Confession Time – Coming Clean

I woke up this morning with a sudden urge to come clean with you.

I’m a procrastinator.
I have a difficult time making decisions.
Ask my sister. She’ll tell you.
And I’m a work in process.
I’m working on it.

It’s never too late to decide.
It’s never too late to decide to do things. Differently.

As a business owner, I must make decisions every day, difficult ones and sometimes easy ones. I like the easy ones, of course. Whether or not to have 1 bite of chocolate after lunch, for example. Easy. Yes. Thank you.

To be completely honest, I have to have helpers who hold me accountable, who ask me the right questions, and who challenge me to get out of my stuckness and keep things moving forward.

That’s why I’ve always worked with a coach. Someone I pay. Someone who let’s me bounce ideas around as part of the process of decision-making. My coach(es) – yes, it takes a village to raise me – and I have created amazing results together. I give them a lot of the credit because they deserve it.

Without coaches, procrastination, stuckness and failure to decide would always stand in the way of my successes. I’m totally convinced of that. So there’s the confession part.

Let’s face it: we all have great intentions. But of course, life gets in the way if we don’t have a structure and a plan. I know this is true because of how I’ve struggled.

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to writing, and getting it done, it’s always helped me to have a safe, supportive environment, accompanied with fellow-writers, writing alongside, sharing the ins and outs of the writing life. I’ve always appreciated having a mentor, a coach or other ally to be my guide along the way too.

My greatest achievements have been accomplished when these things were in place:

  1. I had a plan.
  2. I had a support system.
  3. I had a level of accountability I felt comfortable with.
  4. I had a coach, a mentor, or other creative cohorts to spur me on.

I’ve created a mentoring program that fits all those pieces together. And I invite you into this inner circle to join me and others as we create something extra spectacular together this summer.

It’s never too late to decide to do things differently.

To get notification of the next inner circle session, join my mailing list (and receive 99 Ways To Jumpstart Your Creative Writing) here.

It’s Okay To Take A Break

Sometimes taking a break can make you more productive than ever.  Sometimes you don’t even recognize that you need a break but then you get these little life nudges that say, “Hey, stop! You’re pushing too fast!”

Do you ever get the feeling that “pushing” causes more resistance than if you were to gently pull your ideas forward?

Before I was a writing instructor and coach, early in my career days, I worked in an engineering environment where new ideas floated around all day long. Of course, just as in writing or any creative endeavor, ideas are easy; it’s what you do with the ideas that matter.

I noticed that engineers who took time out to get feedback from others gathered more ideas that created even more momentum for their projects. So when these guys (all men but 1 woman at the time) took a break, they weren’t slackers. They were feeding the forward momentum of their projects in a way that forcing or “pushing” would have never worked.

You might need a break if:

  • you question if what you’re doing is working.
  • you’re feeling depleted of fresh ideas.
  • every day seems a struggle to get yourself writing again.
  • you’re stuck with no idea for what’s next.
  • you’ve stopped doing anything but feel guilty for doing nothing.

The antidote: Take a break to feed your forward momentum:

Day 1 – Have a “nothing day” where you leave your writing project completely alone.

Day 2 – Make a list of questions you have or things that bother you about your current project or writing process. It’s okay if this list is long and hairy and disorganized. Think of it as a brain dump of your frustrations.

Day 3 – Make another list of ALL potential solutions. Censor NOTHING. Everything counts!

Day 4 – Seek opinions of others. Share your concerns with a trusted writing friend, colleague, or professional, such as a writing coach. Brainstorm ideas together for possible next steps.

Day 5 – Sort through winning ideas and map out a calendarized next step plan for your writing.

Day 6 – Take another “nothing day” and truly make it an open day free of project anxiety.

Day 7 – Return to your writing project ready, relaxed and renewed by the fresh ideas that will pull you through to success!

{Please pass this writing tip along to others.}

STOP Procrastinating Tip #2 – Eat A Frog Every Morning!

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STOP Procrastinating Tip #2:
Eat A Frog Every Morning!


Also known as The Worst First Technique, this tip works best to get the things you dread out of the way first thing in the morning.  I used to use this technique when I cold called prospects in my former business as a time management and organization consultant.  Here’s how it works:

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  1. Before you go to bed, write down the most dreaded task you face.
  2. Tomorrow, right away, as soon as possible, do that dreaded task.  Go ahead!  Get it over with.  Just do it!

Application for Writers:  What are you putting off?  What’s the #1 thing that has your writing stalled?

Use The Worst 1st Technique to overcome procrastination.  Perhaps you need to make a call too.  Maybe you need to find a subject matter expert to interview.  Or perhaps you’ve been putting off editing a certain chapter.  Maybe it’s an article you need to finish.  Get it off your desk, be done with it so you can move on to something else.  The Worst 1st Technique helps writers overcome writers block too.

What is it that you’ve been putting off?

As unpalatable as it may seem, this technique really works. Why? Because when you do the worst first and get it out of the way, you not only clear your brain of clutter that snaggles your creativity, you also boost  your self-confidence that says “Yes, I can do this!”

Now isn’t that worth eating a frog first thing in the morning? Go ahead. Try it!

{Please pass this writing tip along to others.}

STOP Procrastinating Tip #1 – The Salami And Nibble Technique

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STOP Procrastinating Tip #1:
The Salami and Nibble Theory


Have you ever had a project that you kept putting off because it just seemed overwhelming?  Were you put off because you didn’t know where to begin?  Did you start with one thing, but that lead to something else?  If so, you’re not alone.

Sometimes when you procrastinate, it’s because the project is just like a salami: huge, and long, and slimy. You know how it is when you buy a whole salami, how it has that white chalky stuff all over it?  Who would want to eat THAT!?!? Of course, no one would when it looks so huge, so long, and so slimy with that white chalky stuff all over it.

So what do you do? You take it, and you slice it, and you eat it one bite at a time.  When you chunk it down into smaller bite-sized pieces, the salami is so much more palatable, isn’t it?

Application for Writers: What are you putting off? What’s project is so huge and overwhelming, it has your writing stalled?

Take a look at what you’ve been putting off doing or writing.  Chances are you’re procrastinating because you can only see the hugeness of the project and not the many steps that will lead you to accomplishing your goal.  Use this technique to chunk the project down.

  1. Take out a sheet of paper.
  2. Make a list of tasks.
  3. Make each tasks things you can accomplish in under 30 minutes.  The smaller the better. Go for tasks that are 5 to 10 minute to-do’s.  These tasks might look like this:
    • Dump draft first thoughts for Chapter 1 – go, no holds barred, no self-editing
    • Start a Table of Contents
    • Add 3 topic/titles to the Table of Contents tojumpstart this project
    • Make a manilla folder for each topic or chapter (or a binder with sections works well too since this is all part of the ‘chunking it down theory’)
    • Create a back history document for main character

    You get the idea of it, right?

  4. Think of this chunked down list as your project menu. It is the container of your many chunks or slices.
  5. If the tasks need a certain order, then go ahead and number them in order. But don’t worry too much about that. Trust that you have a set of steps that will get you closer to your goal.
  6. Now, schedule at least 1 hour (2 hours is better if you’re a serious writer) every day to eat up that scrumptious project in those tinier bite-sized pieces.

One to two hours too much to ask?  Well, then just do one thing at a time: eat as many pieces as your schedule (aka stomach) will hold to overcome procrastination.

Enjoy the journey!

{Please pass this writing tip along to others.}

Why Do Writers Procrastinate?

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Why Do Writer’s Procrastinate?
Or why does ANYONE  procrastinate, for that matter?

During the 1990’s I taught time management and organization workshops to overstressed, uber-hurried professionals in the Silicon Valley.  No matter what role they played in the corporate life, every one of them admitted to multiple things they put off and didn’t do.  They procrastinated everything from following up with clients, filing reports, sending emails, cleaning off their desks, even asking the boss for a raise.

Writers are no different.  We procrastinate for a number of reasons:

  • Fear – of failure, success,  inadequacy, being good enough, being found out, being real
  • Overload – common when there’s always, always more to do than time for
  • Overwhelm – the task seems so HUGE, it’s daunting
  • No deadline – working without a clear target
  • Lack of a clear purpose – moving forward without enough information or instruction

Are any of these reasons familiar to you?  What are you putting off?  What reasons do you give to justify the delays?

During the next several days, I’ll be posting tips and techniques for overcoming procrastination. These techniques work; they really DO. I know because I use them myself and recommend them to my coaching clients and memoir writing students all the time.  Their successes prove that overcoming procrastination is possible.

Please leave a comment.  Tell me if you procrastinate and why.

Then, click on Blog for more How To Overcome Procrastination tips.