In my previous post, I suggested a practical remedy for procrastination: Turn that overwhelming task into something you want to do.
Let’s apply that suggestion to writing. (A caveat: I’m talking about a process here. I hope you’ll go through the thinking steps I’m suggesting to come up with your own solution.)
The first step is to ask yourself what don’t you like about writing. For me, it’s sitting down at my computer keyboard. Even with Pandora.com playing nonstop (I’m listening to Simon & Garfunkel right now), it feels like work.
After many unsuccessful battles with procrastination, I finally hit on a solution: I started taking my laptop into the bedroom, stretching out on the bed, and doing some of my writing there. Now I have company (Charlie and the cat are usually next to me, watching a hockey game), and I’m lazily comfortable. My aging laptop isn’t as easy to work with as my fancy Mac – but the change in setting works great for me.
But wait! A member of my writing group had an even better suggestion. Elana Parker is a terrific writer who knows a lot more about technology than I do. At one of our meetings she enthusiastically told us about the voice dictation feature in Evernote. With a few taps you can dictate anything and store it online. Evernote automatically converts it into text that you can copy and paste into a Word document – no typing required.
It works! (Hint: Remember to say “period” at the end of every sentence.) Of course the Word documents require editing (some of the mistakes are hilarious!). But it’s still much easier than sitting at a keyboard and typing, typing, typing. And Evernote does a surprisingly good job. Often it inserts the capital letters with no prompting, for example.
So if you were to drop by my condo, it’s likely you’d find me stretched out on the living room sofa, phone in hand, dictating a letter or an outline for a chapter or an article. Best of all, it’s an easy way to collect quotations for the book about Major Barbara that I’m writing.
But I don’t want you to get bogged down in Evernote and this dictation idea. There’s a larger principle we need to keep in mind: Make it easy. Make it fun.
Helen Gurley Brown (longtime editor of Cosmopolitan magazine) used to wear a pin that said “Fight that willpower!” She had it absolutely right.
What could you do today that’s easy and fun?