Hovering fingers. Grogginess. Lack of inspiration. All familiar things among writers, but procrastination? Beware the dangers of the mystical blockade that breaks the ambition of dreamers all over the world.
If you are a writer, you understand the mental, physical, and spiritual struggle of procrastination. Perhaps the diseased nuisance is holding you captive as we speak. It is exhausting, yet the battle to overcome it is worth it.
My mission for this post is to do the dirty work (finding resources) for you and presenting them in a Christ-honing way. Because without God, we will continually be held back by the world, fixated on the wrong things.
Beginning with a simple declaration from a dedicated reader, I bring forth the only resources you’ll ever need to overcome the inevitable.
Are Procrastination and Laziness the Same?
Due to many people treating the words procrastination and laziness as interchangeable, there is vast confusion regarding the topic. Thankfully, dictionaries reveal the definition of both words.
Before we go any further, though, we must set one thing straight. The below information is based on a personal opinion. While I strive for my beliefs to stand on Biblical truth, I am only human (without a degree in theology). Without further to do, let us continue.
While procrastinating is incredibly similar to being lazy, it’s different.
Laziness is the act of having an important task to complete but being unwilling to complete it. As known, laziness is a sinful behavior to participate in. Procrastination is the act of postponing a specific task due to some deeper root. The root can be numerous things, but several are fear, perfectionism, ADHD, and even laziness (read below quote).
Laziness reflects a person’s intrinsic unwillingness to put in the effort needed to achieve their goals, even when they are able to do so. In some cases, a person’s laziness can be one of the driving forces behind their procrastination. For example, someone might procrastinate when it comes to doing the dishes, because they simply don’t feel like getting up and doing it. However, note that in many situations, people might assume that their procrastination is driven by laziness, when in reality it’s actually occurring due to some other underlying reason, such as anxiety or fear of failure. In addition, note that although laziness and lack of motivation appear similar, these are two separate issues. For example, it’s possible for someone to be highly motivated to pursue a certain goal, but at the same time not make any progress toward it because they’re unwilling to put in the necessary work.
But where is the line drawn? How do we know when we’re being lazy compared to when we’re procrastinating?
I believe that as Christians, whatever we do, we should do it heartily like something done for the Lord and not for people (Colossians 3:23). For example, if you are procrastinating your word count due to the size of your research pile, then you are ultimately benefiting your writing. You are taking the time to do research.
If your procrastination prevents you from working heartily toward the end goal, you are delaying your tasks for no good reason. Whether that reason is related to laziness, that is for you to decide by seeking God’s counsel and perhaps a loved one’s critique.
Given that fear is often intertwined with procrastination, it is important to mention that if fear is the problem, trusting God is likely your weakness. I do not say that in a belittling fashion but as a compassionate reminder to always seek His guidance.
The Psychology Behind Procrastination
As referenced above, to fully overcome your procrastination, it is crucial to understand why you procrastinate in the first place. Not merely on a heart basis but also on a psychological basis.
It can be challenging to find content that communicates how our brains work in a way that doesn’t contradict our faith. In return, we shy away from any such knowledge. No worries, I did the research for all of us, finding brief demonstrations of the inner workings of our brains.
Inside the mind of a master procrastinator by Tim Urban on TED
A humorous, yet informational explanation of what goes on in your mind and why you are the way you are. It is especially accurate for the Performers out there.
- Explains the difference between the Rational Decision-Maker and Instant Gratification Monkey (you’ll understand once you watch),
- What a Panic Monster is,
- How they work together, and
- The dark side-effects of procrastination.
In short, Tim Urban did a good job of creating a fun atmosphere and hitting the seriousness of the situation in only fourteen minutes.
The 4 main types of procrastinators and how to not be one of them, according to 2 accountability coaches by Business Insider
Did you know that there are four types of procrastinators? According to Ali Schiller and Marissa Boisvert, there are.
These four personality types are listed below.
- The Performer,
- Over Booker, and
- Novelty Seeker.
Before you read any other articles I have linked to, please consider reading this one first. Not only is it worth the read, but it will also activate your problem-solving skills. Essentially, this article will set you up for busting your habit of postponing.
The Key to Overcoming Procrastination by MentalHelp.net
Bluma Zelgarnik, a Russian psychologist who noticed a pattern between incomplete projects and the human mind, offers relief. Like all monumental discoveries, this intriguing pattern consisted of a dilemma—our brains refusing to forget the details of so-called projects until they are finished.
This piece leaps into the Zelgarnik Effect—your mind’s response toward projects—encouraging you to take it into account when a desire to delay comes into play.
- The perfect analogy for procrastination,
- A summary of the Zelgarnik Effect,
- How to acknowledge the Zelgarnik Effect within your everyday life, and
- How to accomplish more projects.
Be sure to read the examples to see where you can apply them to your life outside of writing!
Resources for the Procrastinator
Although I have linked to many websites, please note that I have not read all content from the publisher. It is safe to say that I may not agree with all the content on their blog.
The Holy Bible
It is obvious that no matter what struggles we face, God is the answer. The world may have some great advice; Christ has the best advice. Never underestimate His power. If He blessed you with words, do you not think that He cares about how you use them?
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.Proverbs 15:1-2 (NKJV)
How to Stop Procrastination: A Guide for People Who Want to Overcome Procrastination and Start Getting Things Done by Solving Procrastination
Tackling motivating and demotivating factors, self-control, and the purpose of setting goals for yourself, this guide is the real deal. If you cannot decide which article to sink your teeth into first, choose this one!
Out of all the resources in this post, it is by far the longest (I had to break it into a two-day read), but it is also the most informative, addressing:
- How to create achievable and meaningful goals for yourself,
- The stages of procrastination,
- How to properly prioritize your work by using the Ivy Lee Method or the Eisenhower Matrix,
- What the Pomodoro Technique is and how to use it,
- Why adding a delay before choosing to procrastinate could rescue you, and
- Many more anti-procrastination techniques.
While it isn’t a Christian resource and the length can scare the daylights out of you, it is a magnificent resource. It takes the time to dive into procrastination like no other, gracing you with a battle plan to overcome procrastination. However, do remember to insert Jesus.
How to Get Some Writing Done: Discipline vs. Enthusiasm by Helping Writers Become Authors
As a writer, you know the importance of discipline and enthusiasm, but that doesn’t mean that you know how to apply them. K.M. Weiland is here to help not only with a single post but with numerous.
In this article alone, she discusses the proper balance of the two crucial characteristics and how to rekindle them, what “writing every day” really means, and the importance of working through your emotions.
- An in-depth explanation of why a proper balance of enthusiasm and discipline are dire for the procrastinator,
- The importance of working through your emotions,
- How your emotions affect your writing zone,
- Why your writing schedule does not always need to involve writing, and
- A voice recording of the content for convenient listening (scroll to the bottom of her post).
Due to Weiland’s mountainous pile of advice for writers, her website is the perfect resort when questions arise. I am ashamed to admit that I had neglected her website for quite a while… That was a mistake.
15 Productive Tasks You Can Still Do Even When You Don’t Feel Like Writing by Helping Writers Become Authors
Building onto the statement that writing doesn’t always involve the obvious, K.M Weiland offers 15 productive ways to move along in your manuscript without typing words, such as the following.
- Reading content that will strengthen your writing (like you are doing right now),
- Devoting time to prep work,
- Interviewing your characters, and
- Editing previously written material.
She states that “recognizing the equal validity of necessary “non-writing” tasks can allow you to tap into a powerful feeling of productivity even when you’re not lining up words on the page.”
With the potential to contradict your battle, you must decipher the reasoning behind implementing it. Are you mentally blocked, or are you procrastinating? Remember that procrastination can hide in all shapes and sizes, so you must be alert at all times.
6 Writing Excuses Busted (Or How an 11-Year-Old Published Her First Novel) a guest post by Nia Wilcox on Helping Writers Become Authors
She may be young, but her determination is fierce.
Reigning the power of straightforward clarity, Nia keeps it real. It is time to acknowledge those sneaky excuses and break them for good. Allow her to teach you the ways of determination and the wrangling of excuses by presenting her journey through NaNoWriMo.
- Busts 6 common excuses,
- Teaches the ways of determination through the path of NaNoWriMo,
- How to use the BRIBE, and
- In an oddly satisfying way, addresses the dreaded topic of cliché.
I appreciate it when the young generation reminds other generations of youthful hopes and dreams. It can be astounding to re-experience the childlike fervor we have lost with age.
Bonus! Writing Corner: Tips and Tools for Aspiring Authors and Artists by Max Lucado
Max Lucado, pastoral figure and best-selling author, grants you an inside peek of his writing and how he approaches it. He may not directly discuss procrastination, but his beautifully sculpted words will benefit your enthusiasm, flaring up writing ambition.
- Guides you on an indulging journey through the minds of our beloved John, Paul, and Luke,
- Addresses the significance of editors,
- The purpose of Christian writers/how to be a purposeful writer, and
- Other writing tips.
Going as far as pointing out that “a little red ink won’t hurt you”, this article is a must-read for any lover of words. I could not get enough of the representation he laid out for the writers of old and their vibrant stories.
Procrastination is hard to overcome, but with the right tools comes the opportunity to shield up against its next attack. It just goes to show that if you take the time to lift the boulders and shift the sand, your determination will pay off.
With having these tools under your belt, I pray that you can impact the kingdom of God with the words He has gifted you.
Never put off what God gave you to use today,