If you’re a writer (or aspire to be one), procrastination is probably an issue for you.
Delete that “probably.” Writers are procrastinators! There’s nothing like a deadline, a blank sheet of paper, or an empty computer screen to stiffen your fingers and freeze your brain.
Today I’m going to offer you some unconventional advice about overcoming procrastination: Forget about willpower, and find a way to turn writing (or whatever intimidating goal is looming) into fun.
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When I was in college, I decided I wanted to learn some Welsh. (If you’re thinking “Richard Burton,” you’re right!) I traveled to Wales to take a conversational Welsh course, and I spent a summer at Harvard studying early Welsh poetry.
But as time went by, other interests came along (Shaw! ballroom dancing!), and I set Welsh aside. I still like to sing the Welsh hymns and folksongs I learned long ago (Wales is a supremely musical nation), but that’s about it.
There’s always been this nagging thought that I’d love to start studying Welsh again – but my life is already a tidal wave of goals and projects. No time.
And then something amazing happened. By lucky accident, I heard about Duolingo – a free app that teaches foreign languages, including WELSH. Seconds later I had signed up.
The lessons are short, easy, and so much fun that I can’t wait to get started every morning. (Here’s my favorite sentence from the course: “Dych chi’n gwisgo trowsus?” “Are you wearing trousers?”) And…big surprise…long-forgotten words and grammar have started bubbling up once again.
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Back to procrastination. If you want to overcome your inertia about writing, find a way to make it something you want to do. Stop thinking about shoulds, resolutions, and willpower. Close those doors and start looking for a new approach.
In my next post, I’m going to suggest a new door for you to try.