Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

Help: graduate writing

Hi guys, I am back b/c I am so desperate! I've not written any new content for a particular paper for several weeks and cannot stand living like this anymore. 

Yet, even when I come to the library and sit down to look at it, even putting my fingers on the keyboard, I can't seem to make enough sense of the words I've written to have it in a proper order on the page.

I know there are those here who have accomplished incredible feats of bravery in facing writing and other tasks - help :( I don't know what else to say!

Chatroom has become not so great for me b/c it tends to disrupt my concentration, when I do have it, and requires that the internet be on, which I try to avoid when I'm actually attempting to write. 

Any suggestions or words of encouragement would be so helpful.

Thanks, all!  


getting writing again

Well done for the first stage - wanting to have another go.

 I've found that trying to get the words in a proper coherent order first time can easily prevent me from getting started.  So I usually do my university assignments on paper first.  If necessary I'll scribble ideas, heading, brainstorm words and connect them with arrows - anything that will help me get the ideas down on paper where I can see them.

Then I start to pull the ideas together into sentences and paragraphs, often with lots of crossings out and restarts.  You can use a pencil and rub things out if you prefer.  One paragraph on my current assignment has got rewritten three times so far

I only start typing a fair copy once I'm reasonably happy with what I've written.  That way I only have to concentrate on accuracy and layout.

The pomodoro technique also helps - give yourself a specific time to work min, and then take a break.  It doesn't have to be the official 25 minutes - some of us use 10 or even 5 minutes blocks. 


Getting writing again from Mole

So glad you brought this up Slowpoke and commiserate. i had a period of quite productive writing - using pomodoros, gaining a clear idea of what to do next, almost thought i'd got writing procrastination licked (unlike other aspects of my life), but i have fallen off the wagon, this last week or two - getting later and later arriving at my desk, knocking off ever earlier, breaking my resolve not to go on the Internet, to write anything at all rather than nothing, using the timer. Your post has made me stop and think and i really appreciate Hypatia's response and movingalong's link.

My thoughts as I try to work my way through this:

Unlikely though it may seem, given that we both probably spend a long time staring at blank paper or screen, i have to remind myself first to sit back and breathe, in fact even to stare out of the window (without any other distractions). I really concur with Hypatia about brainstorming, multicoloured if possible, then clustering (both on paper or a whiteboard) And although i might want to do several, I will limit the time on a brainstorm to five minutes and not think too much - try to keep the mind fluid rather than logical. Doing as much work as possible at this fluid level delays the lead weight dread feel that often descends when I sit down to write (Gabrielle Rico has written some interesting stuff around this). I also recognise more and more the value of scheduling prep time - as suggested by Robert Boyce in movingalong's link - both allowing time and being clear about how much time to allow. I do find the pomodoro technique really useful and worth using in the way they intend ie regular specific lengths of time to work and equally specific times to stop and break - whether it is 25 mins on, 5 mins off, 25mins on, 5 mins off and so on or shorter amounts of on time. It is worth visiting the website and seeing how the whole technique works. The instructions are downloadable. What it has done for me (before this horrible lapse) is remove the endlessness of the task and also given me a reality check around what is possible (I am prone to fantasise about what I can do and then hate myself for not achieving it). Prep wise it is good to allocate the first pomodoro of a work period to planning.

and if you are a victim to inner critics, Julia Cameron's advice is 'take them out to coffee'. I love this as it gives me back the power to call the shots.

All the best with this paper slowpoke - and the many more you will no doubt be confronting. Any insights you get on the way will be of great interest to the rest of us.


@slowpoke, re: writing tips

Have you seen the ideas here?