Okie dokie. Time to talk about the horrors of stressful procrastination.
I’ve actually procrastinated about talking on it, but we have to if we are going to get anywhere with this series. This is gonna be a big one, so let’s just dive in, shall we?
If you are one of those fantastical freaks of nature that can procrastinate to the very last second and still turn out something absolutely incredible, by all means, please continue whatever miraculous thing you are doing and just ignore me. Go check out another one of my many blogs, if you want. But if you need help or want to examine any areas that you think you could improve upon, please join me in this and keep reading.
I personally don’t have much of a problem with procrastination. I just can’t do it. I write out everything at my earliest opportunity and then spend every spare moment I have to make things better (which usually brings up the problem of last week’s blog, but oh well). But I know a lot of people that struggle with procrastination. Whether it is a school report or project, working on something for a competition, or just writing in general, they tend to put it off till the last second then panic and write something quick that they can get by with. Which, in my opinion, is not a good idea.
You can suffer for it and your writing can too, for several reasons. 1) you get stressed out and it makes things way harder than it has to be. 2) you can miss things while writing and editing. 3) weak points.
The easy way to stop these problems is just “don’t procrastinate at all”, but I know that’s easier said than done, and some people don’t realize they are procrastinating until the deadline is staring you in the eye. (Been there done that… I don’t procrastinate much, but I do procrastinate sometimes haha) So for those of you who find yourselves in this position, here are some tips and ways to make things a little easier.
1. Let me just say, stress is not good for you. It pretty much halts the creative process, and its hard to focus on anything. It’s like it puts parts of your brain in hyper drive and just shuts down the rest. My tip for this is so simple it’s crazy. Just b r e a t h e. Find something that calms you down. You may see this as another form of procrastination, but hear me out. I get stressed out easily, and I had no idea how to deal with it until about three or four weeks ago. I started carrying around a sketchbook and pens with me everywhere. I love drawing intricate detailed stuff, like in adult coloring books. (Maybe the header picture makes sense to you now haha!) I have a particular obsession with drawing swirls, because there are no mistakes, it’s a great way to get creative, it calms me down and makes my brain slow down so I can focus and think things through easier. Maybe you’re different, and that is 100% okay! It’s all about finding what works for you, and building on it. For me, its drawing and music. Just find what works for you. Find something that makes you calm down, breathe, and relieves stress. Once your figure it out, don’t be afraid to turn to it as a way out for a few minutes to get away from the stress and pressure. It’s not procrastination, it’s help. Never be afraid to ask for help. Once you’ve calmed down, know what you’re doing, and know how you want to do things, you can return to your project. It will be easier to handle. Trust me.
2. Last week we talked about overthinking your editing process and being too harsh on yourself. For me, I find it nearly impossible to write and edit at the same time, and it only piles on more pressure and it’s hard to focus and finish it. You may find yourself focusing on one thing specifically and forgetting your other ideas once you try to continue, which can make you move from point to point too jerkily and miss major details. So just write it out, and don’t worry about editing till the end. And once you get to the editing point, please… BE CAREFUL WHILE EDITING. Last week I talked about being your own harshest critic while editing, and that is indeed a struggle, but don’t just let things go unedited either haha be careful when proofreading, and make sure to check your spelling and grammar (that’s mostly directed at my fellow highschoolers) and look at your piece from several different angles. When you think you’re done, read it again. Be sure it makes sense, and things tie together like they are supposed to. Be careful to edit carefully, but don’t be too hard on yourself either. Find the healthy medium.
3. This is basically the same thing as number two. Weak points happen when you are drifting from point to point and losing your basic idea. Some people find it easier to keep track of what you’re doing by using an outline, and it’s probably pretty smart to do that. Just note down your ideas before you start. And another thing you can do to ward against weak spots (if you are noticing that you struggle in one specific area) is practice. I used to struggle with writing battle scenes, and I still do sometimes. But I’ve found it makes things easier to explore different ways of writing them and learning what works for you. No writer is the same, so it’s all about finding your strong points, building on them, and making your weak spots stronger. And that’s where practicing really helps. I tend to pick two completely opposite types of characters (sometimes they aren’t my own characters, so it’s more like a fanfiction. Comment below if you would like me to share some of my best battles!) and writing out a battle between them. It has helped me figure out how to do some pretty awesome stuff.
Again, the easy way out is to just not procrastinate at all haha but I know some people just naturally find themselves doing so. There isn’t anything wrong with it, but it can make things harder than they should be.
I hope this helps!
And don’t forget to keep being creative. Don’t let these challenges stop you from being the amazing artist/storyteller/creative person you are. We are all creative in our own way, and even if you aren’t a writer or an artist, you are an amazingly creative you. 🙂