One of the best pieces of advice out there for writing stories is to “just start writing”. In other words: Do work. Produce stuff.
But for a procrastinator such as myself, that advice easily becomes daunting.
I need to break things out in chunks. If I don’t, my mind wanders too much and I get frustrated that I’m wasting time. That frustration puts on more pressure to work harder, but adding on pressure after being stuck in the first place just makes everything worse. At the end of the day I accomplish nothing.
And it’s not just breaking big tasks into smaller pieces, it’s figuring out where to start at all. And I’m not just talking about where to start in the story itself. Using an outline or some other writing method helps with that. I’m talking about getting to the point of physically putting words on the page.
It’s easier if I break what I need to do to get to that point in chunks. For example, I need to:
- Take out my computer
- Find a quiet room
- Open my computer
- Open whatever word processor I’m currently using
- Create or open the document for my story
As I check each of these things off the list, I get to the point where everything is ready to go for me to get the thoughts out of my head and onto the page.
Breaking up the actual story I’m writing helps a lot too. Right now I’m using the plot chart to help me with that, and it has kept my mind in focus for what is happening in each scene.
All in all, the mountain that is writing becomes a lot more manageable when I shovel it down to smaller mounds.