Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

Loafing Off

52 Comments

Image courtesy of www.morguefile.com

Image courtesy of http://www.morguefile.com

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”  ~ Mark Twain

Today is Fight Procrastination Day. Although it’s not an official holiday, it is a day that should be recognized. The word “procrastination” comes from the Latin word procrastinat, meaning, “deferred till the morning.” I’m often guilty of deferring long past morning.

While working at my day job, I never procrastinate. Each morning I respond to new e-mails, return phone messages and tackle my list of tasks one by one. At home, bills are paid as soon as they’re received, junk mail is discarded upon receipt, income tax returns are filed by the end of January and laundry is folded as soon as it’s taken out of the dryer.

Unfortunately, when it came to my writing, I was the polar opposite. If I had a block of time designated for writing, I would check my personal e-mails, peruse author websites or read blogs I follow. I could never get started. I was squandering valuable free time and then I felt guilty.

Here are some ways that helped me break my cycle of procrastination:

1.  Changed my environment. With a writing pad and pen, I stepped away from my computer. Whether I went to another room in the house or outside on the patio, writing with pen and paper, I became more productive.

2.  Stopped thinking and started doing. A bit of planning was helping me to achieve what I wanted to achieve, but a lot of planning and thinking was paralyzing me. I had to accept the fact that there is no perfect plan when it comes to writing so I just had to write.

3.  Created a detailed timeline with specific deadlines. I broke my goals down into monthly, weekly and daily task lists. Instead of just setting a goal to write a novel, which can be an overwhelming thought, I broke down my goal with a detailed timelime for my word count.

I’m not saying I never procrastinate, everyone is guilty of it from time to time. While working on this post, I got up to run the vacuum upstairs and then got my fall decorations out of the attic. I allowed myself to become distracted from the task at hand. However, when I admitted I was simply procrastinating, I sat down and completed this post.

What’s your favorite way to procrastinate?

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Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. My first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, will release in March, 2017. It's now able for pre-order on Amazon. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010 and 2012 winner of the NaNoWriMo Contest. I love to connect readers, visit me at jillweatherholt.com

52 thoughts on “Loafing Off

  1. well, I guess that reading posts by other authors about how they deal with the problem is pretty high on my list!
    (Plus writing my own blog, playing solitaire on the computer, ‘filing’, staring out of the window… all very important activities in their own right.)

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    • LOL! Yes, perusing WordPress is a great way to procrastinate. I have to stay away from Solitaire or nothing would get written. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I hope you have a great weekend, Huw!

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  2. Oh, Jill, only you would know today is Fight Procrastination Day — I love it! After reading how systematically you approach home and work-related tasks, I’m not surprised you’ve begun creating specific timelines for writing projects. What a fantastic idea, one I may steal for myself!

    I fight procrastination in different ways, depending on my mood. On days I need inspiration, I slip on my headphones and go for a jog. Some days it takes longer than others to get the creativity flowing, but the endorphin/music combination never fails me. I’ve also narrowed my WordPress allotment to specific times and days of the week. But for me, it usually comes down to just sitting down and doing it. Often, rereading what I’ve written helps get me back into the character’s mind and I can go from there. I’ve also found having a few projects in the works is key. If I’m stuck on one piece, I can open another. And I’ve learned if inspiration strikes, I have to get the thoughts down immediately. Great post!

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    • LOL! Today is an important day for me, Gwen. I’m still a WIP when it comes to procrastination and my writing, but I’ve come a long way. Having a timeline for my projects came about as a result of NaNoWriMo. It works quite well for me.

      I agree 100%, the endorphins from exercising along with the music is a great to get those ideas stirring. I’ve come close to flying off my treadmill trying to get an idea written down before I forget. 🙂 I must purchase a handheld recorder, asap!

      I hope you have a great weekend, Gwen! Happy Anniversary!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  3. I think setting achievable goals is key, for a start. I’ve discovered that I need a deadline and then I’m fine. With this wonderful summer break I’ve had, you would expect that I got a lot done, writing wise. Wrong. I spent five weeks faffing about achieving half of what I had hoped. This has been a valuable lesson, though – next year I will write a list of deadlines and goals and try very hard to stick to it.
    I wish we had fight Procrastination Day here!

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    • You can designate a day to fight procrastination, Jenny…spread the word! I can relate to your summer break coming to an end without accomplishing what you expected. I’m the same way. I work better with the pressure of a deadline and less time. It seems the busier I am, the more I’m able to accomplish. I’m a big fan of writing down your goals. Have a fantastic weekend, Jenny!

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  4. Well, I like the idea of loafing it because I miss bread!!!!!!!!!!! LOL.

    I am home all day and you would think that I could/would get everything done, right? That would be a fat NO. With me, it’s so mood controlled as well as physically controlled. I have accepted the fact that the mornings are for waking up slowly and letting my stiff body loosen up. I do things that can be done from the comfort of my bed – like blogging.

    It’s not until noon or later that I finally have the energy to really get things done. I am at my best from 3-8 pm. So I try to get the important things done then.

    When I’m on I’m on and on a roll. I love it when that happens. But when I’m not into doing whatever it is that I have to do, it just won’t happen.

    Good for you for creating ways to help you. You seem to be quite the organized lady! 🙂 Oh, and puzzles are great procrastination supporters. 🙂

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    • LOL! You’re hilarious, Maria! I’m sorry I teased you by posting the picture of a loaf. I should have known you’d be salivating.

      Hey, you’re on a special clock. You certainly aren’t procrastinating when you’re waiting for your body to be at its best, you’re being wise. Those of us with auto-immune diseases know that taking care of our body is number one.

      Oh my, the hours I’ve procrastinated in front of a jigsaw puzzle. I could have written War and Peace, a few times. 🙂 Have a great weekend! I hope you’re still celebrating. 🙂

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  5. When I find myself cleaning, I know I’m in trouble. It’s my least favorite thing to do. So when it suddenly becomes all important–I know I’m procrastinating. 🙂

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    • That is so true, Kourtney! Cleaning is a true indicator, but at least we have some sense of accomplishment when our house is clean. I think I’d be better off to leave the house to write. Have a great weekend! I’m glad you had a good time at the conference in Nashville.

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  6. Yes…it’s time I set some deadlines

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  7. While writing a post of my own today, I had to break for a few games of mahjong. Of course, I called it thinking time.
    Cheers. Theresa

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  8. I like your second item: Stop thinking and start doing.

    Writers get so much advise and feedback it becomes paralyzing. You just gotta get your fingers typing (or pen squiggling).

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  9. Hi Jill, I am Princess Procrastination! Well, not for everything, just some:-) I just remembered that I was going to start the laundry this evening. Oh well, it can wait until tomorrow:)

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  10. I’ll have a balanced weekend- fun and chores. I’m starting off today with a brunch with some of my colleagues. When my husband saw me with my laptop last night, he decided to get going with it:)
    Do have a great weekend with your family!

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  11. Radio sports commentaries are a great excuse – impossible to listen and write 🙂 I’ve just reclaimed my Sundays and, even if at no other time in the week, I just sit and write.

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  12. Hi Jill,
    great post; I would have responded yesterday but …………

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  13. Great post Jill. You are very organized. When I have too many tasks at hand I procrastinate since I become overwhelmed and would do just about anything then what I am supposed to do. Then I return to them one by one. When it comes to writing I can only sit down to do it when I am in the mood for it otherwise no idea will strike my mind. But I agree with you one must stop thinking too much and start writing. This is a very good tip. I have realized when eventually I sit down to write I can achieve my goals. Excellent tips to organize oneself. I would love to follow them. Thanks for sharing such a lovely post and for such helpful ideas. Take care and have a great weekend.

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    • Thanks, Samina! Well, I try to be organized, sometimes I become a little obsessive. 🙂 You make a good point; tackling your projects one by one is the best way to stay focused and kick the procrastination habit. I hope you and your family have a safe and wonderful upcoming week!

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  14. No one is better than I at procrastination… I agree one must stop thinking to much and start writing. Have a wonderful upcoming week, dear Jill.

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    • With numerous published book under your belt, it’s hard to believe you are a procrastinator, Billy. I’ll take your word for it. 🙂 I hope you and your wife have a great upcoming week as well. Soon you’ll be enjoying the colorful leaves from your spectacular view. 🙂

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  15. I don’t have a favorite way to procrastinate. I am very flexible and open to a wide variety of distractions. Glad I didn’t put off reading this, though – I needed the reminder. Focus, Shel, focus!

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  16. Great suggestions. I certainly could use some goals.
    As for procrastination, I’ve made an Olympic sport out of it. The worst way for me to procrastinate is to check email or play a video game. But I need to break the habit. I have a 10,000-word goal this week. I must get biz-ay as they say.

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  17. Superb post, Jill. Wonderful combination of “The Day,” Twain’s quote, and your personal details.
    You’ve inspired to make my own goals.
    I’ll make them tomorrow…or maybe the next day…

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  18. Great post, Jill … since I’m only now replying, does that qualify me as the best procrastinator? These days, I tend to get hung up on reading emails, surfing the net, writing and reading blogs, and … well, that kind of stuff 🙂 I like suggestion number 3 … I’ve never been much of a goal setter, but this sounds like it might be very helpful in keeping me on track.

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    • Thanks, Dave! I think you’re in the running for the best procrastinator. There’s a few other fellow procrastinators, but trust me, you’re in good company. 🙂 It’s so easy to get sidetracked by e-mails, blogs, surfing, etc. Besides setting goals, not getting on the internet until I reach my word count has worked for me. Enjoy the rest of your week!

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  19. Is it working for you? That’s the main thing.
    Me? Procrastinate? I don’t think so 🙂

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    • It has worked for me, Jo. Of course, I still have my days where I sit down to write and pop up 10 times to clean this or do that. 🙂 I bet you’re a stick to your list woman. Loved your recent post, the photos were beautiful!

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  20. Good tips, Jill! I feel as if I’m stuck in quicksand lately . . .

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  21. Usually, when I am putting off writing songs (which is the type of writing I do), it’s because I’m not trusting in that moment in my ability to produce something that I will be proud of. Getting back into the groove requires me to take somewhat of a “leap of faith,” and trust that the work I’m doing in this moment is valuable. Now that I’ve had the experience of doing this many times, it’s become easier.

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    • Taking a “leap of faith” is something we all must do, whether with song writing or novel writing. I think you’re more advanced than I am in that area, Chris. I’m working on it though. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comment. Have a great weekend!

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    • Hi Chris!

      I wrote about this very thing recently and will forward the advice I was given.

      “Detach from the Outcome”

      If you worry about the finish line, you won’t be able to start. If you write to please others, it won’t be authentic and even you won’t be happy with the results. Just do your thing. Write because you love writing. Some of it’s going to work. Some of it isn’t. But when it works… there’s no better feeling, is there?

      All the best!

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  22. At the moment, having a deadline has cured me of procrastination. But it’s also added an element of pressure that I am not used to with regard to my own work. I write commercials, so I deal with deadlines all the time. So you would think that it wouldn’t be a big deal, but it is very different when it’s your own work and not something you’re writing for someone else.

    I think that you just have to be disciplined and have a set goal. Every time you sit down and write, you are going to complete ( X ) number of words. I try to write 2000 and so far I’ve been fairly successful.

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    • I agree, deadlines are a great cure for procrastination. Commercials…very interesting. I’m wondering how you got into that and if you enjoy the work.

      Like you, I’m a big believer in setting goals. It works best for me when I write down the goal. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment, KS.

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      • I am so far behind in replying to things, so I apologize for that.

        My parents were in radio, so naturally it has been part of my life since I can remember. I took a break from University and was looking for a job when I was approached to write commercials. I’ve been doing it off and on for about 20 years and enjoy it. I consider myself very fortunate to be working in my field.

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      • No worries, I appreciate you stopping by again. Yes, you are indeed fortunate to being doing something that you enjoy.

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  23. I’ve been procrastinating all evening – I was planning on getting some writing done but then I was like, well, I have to catch up on all the blogs I was too busy to read the past two weeks. Fast forward two hours, and I haven’t written a single word on my new WIP…but I’ve read some great posts! Still, I’m going to take this post as a sign to get to work now. 😉 Thanks, Jill!

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  24. Seems I’m always doing fifty things at once. Never thought of it as procrastination, but maybe that’s exactly what it is. Not sure I’d want to fight it though. 😉 Love that quote by Mark Twain.

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    • When I have a block of time to write and I consistently pop up to clean this, dust that…I know I’m procrastinating, but at least the house is clean. 🙂 That is a great quote by Twain. Have a great weekend, Elizabeth!

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