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Second-Annual “How I Overcame My Procrastination This Year” Contest

by Jennifer on December 20, 2010

As 2010 comes to a close, you may be reflecting on what you’ve accomplished this year. Maybe you’re making a list; maybe you’re just going over it in your head.

But either way, you should share it with the Procrastinating Writers community.

Announcing the second-annual “How I Overcame My Procrastination This Year” contest.

The Contest
From now until 11:59 p.m. on December 31, you have the opportunity to share with this community how you’ve overcome your procrastination this year.

Tell us how you’ve:

  • Made writing a habit
  • Discovered your creativity again
  • Kept to a writing schedule
  • Found renewed passion for the craft
  • Learned a lot about yourself as a writer
  • Come into your own as a writer
  • Met the writing goals you set

Whatever you did this year to overcome your procrastination—We want to hear about it.

So, in 250 words or less, share how you overcame your procrastination this year.

We’ll choose a grand prize winner and two runners-up.

The Rules
Every contest needs rules. So here they are:

  1. You can only enter once. If you make more than one comment, we will consider your first comment your entry.
  2. If we select your comment as one of the three winners, you grant Procrastinating Writers exclusive rights to publish it in a future post.
  3. Winners are responsible for any taxes associated with the prizes.

The Prizes
And what contest would be complete without some awesome prizes?!

The GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive: A Larry Brooks eBook prize package containing:

  • Story Structure—Demystified
  • The Three Dimensions of Character
  • Get Your Bad Self Published
  • 101 Slightly Unpredictable Tips for Novelists and Screenwriters

You will also receive:

  • A copy of Butt-In-Chair: A no-excuses writing productivity guide for writers who struggle to get started, by Jennifer Blanchard
  • A Moleskine notebook
  • A 1-hour coaching session with Jennifer of Procrastinating Writers

The TWO RUNNERS-UP will receive:

  • 1 of Larry’s eBooks (your choice)
  • A copy of Butt-In-Chair: A no-excuses writing productivity guide for writers’ who struggle to get started, by Jennifer Blanchard

The clock is ticking… Share your story in the comments below…

Note: Procrastinating Writers would like to say thank you to Larry Brooks of StoryFix.com for allowing us to reward the winners of this contest with his brilliant, can’t-miss eBooks.


1 Nikki Nelson-Hicks December 20, 2010 at 10:02 pm

How did I conquer procrastination? How did I quit sobbing
while reading the latest How To Write Self Help Handjob book in the
toilet while I moaned over my lack of word count? I wrote. I sat
down, turned on the computer and wrote. Quite crying, ya babies.
Write, don’t write, don’t care. Just quit WHINING and just

2 Mike Straw December 20, 2010 at 10:06 pm

I simply discovered the writer in me this year by
participating in NaNoWriMo. Before that, I didn’t even realize he
was there! Next year I’m hoping that, with a llittle care and
feeding, he’ll grow and develop.

3 Elly December 21, 2010 at 1:51 am

This year I sat down, wrote 41,000 words of a book in thirty days, and discovered that I write long books. (said book just got to the half way mark in terms of story and plot just as november dashed into december)

I learned that actual word goals and insane deadlines paired with a fantastic community are fantasic motivators as far as getting the book down goes. (I’ve also learned that actually explaining what your about to undertake to family and friends who know nothing about what your about to do also helps)

I’ve found that procrastination is best tamed by setting hourly/dayly word goals, writing until you’ve gotten to that goal, and then rewarding your self by procrastinating with something you love until the gulit starts up again and you have to go write more to feel better about not writing. (basically bribery)

I’ve also learned that full wonderful outlines, don’t work so well for me. But having a very complete idea (concept, problems, and just a couple fun character bits) that is written down on conviently hard to find pieces of paper works just fine.

Also, always having your novel on hand and glaring at you while you procrastinate is a fantasic way to get you writing again. I managed this durring this years nanowrimo by having a notebook (of the paper varitety) and a clip board that I dragged around everywhere for the entirety of the month of november. I swear that, and being pushed to type up until the absolute last second, was the only reason I almost won Nanowrimo this year, kicked my procrastiantion to the curb, and almost succeded at finishing a novel. (got half way through though, so I’m calling it a victiory)

This year I may not have met the writing goals I set, but this year has taught me enough to (hopefully) make my writing goals next year more acheviable. (those goals are currently two novels and a webcomic). And now to finish up this years half done nano novel before 2011 begins.

4 Stacey Donaldson December 21, 2010 at 9:42 am

I think I’ve finally done it! I’ve made writing a habit. Every morning I get up at 5 am, to sit in front of my computer to write. I don’t have a lot of time, just an hour and a half, but that 90 minutes is my time to create. Whether I’m writing an article or posting on my blog, I write. There are days when the creativity is missing, but I find something to write anyway. A year ago I never would have imagined that I’d be writing again, but now I report to the computer like I’m punching a clock. Routine is the key. Making writing a part of my daily routine has made all the difference. The first three days were hard, but after day number four, it became a ritual! For the first time, I am beginning to feel like a writer and I’ve never been happier.

5 Margie Reins Smith December 21, 2010 at 11:02 am

Hate writing; love having written

By Margie Reins Smith

I’m writing a novel, so, when people ask what I do, I say (albeit, sheepishly) “I’m a writer.” I’ve wanted to say this since age 11, when I became enchanted with “The Secret Garden,” and a series of sappy dog stories by Albert Payson Terhune: “Lad, a Dog,” “Further Adventures of Lad,” “Buff, a Collie,” “Bruce” and more.

What do writers do? If I don’t have appointments or scheduled activities, here’s my typical week day:

Get up, shower, eat breakfast. Make coffee.Read newspaper, front to back.

Take steaming cup of black coffee to in-home office. Fire up computer. Wait while some dumb program called Registry Booster does its thing. Can’t figure out how to get Registry Booster to go away. Welcomed it once, lured by slick ad that promised to make computer zip along at breakneck speed, then discovered Registry Booster wanted me to PAY for this service. Changed mind. Hit delete. Put in trash. Emptied trash. Registry Booster returned. Hit delete again. Registry Booster returned. Continues to return every time I boot up.

Say nasty things about Registry Booster, but put up with little dance it does every morning before my computer is ready to get down to business.

Should start writing. Chapter 33 is next. Almost finished with first draft.
Check email. Open five forwarded jokes and videos from friends. Chuckle softly. (All are mildly amusing, even second or third time around.) Answer email. Write new emails. Check grossepointetoday.com (local Web “newspaper” that I write for) for new posts. Read posts.

Go to Detroit Free Press Web site. Fire up printer. Print Freep’s daily Sudoku. Begin Sudoku. Put Sudoku aside.

Replenish coffee. Scrutinize backyard bird feeders and bird bath for interesting birds. Put load of laundry in washer. Take phone call. Make phone call. Empty dishwasher. Think about what to make for dinner.

Check email again. Answer new email. Check Facebook. Read new Facebook posts. Check blog. Check blog hit counter to see if anybody has read blog.

Alas, nobody.

One game of Scrabble couldn’t hurt. Play Scrabble for 45 minutes. Check email. Check blog counter.

Open document labeled Chapter 33. Type “Chapter 33″ at top of page. Format page. Kick self for not figuring out how to save format (line spacing, paragraph indents, page numbering) so every time new document is created, format will be the same. Put laundry in dryer.

Replenish coffee. Horray for caffeine.

Go to bathroom. Boo, caffeine.

Make To Do list. Check email. Check Facebook. One more game of Scrabble because personal score is nearing 400, longtime goal. Lose. One more game.

Google Alzheimer’s Disease. One of novel’s characters has it. Novel is about old people – scratch old; elderly people – scratch elderly; mature people – scratch mature. Novel is about senior citizens, their unique problems and relationships.

Take phone call from walking buddy. Go for walk with two friends. Consider this important, as Surgeon General says seniors should get 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Wonder why Surgeon General is labeled “general.” Also, why Attorney General is a “general.” Make note to self: Google this later.

Eat lunch. Open Chapter 33 again. Write.

When I visited Ernest Hemingway’s home in Key West, I loved seeing the actual room in which he wrote. It was a loft above his pool house. He got to his workroom by walking across a catwalk from the second floor bedroom of his big, high-ceilinged Spanish-style Colonial home. The tour guide assured us that every morning, hangover or no hangover, Hemingway walked across the swaying bridge to this workroom and sat down in front of his typewriter, where he wrote. He worked from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and produced 300 to 700 words. Every day.

Then he took a nap or went fishing. By cocktail hour, he was on a stool in Sloppy Joe’s Bar. He stayed late and drank a lot.

But he was a writer. He wrote. Every single day.

I’m not a writer. Not yet.


6 Lynn December 21, 2010 at 12:24 pm

I conquered procrastination by setting a broad writing goal (getting published) and making a commitment to doing one thing a week in order to further that goal. I updated my blog on Mondays with a running tally of what I did the past week and what I wanted to do in the upcoming week. I didn’t succeed, but I did almost finish a course, finish my NaNoWriMo novel, and get an agent. I’d call that getting the ball rolling.

7 Kim December 22, 2010 at 1:53 pm

I overcame procrastination in my writing in 2010 by finding an EB. An EB is short for Encouraging Bunny. This is my nickname for an amazing writing buddy. She got her nickname by emulating her namesake; the tacky pink fuzzy bunny that ‘just keeps going and going and going.’

If you can find an awesome writing buddy who:
1. is not afraid to tell you like it is
2. will send you endless electronic encouragements via texts, e-mails, facebook and twitter
3. sets up ‘meet and writes’ and actually expects you to show up
4. signs you up for every contest/challenge she can find
I promise that you will overcome your procrastination if only for the sheer need for some peace and quiet.

I completed my first NaNoWriMo because my EB pushed, cajoled and growled at me for the entire month of November. Yes, I got testy, insulting and rolled my eyes at her. BUT, I completed and now have a rough draft that she is pushing, cajoling and growling at me to revise.

All kidding aside, if it were not for Nikki, I would not be on my way to my first published novel. She is even rooming with me at the upcoming Writer’s Conference just to make sure I get up and go to the workshops and keep my agent/editor appointments. Since Nikki has already been down this road and is working on a second novel in her YA series, she is a valuable guide and resource that no book on writing could ever replace.

If you are serious about becoming a writer and overcoming your procrastination, find a local writing community (check the internet, every city has several) and connect with a committed writing buddy. Just don’t expect me to reveal my EB’s real identity – she can’t help you, she has her hands full.

8 Mallory Snow December 26, 2010 at 10:25 pm

In 2010, I overcame procrastination by accomplishing none of my goals. All my writing life, I’ve worked so hard to control my muse but when I hit a block earlier this year, I was afraid I might never get past it. It wasn’t until I gave into my impulse to let go of my old ideas and embrace the new ones that I learned, while sometimes it is necessary to dominate my muse, other times it’s just as necessary to let it dominate me and with that realization, I had my most productive year yet. I didn’t accomplish anything I set out to do at the beginning of the year but I embarked on so many new projects that I discovered a different side of myself and different side of productivity. This year, I learned how to balance listening to my head and listening to my heart.

9 Sarah Tanburn December 28, 2010 at 7:57 am

In 2010 I finally got my novel to an ending I believe in. That’s no small step; it’s taken some twenty failed attempts. Four lovely beta readers commented. I rewrote it twice more. Yes, the beginning was weak, yes I had too many characters, yes, I needed to show the MC’s motivation better. No, I wasn’t putting more guns in it. They liked the ending, though.

And now it’s out there, being queried with agents. (No joy yet.)

And I started a writing blog, kept up the travel blog, sorted out my networks on Facebook and Linked In. Carried on the research for the next short story in my themed collection. (Do you know how difficult it is to find out which British sailors were in line for prize money in the first decade of the nineteenth century?) Nearly finished that one and started on the next one.

So all that sounds good and not like procrastination at all. Most of it was possible because it’s taken me three months longer to get work than I’d planned. Which shows that (temporary) unemployment can be good for writers, I suppose. Work begins again next week, so it’ll be back to those 0500 starts. Then we’ll really see if the momentum keeps me going.

10 Haley Whitehall December 28, 2010 at 5:50 pm

My downfall as a writer is that I follow my heart and ignore the voice in my head. This leads to a wandering story and inevitably, writers block. In 2010, I overcame my procrastination by discovering what drives my creativity and reining it in with a plan that made me accountable for my productivity. I am a historical fiction writer. I’ve realized that period music gets me in the mood to write. I listen to slow songs when I’m preparing to write something depressing and lively songs when writing happy sections. Progressively slow to fast songs work great when I’m building tension in my novel. I turn on my music and ideas start coming to me. However, I’ve learned that I get so many ideas it’s hard to focus on one for any length of time. In order to control the creative circus in my brain, I give myself 10 minutes to free write before returning to my novel. This has eliminated the many tangents I used to write daily. I then bring up my beat sheet and write according to the outline. My daily goal is to complete at least one scene on the beat sheet. This year I also joined a writers group. While providing encouragement, this has held me even more accountable as I have to turn in two chapters a month. By following this plan, I have reached my goal of finishing a novel in eight months. I will pitch it at the next writing conference.

11 Lukas Workaholic December 30, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I had suffered a writing-burnout from too much writing in late 2009 and had a writer’s block for the first half of 2010. I simply did not publish a word.

And yet, in September 2010 a friend asked me to write an e-book on a computer program.

I did not want to let him down but I could not use the typical “Write it until it’s done.“ technique because I felt very unsure about anything I wrote. And so I procrastinated. A lot.

To overcome it I made up a plan which – besides typical tasks and milestones – covered the issue of confidence: I decided to run some of the topics of the e-book as a series of short and simple articles giving the readers ideas of how to use the program in real life situations.

These how-to articles proved to work magic. Even though they discussed only some topics, they gave me what I needed. I got feedback via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail from people who said something like, “It looks good!” or “I don’t get this one, can you be more specific?” or “This doesn’t prove your point.”

That was exactly what I needed to hear to feel more confident in writing. I needed to feel I was on the right track. I needed to know what I was doing wrong so I could fix it. And it helped to beat the block. And now, I feel it’s time for a “real” book.

12 Jessica Anne December 31, 2010 at 3:38 pm

This year I overcame my procrastination by recognizing two things. First, that I need to treat writing as work instead of just a hobby. When I did that in November and wrote every day, even when I didn’t want to, I wrote 50000 words of a novel. It might be work I enjoy, but it’s still work that deserves to be taken seriously. Second, I learned my excuses are just that, excuses. I can make time to write and it doesn’t really take that much effort. This year, I learned how to make writing a habit.

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