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Do You Have Writer’s Block Or Is It Procrastination?

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by Jennifer on October 23, 2012

This is a guest post from Debra Johnson of LiveInNanny

At some point or another every writer will suffer from the common ailment known as writer’s block. Productivity will clock in at an all-time low and you’ll exclaim to anyone willing to listen that you have lost your inspiration, your career is on the line and you’ll likely never write again.

Dramatic? Maybe.

But having writer’s block is a frustrating hurdle to overcome and at times it can seem never-ending.

Then there are the times that you just don’t want to write and instead of admitting that you’re procrastinating you pin the lack of writing on writer’s block instead.

After all, no one will be any wiser, right? In fact, you could be so convincing that even you begin to believe that you’re combatting a nasty bout of the block.

So how do you tell if you’re dealing with writer’s block or just lazy procrastination tendencies? To help you determine if you’re dealing with one or the other, here’s a list of warning signs to look for:

Signs of Writer’s Block

  1. Feeling Burned Out—Have you been working tirelessly? Are feelings of exhaustion overwhelming you?
  2. Being Plagued With Indecisiveness—Are you unable to settle in on an idea or unsure of which route to take in your writing?
  3. A General Lack of Excitement Over Writing—Does writing not hold the same luster that it once did? Is the thought of completing an assignment unappealing?
  4. Feeling Uninspired and Uncreative—Are you current projects leaving you feeling unfulfilled and uninspired?

Writer’s block is usually the result of feeling pressured to meet a deadline or to complete an assignment, with no desire or direction as to how you’ll complete the project.

At this point it’s usually good to take a step back and take a break. Letting yourself relax and indulge in things you enjoy can be just the refresher you need to come back ready to work.

Signs of Procrastination

  1. Finding Yourself Doing Everything Other Than Writing—Are you suddenly making very important to-do lists full of tasks you’re deeming highly important even though you just thought of them off the top of your head?
  2. Making Excuses Over Why You Can’t Write Right Now—Do you find yourself blaming other people and circumstances for your lack of productivity?
  3. Pretending to Work While Doing Other Things Instead—How many times have you logged onto your computer, opened up a blank document and then surfed the web instead?
  4. Intentionally Delaying Writing Even Though You Know that You Can and Should Be—Do you feel guilty over your lack of productivity because you know that you should be working? Do you have the ideas and just not the drive?

Procrastination is usually the result of simply delaying things you need to do because you’re uninterested in them at the current moment. You know what needs to be done and you know what to do to make it happen, but you just don’t want to do it.

The signs and symptoms of writer’s block and procrastination are largely intertwined, with one very fundamental difference: when you’re procrastinating you know that’s what you’re doing. When you’re suffering from writer’s block you are mentally unable to come up with any creative ideas.

Procrastination can be a side effect of writer’s block, but writer’s block is not a side effect of procrastination.

If you’re procrastinating you can pin the blame on writer’s block for a while, but deep down you’ll know that’s not the case. The best solution is to suck it up and get it done.

How to do you tell the difference between writer’s block and procrastination in yourself?

About the AuthorDebra Johnson is a blogger and editor of http://www.liveinnanny.com/. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: – jdebra84 @ gmail.com.

Image courtesy of gingerpig2000

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Daphne Gray-Grant October 24, 2012 at 9:16 am

Hmm, this reminds me a bit of the debate about my elderly father’s health when he was dying: Did he have Alzheimer’s or Vascular Dementia? The doctor’s couldn’t tell us. But, in the end, it didn’t matter: He still needed to be put into care.

Similarly, I don’t think it’s terribly important to know whether you have writer’s block or procrastination. The main problem is: You’re not getting any writing done!! Both problems have the same result.

Furthermore, “sucking it up” doesn’t generally help with procrastination. You need to undertake the same strategies that work for writer’s block:
* give yourself plenty of time for thinking BEFORE writing
* do mindmaps
* write daily, for a SMALL amount of time, usually in the morning
* separate the writing and the editing process

Most of my clients who do these four things find they can banish both procrastination and writer’s block.

2 Jennifer October 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Thanks for the tips Daphne!

3 Chrys Fey December 16, 2012 at 6:12 pm

I personally believe that writer’s block can be caused by procrastination. If you’re constantly doing other things other than writing, you will have a much harder time with it when you do sit down to write because you haven’t been focusing on your work. I’ve procrastinated about writing and when I realized that’s what I was doing I would force myself to write and the result would be a gigantic writer’s block that would last anywhere from a day to weeks.

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