why writers procrastinate

Why writers procrastinate.

I more-or-less stole this idea from one of my business partners. He wrote a blog article on procrastination in regards to business and productivity. I really enjoyed what he’d said, and I felt like he made a lot of really valid points that fit with us as writers, as well.

You can read his article here.

To start, I don’t think there’s a single writer in the world who doesn’t procrastinate at least a little bit. We all put off the work we have to do, but have we figured out why? I think my coworker was onto something smart about it.

We procrastinate because we’re bored.
If you’re writing a scene that doesn’t interest you, or if your book has stopped inspiring you, you may put off writing because you’re not excited about it anymore. When you’re bored of what your writing, you’ll probably start to notice all those dirty dishes sitting in the sink.

The solution? Work on something else that does interest you, or rework your current project to spike your inspiration again.

We procrastinate because we’re anxious.
I hate to reference this article again (okay, no I don’t), but writing is scary. It’s scary to think about trying to publish it. It’s scary to think about failing. It’s scary to think about all the things that people could hate about it. A lot of why people put off anything, from writing to that phone call they need to have with their sick mothers, is because they’re nervous about it.

The solution? Keep calm and carry on. Relax yourself, and don’t let the stress of writing bog you down. Here is an article I wrote about combatting stress.

We procrastinate because we’re not confident.
In line with the previous point, many writers simply don’t feel like they’re good enough to be writers. They lack the confidence to genuinely feel like they are worthy of the craft. Sure, they’ll never admit this, but they put off writing because then they have to eventually show it to people, and they don’t want affirmation that they’re “terrible.”

The solution? Look at your writing a little critically, and compare it to others. If you still think your writing is bad, remember that the only way to improve it is to keep doing it.

We procrastinate because we’re overwhelmed.
This is especially true for people with busy schedules or tight deadlines. The more shit we have on our plates, the less likely we are to truly dedicate time to writing. We’ll avoid it because it’s one more thing we don’t want to think about. Personally, when I’m overwhelmed, I take a lot of very unproductive naps.

The solution? Take things slowly. In his article, my coworker suggested you take one task per day you aim to get done. That way, you aren’t stressing out trying to finish everything all at once. Make Wednesdays your days to write and call it good.

What about you? Are there other reasons you find yourself putting off writing (or whatever it is you should be doing)?


Categories: Tips and Tricks, Writing


  1. Go Mary go. Write, write, write. See Mary write.


    Your mom the cheerleader (who is more like your off-kilter spouse, but you get it… Well I hope anyway) who has obviously been inspired by the insipid and boooooor-ing “Dick and Jane” readers of yore.

  2. Pingback: Kill the Instant Gratification Monkey. | MC HuntonMC Hunton

Have Something to Say?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *