If you’ve done the proper amount of research on your topic, you know what your audience wants, and you know what you want to say, then taking action and starting to write should be simple and require no particular effort. Right?
Not quite. All writers know too well that sometimes this just isn’t the case. Getting down to the physical act of writing can take a lot of will power.
Almost everything else seems more attractive than starting to write.
How can we get ourselves to stop procrastinating and move straight to action?
Here are a few ideas that have worked for me:
1. Remember why you’re writing
Remind yourself what this chapter/blog post will do for you when completed. This action is taking you in a direction you want to go. Remember this objective and write it down at the top of your To Do list.
2. Just punch the damn keys
Just do it. Start punching those keys.
Don’t waste time and energy thinking about writing, and just write.
3. Remember that actions are finite
Anticipate the end. Once you’ve done it, it’s done, and it won’t have to be done again. So get on with it!
4. Ask someone to help you
Tell a peer, a friend, or your boss that it will be done by 3 pm. If they are a real friend, they’ll drop by a while before the deadline to check that you have started.
5. Tell a large number of people you’ll do it
Trap yourself. If you’ve made a commitment to a lot of people then the shame of saying you didn’t try will outweigh the effort of doing it.
6. Location, location, location
Write in a pleasant place – a favorite coffee shop or library or a room overlooking the sea. Whatever it takes: wear favorite clothes or special socks – just like athletes do!
7. Do nothing else
Allow yourself to do nothing else until you’ve completed your chapter/paper/article.
The important thing is that there should be a space of time, say four hours a day at least, when a professional writer doesn’t do anything else but write. He doesn’t have to write, and if he doesn’t feel like it he shouldn’t try. He can look out of the window or stand on his head or writhe on the floor, but he is not to do any other positive thing, not read, not write letters, glance at magazines, or write checks. Either write or nothing. – Raymond Chandler
Different things work for different people and in different circumstances. What works for you?