You’ve been putting it off for days. OK, weeks. Well, a couple of months actually – no make it three.
But today a client cancelled on you so you have two hours spare. There are no more excuses.
You go into your ‘Book’ folder, open up a fresh Word document, and dangle your fingers over your keyboard. It’s looking good.
Wait a minute. Did you forget to lock the back door when you came in? How about your car? And what’s that strange noise outside? Better go and check.
OK they’re all fine, so now it’s time to write. It’s really time. Right now. No more stalling. Just begin. Let’s type …
You get some words down. Hey, this isn’t bad, a couple of lines already. Stinky lines, but they’re a start. Hang on though, is this the best you can do? Nope, hit the delete key and start again.
Now you have no lines. Again. This is terrible – ‘I must be lazy, clueless – a total amateur’, you think. ‘Why did I even think I could write a book for my business? Perhaps I should just do myself a favour and give up right now.’
Or maybe not. The thing is, all authors feel this way at times (yes, even the best-selling ones). And what do they all have in common? They manage to defeat the procrastination grenades that life tosses in their way.
Once you know what they are, you can dodge them too.
And if you can’t manage that, you can at least have a laugh about them along the way.
Here they are:
- Writers always keep themselves open to new ideas, so hopping onto Twitter is good for your brain. Fact.
- You can’t concentrate because your closest competitor (you know, the one who’s always the centre of attention in every Facebook group you’re in ever) announces they just published their book. And it’s a bestseller. And she’s on Oprah (ok so you made that up).
- Your house is cleaner than it’s ever been now you’re writing a book. In fact, you could eat your lunch off the kitchen floor, thereby saving valuable time on washing dishes.
- All that cleaning means you need to top up on supplies. A trip to the shops is in order.
- Netflix kindly lets you know they’ve released Season 4 of Suits.
- And watching it is a great way to learn about story telling, so it counts as research.
- Your brain is officially empty. This is a scientific fact.
- You don’t have a publisher. So there’s no point writing anything yet, right?
- You don’t have anything new or different to say (see point 7).
- Your coach asks you to report on your progress towards your goals, so you dig them out from a year ago. You see that publishing your book was one of them. And the year before that. Heck what’s another year, you may be wiser by then, right?
- Cat videos. No, strike that. Any videos.
- It’s the wrong time of day. Or week. Or something.
- What’s the point? (see point 7. Again).
- You just read your first chapter draft. Imagine your family finding it if you went under a bus tomorrow. Forget leaving the edit until you’ve finished the whole book, you must re-write it now.
- You’re crying because someone else just published the book that’s in your head. That’s been sitting there, for three years, in your head. Did you say it was in your head? You did?
- It takes time to find the perfect simile. Like trying on six outfits to find the one that makes you look perfect (see what I did there?)
- You’ve heard going for a walk helps with inspiration. Great idea. While you’re out, you remember you need stamps, milk and eggs. Ooh, those cakes look nice. What were you doing again?
- You decamp to your local coffee shop. A latte, some productive book writing, and the added bonus of looking like an author-at-work. So why didn’t you get anything done? Could it have been the combination of background music, free wifi and 15 screaming babies from the local parents’ group?
- Your mum calls you mid-morning (why does she always do that?). She asks if you’ve finished your book yet. You say yes. Now you feel even worse.
- A day at secondary school comes back to haunt you, in which you were rumbled for copying a story from an old kids’ annual instead of writing your own. Obviously, this proves you’ll never write a book.
- Ping! A vital email has arrived.
- You can’t decide on the title. Should it be From Stress to Success or Through Stress to Success? So vital to get this right before you even begin.
- You haven’t spoken to your kids in three days and they’re starting to root through the bins to find something to eat. To be fair, this is a good moment to put the writing on hold for an hour.
- Your cat just sat on your keyboard. Hey, why not let her have a go?
We’ve all been there. Writing your business book is like training for a marathon. It takes commitment, self-belief, and huge amounts of effort over a sustained period of time. Kudos to you for trying – you’ve already got further than most.
So don’t beat yourself up about your progress (or lack of it). Instead, see these ‘evil forces’ for what they are – the weapons deployed by our old enemies procrastination and resistance. With some focus, willpower and possibly the help of a writing coach or even a ghostwriter, you can defeat them.
Even if it’s only by laughing.