Enjoy this list of quick “first-aid” measures for procrastinators, designed to help you out no matter what stage you’re at in your writing career:

  1. Don’t just call it “procrastination.” What is it about what you’re doing that’s wasting your time? Get specific. Once it has a name, it’s easier to stop yourself from doing it. (Example: “I’m checking email when I should be writing website copy.”)
  2. Face your fear. “Little brains,” as they say in Albert Brooks’ movie Defending Your Life, “spend all their time dealing with fear.” Life is fear. Progress is overcoming it. You’d be surprised by what you could do if you’d just get started.
  3. Define your desires. Maybe, deep down, you know that what you’re SUPPOSED to do is a real waste of time. Stop for a second to decide, definitively, if this is the project for you. It’s good to say “yes” often. But not always. And not blindly.
  4. Make it fun. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, it will be an uphill battle to get it done. Take writing, for example. I like writing (especially promo writing), because I always learn something new and interesting when I do it — and, for me, learning is fun.
  5. Act on insights. The curse of creativity is that it sometimes strikes when you’re not at your desk. Your family might hate this suggestion … but it’s better to act on those sudden insights. Carry a pad and pen at all times. Always be ready to make a quick call. Make it a habit to keep the creative spigot open no matter where you are. Sustaining the energy is worth a few glares.