The first is manual labour. What? Yes, manual labour. Tasks that require little to no direct attention, that you can do on auto-pilot while you think. Folding laundry, mowing the lawn, washing dishes…all these tasks are good things to do that take away the pressure of that scary blank screen/sheet of paper  so you can allow your ideas to flow. You only have to stay focused enough to remember to think about what you’re going to write this session. That way, when you’re done procrastinating, you’re ready to sit down and nail that scene.

The second is PRO-crastinating. How is that any different? It’s a little tip I picked up from one of my creative writing lecturers back in Australia that I use from time to time when I’m struggling with distractions. What you do is you apply the procrastination principle directly to your writing. Use the word “just” for your writing, the way you normally would about a distracting thing like checking your social networks. Instead of thinking, “I’ll just check Facebook and then I’ll get to work” think instead, “I’ll just write a paragraph, and then I’ll check Facebook.” You see what I did there? More often than not, that one paragraph, or one line, or one conversation will turn into a little more than you “just” intended, and might even be enough to break the dam. If not, try it again in a little while: “I’ll just write 300 more words, and then I’ll get a snack.” Keep it small and unintimidating, and you’ll find you achieve those small PRO-crastination tasks, which lead onto bigger and more satisfying achievements.

I find writing is a lot like eating – you have to chew just the right amount of times before swallowing or you’ll choke. I never force myself to write that first word until I’ve chewed over what I’m trying to say in my head first. All writers know that the writing process starts a long time before you get any words down, and if you’re choking on what you’re trying to do, maybe you need to give yourself a moment longer to chew.

Mmm, chew. I’ll just finish this blog post, and then I’ll—