A Procrastinator’s To-Do List: How to Sap Energy and Creativity from your Writing

Hello and welcome to my new feature that gives you handy tools on how to stop your writing endeavors. The neat thing is, these can be used at any point in your career – whether you are a newbie or published author! This advice comes from years of experience. Trust me, I’m not just blowing smoke here. I know from whence I speak!

Sit back and enjoy. (Literary General’s Warning: Reading this can cause extreme nodding in agreement, which can lead to severe neck pain and/or continued procrastination as you  think of the ways you practice avoidance.)

1. Edit as you go. Set that inner critic free and let her run alongside every word, sentence, and paragraph that spills out. Allow her derisive laughter and stinging criticism to ring endlessly in your ears.costume-15816__180

2. Make lists while you write. Shopping, indoor chores, yard work, charitable donations, items to sell on eBay, Ravens’ draft picks, pitchers the Orioles should trade for, ways to procrastinate… The list is endless. Wait, there’s another one – a list of lists!

iphone-1249733__1803. Read and answer every text as they come in. This means you better have your ringer on. You don’t want to leave people waiting. Besides, you might get a phone call.

4. Keep those social media pages open. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat…they need to be just a click or phone notification away (see above advice on ringer status). Hey, how else will you keep up with the latest publication news?

5. Constantly compare your progress (or lack thereof) to others. Beat yourself over the head with those faster-than-the-speed-of-sound success stories. Rest comfortably on the laurels of those late bloomers who didn’t publish until well into middle age or beyond.

6. Insist on super stardom before you get started. Nothing stops you dead in your tracks better than the “I want to be the next J.K. Rowling/Neil Gaiman/(fill in the blank with favorite mega-author)” mantra. Particularly dangerous as this can lead to numbers 1 and 5, if you don’t entirely give up before then.



7. Read, but for heaven’s sake don’t heed, productive and sound advice. For instance, Laura’s truly winning post, How To Find Your Blogging Mojo Again | Third Thursday #SCBWIsocial. There are countless others that can be bookmarked, read, and promptly ignored.

Misery loves company, so let us know your favorite procrastination techniques in the comments below. It takes a village, right?

Happy wri— oh, never mind.


About Susan Mannix

Susan worked as a biomedical research editor for the Department of the Navy for fourteen years and has been a member of SCBWI since 2007. She writes young adult and middle grade novels. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time doing all things horses, including attending her teenaged daughters’ many competitions. Susan lives in Maryland on a small farm with her husband, two children, an adorable black lab, two cats, and three horses.
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2 Responses to A Procrastinator’s To-Do List: How to Sap Energy and Creativity from your Writing

  1. mikecrowl says:

    You know, Susan… I think you might be using reverse psychology or something.

  2. Pingback: So, Let’s Go! | All the Picture Books!

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