[This is post is written by a sponsor of WordCount: Freelancing in the Digital Age. The sponsor provides products or services to this blog.]
Have you heard about the iPad app that helps prevent writers from procrastinating?
It sounds like a good idea. After all, every writer I know has perfected the fine art of procrastination. But this app makes the cure sound worse than the problem.
Users pay $9.99 for the aptly named Write or Die app to let their iPad push them around. Start writing and then stop, for example, and the app prods you back into motion.
You can choose to receive a gentle reminder or set a noisy prompt that won’t stop until you resume writing. Choose the “Kamikaze” setting and you have to restart writing immediately or your carefully crafted words begin to erase themselves.
I work well under pressure, but with Write or Die clock ticking, I’d be too stressed to write a single understandable word.
There is a better way — in fact, there are lots of ways to keep the words flowing.
Here are 5 ways you can keep writing even when you don’t want to:
1. Treat yourself. Instead of punishing myself when I won’t or can’t write, I reward myself when I can. During a recent ghostwriting project, I stayed on deadline by bribing myself with pints of dark chocolate ice cream. Each morning I promised myself a decadent ice cream break if I reached my daily writing goal by 3 p.m. That delicious incentive kept me on track and I didn’t lose any precious words in the process.
2. Free write. Instead of looking at the computer screen, watch your fingers fly across the keys. Give yourself a set amount of time to get as many ideas on the page as possible without stopping to correct spelling, grammar, or punctuation. Many times when I do this, I find myself still typing long after time is up.
3. End on a good note. It’s easier to get started writing if you leave yourself a trail to follow. Instead of working until you’re out of words or ideas, stop when you know what you’re going write next. That way you’re looking forward to getting back to the writing, instead of dreading it.
4. Record it. If sitting at the computer isn’t getting you the results you want, take a break from the keyboard and talk it out. A simple voice recorder app makes it practically painless to explain a difficult concept, organize information, and brainstorm ideas.
5. Get moving. Going for a walk, doing the dishes or performing some other physical activity frees the mind to unconsciously resolve a writing dilemma. Just be sure to set a distance or time limit so you can get back to writing.
If all of those fail, there’s always the kamikaze.
What’s your top tip for keeping the words flowing even when you’re feeling lazy?
Jodi Torpey is a Denver-based author, trainer, and business writing coach. She’s on a mission to change the way writers think about their business writing — one reader at a time. She offers practical business writing tips on The Daily Blatt blog at www.WriteBetterFaster.com.