What's Stopping You Writing ?

What stops you writing? 
head in hands

Writer and marketer Jenn Dize asked me that question today in a new 30-day course on web writing--Making Waves as a Web Writer.

And it made me think. I thought I knew--procrastination. But when I analysed why I was procrastinating, I came up with something new

One of my faults is that without a deadline, I write too slowly--not a bad thing in itself provided it equates to better, more thoughtful writing. But when it leads to losing focus, ideas blowing in the wind, and too few projects ever completed, then it is time to tackle the problem.

As freelance writers, our income depends on how much we write--how many reports, articles or books we produce.  We need to manage our output without falling victim to burnout.

The assignment was to face the problem and do something about it. I had pinpointed procrastination as a weakness but the realization that writing too slowly was the main factor stopping my writing came as a surprise.

"Do something about it," said Jenn, who is very hands on as a motivator, always at the other end of an email.

How to Write Faster

I searched the Internet and found lots of advice and help. An article by Dany Iny pointed out the importance of planning. I know this but still jump fast into anything which is teetering toward a deadline. The article, of course, also led me to investigate the website, join the newsletter and download the free book.

Yes I know the article says not to do things like that but the book is going to help me finish what I start--honest.

As I am battling to finish a novella by June, I was delighted to find K.M.Weiland's series on character arcs--especially useful for fiction writers.
Knowing what you're doing speeds up working patterns. Having a way of structuring work helps divide it into headed sections and writing content to match headings keeps it from straying too far off the point.

And yes, I investigated the website, joined the newsletter and downloaded the free book all about crafting unforgettable characters. Well, I need to do that, right?

Joanna Penn's podcasts offer 75 hours of writing, marketing and publishing advice. Plenty of potential for procrastination here but liberated by nailing my flaw, I am too enthused at the thought of writing to stop for long. I did however have a little look around the website, signed up for the newsletter and picked up the Author 2.0 Blueprint. After all, I am about to be an author when I finish my book.

And then there was Holly Lisle on pacing dialogue and action scenes--your story at your speed.

At your speed, perhaps. But not mine. My speed is somewhat slower than that of a lackadaisical snail. My story would take a century to unroll if left to itself. But if I don't know about pacing, I risk far too many wasted words and wasted words really do slow the writing down.

I know what you think--and no, I didn't. I already have Holly's newsletter and free book.

I then found myself tempted by How To Publish More Kindle eBooks Faster: How To Write 7,000 Or More Words Every Day by Marc Guberti . It was free on Amazon today. Irresistible. Will it work? I'll let you know--when I can spare the time from writing to read it.

Useful Websites


For the first in the character arcs series:

If you change the number after character-arcs- you will find all the articles in the series. The latest so far is number 10



For news and reviews of  Making Waves as a Web Writer, visit my blog.

 Anne Duguid is a freelance content editor with MuseItUp Publishing and she passes on helpful writing,editing and publishing tips from time to time at Slow and Steady Writers 


Magdalena Ball said...

What a lovely lot of procrastination there, Anne. I'm slow too! But having a deadline (and someone to nag you) definitely helps.

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Stop saying you're a slow writer. Try saying a more positive thing about your writing. Setting a deadline will help. I write at just the right speed to meet my deadlines. Just a thought. The more you say, "I am a slow writer" the more your subconscious mind will make it come true. Your subconscious mind wants what you say and think to come true. It wants you to be right. It's possible my idea might not work for you, but I thought I'd share it in case you think it might help.

Celebrate you
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Joan, I'm certainly going to take your advice. Just thinking about it when I wrote the blog post made me slower than ever. Thanks for that.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Thanks for the support Maggie. I used the snail comparison through remembering the image from a very popular article on slow writing you wrote a year or so ago. :-)

Heidiwriter said...

LOL, Annie--I do the same thing and call myself a slow writer. So thank you, Joan, for your affirmation! I think we all need that!

Karen Cioffi said...

Love it Annie! I find myself jumping into writing and marketing programs, newsletters, etc., to help improve my skills. And, with emails, social media, reading blog posts, etc., there are lots and lots of ways to procrastinate and stray from what needs to be done.

I agree that positive projection is the way to go.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

So pleased I'm not the only one :-) Nice to be in such good company.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Karen, you do so much, I never thought you'd have time to procrastinate lol

Kathleen Moulton said...

Sometimes, I think we need to "go with the flow" of who we are.

I'm not saying we shouldn't learn methods to help us, but I think we all have a unique rhythm that can get buried in methods. We should be confident enough to throw out something that may work for someone else, but isn't working for us.

Several times I attempted a schedule to write during the week on specific days and between certain hours. It was like pulling teeth. I wasn't procrastinating. The method wasn't working for me. Recently, I discovered how much I was writing on weekends. It came naturally. It finally hit me! I couldn't write fast enough on Saturday mornings.

Was I procrastinating during the week? No. I thought I was. And it only hindered my writing because I was trying to do it the way others were telling me to do it and I felt like a failure.

Think of it like this. When a romantic moment comes unexpectedly or spontaneously, it works! When you schedule something so intimate (and isn't writing romantic and intimate?), it's not the same.

Bottom line: what might be stopping us from writing is we are listening to too many voices instead of our own. If you are a slow writer and need help with meeting a deadline, by all means find help. But at the same time, embrace being a slow writer!

Debbie A Byrne said...

Thanks for the tip on character arcs!

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