge of interest in the source and correction of procrastination across the social spectrum, with students being highest on the list.  But much of this research is purely quantitative and doesn't offer concrete solutions to the problem of procrastination - especially in writing.

The question still plagues anyone who's trying to get a project started: how do I beat procrastination?
Unfortunately, as is the case with anything difficult, the true answer to that question is not an easy pill to swallow.  To stop procrastinating and get writing, you have to simply do the work
When you are working on a research paper, the task before you can seem endless, impossible, and more arduous than a trip into Hell itself.  Naturally, you put it off and wait for an easier alternative to present itself, or you try to fool yourself into thinking that you just need to incubate the ideas a little longer, or refine the details of your work a little more — but the truth is that you just need to sit down and write through it. 
There are more advantages to this approach than can even be named here:
  • Meeting deadlines with your writing, instead of asking for extensions
  • Gaining momentum on a writing project, instead of losing it
  • Feeling proud of accomplishing writing work, instead of guilty for putting it off
Additional reading material on writing: get super ideas for blog posts and how to write an article online

Begin writing before you're 'ready' and beat procrastination

The basic fact is that by putting off work, you make it increasingly hard to start on what you know needs to be done.  One of the best things you can do, and what you should make it a habit to do is to begin before you think you are ready.  You will discover that more ideas come to you after you've written a few down, even if they seem silly.  In fact, you will often find inspiration in your ideas.  Plus, you can always pare down the thoughts you write down after you’ve written them — by not writing, you just have nothing to work with. 

Go at your writing work fully

Write in short, intense, regular sessions.  Go at your work fully, with everything you have for a brief time, leave it and then come back later.  Give your mind a break once an hour, by doing puzzles, exercising, or simply reading something you enjoy.
Part of what encourages procrastinating in your writing  is that many people try to conquer entire tasks at once. To avoid this trap, make writing a regular task that you can leave and come back to with concentrated effort.  Working on your writing for an hour or more a day on a consistent basis will make producing material more habitual, less nerve-wrecking, and get rid of procrastination. 

Writing progress will not be made if not today

There is always more research to be done, and more sources to find, but that shouldn't stop you from making progress.  Progress will never be made if not today.  Make that your motto. 
While this may not be the easiest advice to take, it will simplify your life, will get you moving on your article, important research paper, and, most importantly, keep the great scientific conversation going.
About the Author:
This guest contribution was submitted by Samantha Gray, who specializes in writing. Questions and comments can be sent to:


myletterstoemily May 15, 2012 at 2:34 PM  

i'm so excited about your book! i read the
first bit more than a year ago and loved
every word! before i link back to you,
please give me a chance to read it so that
i can give a glowing report with the link.
i'm a fast reader. :)

Anne Lyken-Garner May 15, 2012 at 3:11 PM  

Okay, Thanks so much, Lea. It's going to be released on May 22nd.

Unknown May 22, 2012 at 3:26 AM  

It is hard not to procrastinate, but sometimes it is more than procrastination; it is numerous pressing responsibilities.

Anne Lyken-Garner May 22, 2012 at 8:07 AM  

I know what you mean, Judy. Sometimes I've got stuff in my head to write but life, the kids and work all get in the way of that. Sometimes I have so much I want to write that I find it difficult to start :-)

June May 29, 2012 at 10:20 PM  

I procrastinate when it comes to writing for my blog and looking for freelance writing jobs. I wrote a post about it on my blog a few days ago.

I'm now using a 'to do' list to help me manage my time effectively. It's also helping me to focus because I tick off jobs as I finish them. I can actually see what I'm doing day by day.

Thanks for this post. It very helpful.

Anne Lyken-Garner May 30, 2012 at 10:20 AM  

I'm glad you could get something from this post, June. Please let me know how else I could help you. I read your article where you said you were having a hard time deciding if you should continue blogging or not.

Stop procrastinating August 1, 2012 at 8:50 PM  

Procrastination can really slow things down. I really love your post. If we truly are determined to get make progress in our writing, then we must Eat The Frog no matter how it tastes.

Anne's a published author, freelance writer and experienced editor. She's just signed her second publishing contract this year with 2 separate publishing houses. You can hire her or see her available books in the side panel on the right.
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