My #1 Trick For Busting Through Procrastination and Creating Consistency in Writing and Life

It’s been quite a journey for me these last 9 years as I’ve transformed from Queen Procrastinating Writer to the writer and author I am today. It’s been a hell of a ride, and it’s only just getting started!

And I’m constantly thinking about and reflecting on how I do things and what has actually created results or helped me to achieve what I was going for.

I do this mostly because my writing business is about sharing my life and my writing journey with you and the rest of my community. I’m a teach-from-the-trenches leader. I believe that teaching from your journey is one of the most powerful ways to connect with an audience and build a following.

Yesterday I told you about how I transformed from where I was in 2008, the Queen Procrastinating Writer; a woman who HATES cleaning but avoided doing her writing by scrubbing the bathroom floor on her hands and knees with a sponge… to who I am now: the author of 10+ books (and counting), 2 of which have been Amazon Best-Sellers, and having written more than a thousand blog posts, sharing my journey and documenting my life and experiences and all that I’ve learned along the way.

But this morning I was thinking about it and there’s another trick I use to bust through procrastination and get results FAST. I do this all the time and have for most of my life.

Now this trick isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s not something most people do successfully, because there’s a lot of BS that comes with it (excuses, Upper Limit Problems, Resistance, etc), and it’s hard to push through and stay committed.

But for those who are willing to do the work and willing to stay the course no matter what kind of life chaos arises, it’s the BEST way I know to bust through procrastination and Resistance and all of the excuses in the world.

Here’s what it is… 

Force yourself into doing the work by raising the stakes big time. 

There are several ways you can do this. Here are three of my favorites:

1. Step Into A Leadership Role

When you’re leading others, you have to show up and walk your talk. Otherwise you’re not gonna have people following you for very long.

Being the leader forces you to take things to a whole new level with your mindset, your actions and your results.

This is by far my favorite way to push myself to raise the stakes, do the work and go all in. I made myself a best-selling author on Amazon, multiple times over, by deciding that 2016 was the year it was going to happen for me, and then making myself massively accountable to it by launching a membership site called the Bestselling Author Mastermind, where I told people they could watch me become a best-selling author.

SCARY! Because what if I failed? Or what if I didn’t get the results?

But here’s the thing about stepping into a leadership role… when you know people are counting on you to do what you said you would, you show up and you do the work.

And when you do the work, you get results. You can only fail if you give up.

By forcing myself to step up as leader of the BAM group, I acted my way into best-selling author status. And I’ve created an awesome community of writers who are actually doing the work and getting results.

Leadership isn’t for everyone. It’s definitely something you need to already have inside you or something you deeply desire to cultivate for yourself.

It’s tough to lead. Because you’re putting yourself out there in a big way. You’re being visible and you’re standing for something. And you’re also opening yourself up potentially for haters and judgement by others.

It comes with the territory. Which is why it’s not for everyone.

But if you feel like you have leadership qualities, stepping up and taking the lead on something that you want to create for yourself (for example, I wanted to be a best-selling author on Amazon so I forced myself into it by starting a group where I told people they could watch me make it happen), can help you overcome procrastination practically overnight.

It’s so rare for me to procrastinate on anything relating to my BAM group (or other workshops and programs) because I know people are counting on me to do what I said I would. That has been a key factor in me being able to push through my procrastinating behaviors.

Now this also may mean you’re starting much before you’re ready. That also comes with the territory. If every transformational leader in the world waited until they felt ready, there would be no Tony Robbins, no Mastin Kipp, no Ghandi, no anyone.

Great leaders are never ready, they just show up and do the work anyways. You can choose to do the same thing.

Journal Prompt: where can you step into a leadership role so you can start to achieve the goals you desire to have? Brainstorm ideas for ways you could use leadership as a way of getting your writing done.

2. Challenge Yourself

This is another one of my favorite ways to raise the stakes and bust through procrastinating writer behaviors. I’m always challenging myself to do things that I want to be doing, but am not currently doing.

Last year I wanted to clean up my writing habits and get them aligned with the success I wanted to create for the year. So I gave myself a 30-day challenge to clean up my mindset, clear out the old and start building writing habits aligned with my goals.

And I, of course, invited my community to join me, because that’s how I bring the leadership role into it for an additional kick in the pants to do the work.

But I’m always creating challenges like this for myself. A month ago, I challenged myself to get off sugar and carbs. And I’m about to step into a 30-day challenge to finish my damn revisions (more details on that below).

When you’ve got a challenge going on, you’re less likely to procrastinate. And it also helps to pre-plan some kind of reward for yourself so when you finish the challenge, you can feel like you really accomplished something and get rewarded for it. (And if you don’t finish, then boo, no reward for you.)

Journal Prompt: how can you give yourself a challenge as a way of raising the stakes for yourself, forcing you to do the work and be consistent?

3. Make It A Game Or Contest With Yourself

This is one other way I raise the stakes and kick procrastination to the curb. This one is similar to challenging yourself, but it’s slightly different because it’s more about seeing how far you can get, not about setting a specific number of days.

When you’re playing a video game, you’re always trying to get as far as you can into the game before you “die” and have to start over (or give up the controller to the next player). You can apply this same principle to whatever you want to achieve in your writing life (or life in general).

Figure out what your goal is or what new habit you want to create, and then make it a game for yourself to see how many days in a row you can do that thing before you “die” by missing a day (if you miss a day, you have to start all over again, sorry!). You can use an app like Don’t Break the Chain to keep track or just mark Xs off on a calendar.

Be sure to have some kind of reward set for yourself along the way, like if you make it 15 days you get something and then you get something better when you make it 30 days and so on.

A few years ago I was growing my hair out because I wanted it to be long for my wedding. But I have a hard time with long hair because it drives me nuts and I always end up cutting it. So to help myself not do that, I decided to make a game with myself (and then a couple of my friends joined in) to see how many different hairstyles I could come up with.

I ended up doing one new hairstyle a day for 30 days and I documented the whole thing on my personal Facebook page (which is how my friends got involved). This helped me to use my creativity to solve a problem I was having, rather than just saying fuck it and cutting the hair off.

This works just as well with procrastination. Because if it’s a game for you do sit down and do your writing every day and you’re keeping track of how many days in a row you do it and you’re rewarding yourself along the way, there’s no reason for you to procrastinate anymore.

Journal Prompt: how can you create a game for yourself around creating new habits or getting your writing done? Brainstorm some potential games you could create.

I hope these three “raise the stakes” actions help you to bust through your procrastinating behaviors so you can create massive results in your writing and life. If you try any of them out, I’d love to hear how it went. 

Write with a purpose, live with intention,

#DailyThinkDifferent #DreamLifeOrBust

P.S. The doors are now open to FINISH Your Damn Novel–30 days of kick-ass motivation, inspiration and getting-writing-done for writers who have started a first draft or the revision of a novel and want to FINISH.

>> Full details and sign up here

The 2 Things Stopping You From Finishing

How many times have you started a writing project, but never finished it? And you always have a great reason (aka: excuse) for why–it was too hard, it wasn’t working, you’re no longer interested, you don’t have time, etc.

But here’s the thing: at some point you have to finish something.

‘Cause if you never finish, you’ll never be successful. Not ever.

​Successful people finish what they start. 

So let’s talk about what’s really causing you not to finish things: Fear and Resistance.

Fear comes in many forms:

  • Negative voices
  • Limiting thoughts
  • False beliefs you think are true

Here’s how fear often shows up:

  • Telling yourself things, like “I can’t do this” or “I’m not good enough”
  • Believing things like, “this isn’t meant for me” or “it’s too late” 
  • Having thoughts, like “the world doesn’t need another novel” or “why would anyone read my book?”

This fear gets in the way of you finishing your writing project(s).

As for Resistance, Steven Pressfield covers this extensively in his series of books (starting with the War of Art). For now, think of Resistance as self-sabotage.

Resistance is basically your comfort zone trying to stop you from doing something “threatening,” like publishing your novel.

Here’s how Resistance often shows up:

  • You spend months working on a novel, and then suddenly another story idea pops up that seems “so much better” and so you chase that idea instead of finishing the one you were already working on
  • You know you need to work on your writing, but instead you decide to wash the dishes, clean your house, and catch up on those emails that were unimportant until right now when you were gonna write
  • You have a drawer (or computer file) of unfinished novels, short stories, etc. 

I’ve had seven years of fear and Resistance; of finishing, but not really finishing (I wrote and started to revise a novel, but never published it).

And even now as I’m putting the edits in place and doing the final-final polish on my debut novel, I’m freaking out, I’m afraid, I’m questioning everything!

But I’m pressing forward anyhow. Because I’m ready to get in the fiction game. I’m ready for my stories to live out in the world instead of in my head.

People can judge me all they want, but I refuse to hide any longer. And you shouldn’t either. 

Now I’m not saying that you should just write something and throw it out there. Not at all.

The opposite, really.

I think you should spend time finding your story. Getting to know it. Asking it questions. Playing with scenarios and “what ifs.”

And once you know everything there is to know about your story–or at least ’til you have a cohesive story that works from beginning to end–then you sit down and write your heart out.

When you’re done, revise it until every plot hole is filled and everything that shows up in your story is set up, foreshadowed and flows together.

Then hire an editor and get it in front of some Beta Readers. Make the edits and give the story a final-final polish.

Then let it go and release it.

There has to come a point with every creative project when you call it done and call it good enough. There has to come a time when you say, “this is my best work to date and I know I will do even better next time.” 

This isn’t the last book I’m gonna write, and I know it’s not your last one either.

So that’s why you have to finish what you start. Because at the end of the day, all of your stories and writing talent won’t do you any good if you don’t launch.

That’s the realization I came to recently as I’ve been finishing up this novel. (Pressfield talks about this in the War of Art, as well.)

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 11.49.02 AMI have all these stories and novels I’ve written, but if I don’t finish the journey–not just writing, but publishing–then I’m wasting my creative gifts that are meant to be shared with the world.

So I set a date: June 16. 

And on that day, I will publish my debut novel. I’m releasing it and setting it free, out into the world, to be loved, critiqued, judged, hated and adored.

I know this is what I’m meant for, and I’m not gonna deny it any longer.

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Are you ready to step it up and call your book “good enough?” Tell us your launch date in the comments, if you dare.

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Finish Line image courtesy of Sean MacEntee