Slaying Demons: Writing Struggles and Procrastination

I can’t remember who said this, I’m sure it was someone famous,

“I don’t enjoy writing. I enjoy having written.”

This is pretty much my experience.  I know writing will be a struggle, but after I’ve finished something (whether a blog post, script, short-story, review) I get a fair amount of satisfaction from having done so. My best work, I even enjoy reading multiple times.

Most of my struggles are not so much about the writing itself but my struggling with putting my mind into the writing zone. I’ve always been a procrastinator. In university I was notorious for getting an extension for every single assignment I was given. This included my final research paper/thesis, which took me an extra term to complete.

Clearly, deadlines are not enough to get me focused and into the zone. The procrastination itself I think stems from  fear. Here are my writing demons: that the writing will be hard,  that I really haven’t a clear idea of what I want to say, that it won’t be any good, and finally that nobody will read it. This makes the anticipation of the blank screen a horrifying experience for me. If I followed my natural inclinations I doubt I would ever write anything.  I would probably just edit, research, and brainstorm new ideas indefinitely.

In contrast, when I do manage to get myself into the zone, the writing comes fairly easily. I can whip off a review in an hour or crank out a blog post in even less time.  Creative writing is less quick, but I can still be reasonably productive. If I could slay my writing demons, I would be immensely more productive as a writer.

Since, I have a lot of writing projects on my plate these days, I figured I would put this out there. Anyone have similar demons? How do you slay them and get into the Zone?

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5 responses to “Slaying Demons: Writing Struggles and Procrastination

  1. Set a schedule, write during the scheduled time, and keep at it. 🙂

  2. That’s a good place to start. Thanks Sterling. Anyone else have any other tips, tricks, advice?

  3. nadinethornhill

    1. What Sterling says.

    2. Ignore the fear. I have very similar fears about my writing. But I’ve had those fears almost all my life. If they haven’t gone away yet, they probably never will. In order to write, I’ve had to accept that fear is part of my process as a writer and I have to write in spite of it. You’re stronger than your inner demons. Ignore them and write anyway.

    • Thanks Nadine. Do you have any tips to get into the zone for writing? I find once I’m in that mental space, I can actually get a fair bit accomplished. I just have trouble getting focused.

  4. nadinethornhill

    I wish I knew how to get into the Zone. The Zone is elusive. Somedays I find it, other days it’s just me banging haplessly at the keyboard. 🙂

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