Friday Speak Out!: The Procrastinator's Guide to Starting Your Writing Career, Guest Post by Kimberly Zook

Friday, September 02, 2011
 by Kimberly Zook

It’s crunch time. My essay is due, but that Twinkie, I can already taste its sweet indulgence. My eye catches the September issue of the Oprah magazine. Maybe I’ll get to my writing in a few minutes.

If you happen to be a procrastinator and a writer like me, then you understand the joy of finally polishing off a piece of writing. After a series of indulgences, I came up with this guide for us:

The Procrastinator's Guide to Starting Your Writing Career

1. Set deadlines. And have consequences in place for not making the deadline. No you may not eat that piece of chocolate until it’s done.

2. Utilize many writing sources. Blog, Tweet, Facebook, journal, napkin doodle, text, Vlog, etc. You'll always accomplish some form of writing each day if you have various outlets.

3. Don't wait until morning. Keep a pad of paper and pen next to your bed. If genius strikes you when the lights are off, jot it down in the dark. You'll never do it in the morning.

4. Don't join every single writing class. You’re spending money to write, but in all honesty, you’re attending the class just to delay the inevitable: putting pen to paper.

5. Do go to office supply stores. Soak up the inspirational juices aisle after aisle. Buy a notepad and a pen, sit in your car in the parking lot, throw your keys in in the back seat and write.

6. Maintain a writing project in every room of your house. If you live in a one-room apartment keep a work-in-progress on each piece of furniture. Keep an ample supply of pens with each project.
Journeying off to find a pen only leads to distractions and therefore procrastination.

7. Ban all books from your home. Or store them next to the toilet. Same goes for all cookies, wine, magazines, and photographs of past lovers. These are all addictive and time-wasters.

8. Seek out a table in the midst of non-procrastinator writers. It's crunch time at the cafe. Everyone's writing. Who can fill up more pages first? You or them?

9. Don't be a cheerleader. If your overly-productive writer 'frenemy' calls, don't answer the phone. Procrastinator-writers who cheerlead for others are the only writers to grow old without carpel tunnel syndrome.

10. Put away the credit card. First, the Internet should already be turned off. Second, never memorize your credit card number. Third, any procrastinator-writer who sits down to write, but decides it's okay to first browse Amazon for more "how to write" books is only going to write one thing that day: the password to her Amazon account.

So here I sit, in my car outside an office supply store, writing in a new notebook, with a writer frenemy voicemail waiting for me, without a single book in sight, and no Internet access on my phone. It may just be a list, but at least I've written something!

* * *
Kimberly Zook is a Navy wife, SAHM of two (soon to be three) girls, and an explorer at heart. Her publications draw from her experiences of living in foreign countries as well as the most exciting adventure of her life: motherhood. She writes daily on her blog, Zook Book Nook, and her website, Kimberly Zook, includes a link to her story, "Elements," which placed 3rd in WOW! Women on Writing's 2009 Winter Writing Contest.

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!



K said...

Thank you ladies for having me here today! It is an honor as WOW! Women on Writing is my favorite online resource for women writers. As my due date draws near, I am burning the midnight oil to write write write as I know with three little girls I may not get as much time to write as I'd like :) so it helps my procrastination to stay at bay!

BECKY said...

Hi Kimberly! Loved all your suggestions, except one of them. Number 7. I couldn't possible keep books, magazines, photos AND food next to my toilet!! :D
Besides about the only time I read is in bed at night!
In all honesty, thanks for these suggestions. I, too, suffer from procrastination. It's the main reason my memoir has been talked about...and worked on...for WAY too many year! :o

Abby said...

Funny and true! I could never ban books from my house, but the Internet and magazines are my downfall. I can't NOT check my e-mail, just like I can't not read a new issue of O magazine the day it arrives in the mail.

K said...

:) I think I wrote this list to help me to change my habits. There are books ALL over my house! On every piece of furniture I think. I can't live without books, and if I were to actually try to stack them in the bathroom, well no one would be able to go in there!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I loved #6 - keeping projects all over the house. Hmm, time to go to the office supply store and get some handy dandy notebooks and pens to spread around the place... :)

Angela Mackintosh said...

Hi Kimberly!

So great to hear from you. Fabulous post. :) #7 had me cracking up, too! The part where you wrote, "Ban all... photographs of past lovers." I don't know what my hubby would say if I had photos of my exes around the toilet, next to a stash of cookies and wine! I might never leave the bathroom. ;)

I do need to take your advice of logging off the Internet when I'm writing. Email is a huge distraction for me. I like your idea of keeping a writing project in each room of the house. I also need a suggestion on some kind of recording device that's waterproof. I seem to ONLY have good ideas when I'm in the shower. LOL

K said...

Thanks Angela for stopping in to say hi! Your comment had me laughing as I was imagining the bathroom becoming some sort of retreat area for me to partition myself off from my other responsibilities, like being a mom :) I didn't think about the water-proof notepad (I used to have one when I was doing my research in the rainforest). My ideas seem to hit me in the middle of the night when I don't want to turn on the lights :)

jacqui said...

I really like this list. I'm glad I'm not the only one who loves the office supply store. And the brand new notebooks and pens that can be found there.

Kiddothings said...

Great guest post Kim! I love your tips here. I sometimes use my handphone as my notepad if I don't actually have pen and paper anywhere near me. And Congrats on winning 3rd place with "Elements"! :)

Stasha said...

You are so witty, even when giving valid advice :)
Great post Kim.

Sarah Tokeley said...

This is perfect timing for me as I'm trying to kick the procrastination habit. Some good advice here and very funny too. I especially love number nine, the only time carpel tunnel syndrome might be considered a badge of honour :-)

Angela Brown said...

Very good list. I am now contemplating how to install a quaint little wine rack next to the toilet. I'll even add a small hard top to keep pad and pen in case I have an inspiration during one of the many unnecessarily long restroom excursions I make :-)

More seriously, the advice offered here is wonderful.

Susie - Walking Butterfly said...

I love this post so very much!! All your listed points are great and real. I have just written the first 3,000 words of a book I have talking about writing for a year! Yay for making the fist little baby steps!

Jen said...

Great tips for someone (like me) who would love to be a writer :)

Anonymous said...

Amen to all of these! Might help my checkbook too!

Angie Mizzell said...

Hey Kim! I subscribe to this blog, so it's great to see you over here. I'm thisclose to memorizing my credit card number, have one too many books on writing and am a recovering writing worshopoholic! Thank you for this list!

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top