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Creative Ways to Overcome Procrastination

We all know the usual suggestions to escape procrastination: avoid or get rid of distractions, set goals, schedule writing time, etc.  But those things don’t always work. There are days I can find distractions inside my own head, even after I've hidden my phone and tablet, set up the net nanny and unplugged the tv.  Days I can convince myself that I can catch up on my goals tomorrow/next week/next month.
So, sometimes I have to find creative ways to get my nose back to the grindstone. Here are a few  different things I’ve been trying to help me get over the urge to say, "I can catch up tomorrow…"

1. Change your writing instrument

I've talked about this before, but one way I overcome writer's block (often the underlying cause of my procrastination) is to write differently. My number one method is writing on junk paper. Envelopes, backs of old photocopies, notebooks half-filled with grocery lists, etc. Something about a blank, pristine piece of paper or a blank document and blinking cursor makes me freeze.  I don't want ruin it by writing words I may have to delete. Writing on paper I'm going to throw away anyway makes it okay to make mistakes, cross things out, draw arrows or circles or notes in the margin until I find the right words and the story starts flowing again.

If you normally handwrite, try typing. If you normally type, try handwriting. Use funky colored pen or write on Post-it notes. Do something completely different and try dictating or drawing a scene.

2. Limit your writing time

Not long ago, I read somewhere that 'our tasks expand to fill up the time we assign them.'  (I'm paraphrasing, since I can't seem to re-find where I read it so that I can quote and attribute properly.) I've noticed this to be true for myself.  If I have four hours to write a scene, I'll write in fits and starts until I realize my time is almost up, then, all of sudden my focus and flow kick in and the majority of my words get written in the last 45 minutes.

So, recently, I've been playing with limiting my writing time.  On days when I would normally have a solid chunk of time, I only allow myself a fraction of it for writing. If possible, I schedule something else so I can't give myself a pass to "do it later."

It's counter-intuitive, I know, that writing less could lead to writing more, but it gives me a sort of false deadline. I get that writing a paper at midnight due at 8 am kind of rush.

I don't think this is would be a good long-term solution, but, once in a while, it seems like a good way to jumpstart things.

3."Pub Crawls"

I discovered this during Nano '13 (the one and only time I 'won' Nano).  Basically, a crawl is a list of various types and lengths of Word Wars that participants work through, usually with a theme.  An example is here. Word Wars in Nano are done a little differently than we do them for GYWO.  There are posts in the forum for different time frames, but also for specific word counts (i.e. write 500 words as fast you can) and other things like choosing your favorite playlist and writing for the length of it.

The participant is supposed to work through the 'pubs' in order and comment on each of the original Word War posts with their results after each step.

The shake-up of different types of Word Wars keeps me on my toes and doesn't let my brain get complacent. Also, it's sort of like a mini-reward to myself, finishing each stage.

Since Nano isn't really active right now, I thought I'd set up a mini crawl on my DW journal if anyone wants to give it a try. To make it work on as a journal post instead of forums, I changed it up a little. Instead of commenting on individual word war threads, participants can comment on the post when they start and reply to their own comment when they complete each step.

4. Productive Procrastination

Okay, I know that sounds like a contradiction, but some days I can't seem to focus or get motivated.  I try to have a list of things other than writing that I can do that my brain will accept as goofing off, but ultimately will actually prove useful.

If I'm in the mood to read, I'll try to read a book on writing or to read something in the genre I'm writing. Or if I want to watch tv/movies, I'll try to watch whatever canon I might be writing fanfiction of. Or I'll browse stock photo sites or pre-made cover designs to either get inspiration for my current of future WIP.

Or create a vision board on Pinterest, put together a playlist of songs to listen to while working or fool around designing graphics for my WIP.
Very often, this kind of fun distractions end up stimulating my creativity and enthusiasm and gets me back on track.

What out of the box ways do you fight your urge to procrastinate?

Dear Yuletide Writer

Thank you, Yuletide writer! I'm so excited it's that time of year again. It always makes me so happy to realize other people love the small fandoms I desperately want more fic for:).

The letter...Collapse )
Title: Words Come Later
Author(s): [personal profile] elyssblair 
Artist(s):  radezki_nvrsk 
Fandom(s): Star Trek AOS
Type: Slash)
Rating: Teen+
Word Count: 12,736
Characters/Pairings: Pike/McCoy
Warnings/Spoilers: Minor violence
Summary: He woke up with no memory of his name or his past, a body that kept surprising him with its abilities and a temper that he couldn’t quite control. He would take the universe apart, if necessary, to find the answer of his identity. So kidnapping one gruff, irritable doctor didn’t make him pause at all. (A fix-it for Pike, post Into Darkness.)

Link(s) to Story Master Post/Chapters:
Masterpost || Part 1 || Part 2 or AO3
Link(s) to Art:  here and here

Title: Royal Treatment
Author[personal profile] elyssblair 
Artist: antares04a 
Pairing: Kirk/Spock
Genre: Royalty AU
Rating: R
Word Count: 26k
Summary: When Sam unexpectedly abdicates, Jim is forced to accept the title of provincial prince on his home planet of Monarch. In order for the rest of the Council of Princes to allow him to return to his place in Star Fleet, he must first prove he can rescue Enterprise Province from the financial difficulties it has plunged into.In order to get back to his life among the stars, Jim must find a saboteur and unravel the secrets his mother, his staff and his stiff Vulcan estate manager.
Spock is determined to do whatever it takes to find a cure for the plague decimating the Vulcan home-world. Even if it means keeping secrets from his new prince. Unfortunately, a dangerous saboteur and Pon Farr get in the way of the best laid plans.

Links on DW: Part 1 || Part 2 || Part 3 || Part 4 ||
Link on AO3
Link to Art on LJ || DW || AO3

A/N: Thanks to Antares for the beautiful art!!

written for royaltystory 

WIP and Plot Bunny Corral

So I just stumbled across  [community profile] onedeadplotbunny   and its seems like a great idea so here is all of the projects in my head. The ones I'm working on, the ones I definitely plan to do and the ones that just won't leave me alone.

It's that time of the year again....

 Ugh. This time of year is awesome for my creativity. Terrible for my time management skills.

I'm currently working on three big bangs. royaltystory , fixitstory  and smallfandombang 

I have my yuletide assignment almost done and a treat that has gotten away from. (Plus other treat bunnies clamoring to be written)

And now [community profile] fandom_stocking  is posting and I have at least a dozen stockings bookmarked that look interesting.

Oh, well, my holiday cards and decorating can wait another week:)

PS: if anyone is waiting for an update on the sequel to Harry Potter and the Sentinel Phenomenon, the rough draft is done. And by rough, I mean abandon dirt road rough. It will have to wait until all of the above is done before fixing it, so it will probably be a couple of more months until posting.
Title: Stuck In My Own History
Author: elyss_blair
Pairing: Tim McGee/Damon Werth
Genre: slash
Rating: PG
Word Count: 13,500
Warning: brief mention of events in 'Corporal Punishment', brief scene of mild violence
Summary: (Sentinel/Guide Bonding AU) Tim is a temp Guide with no intention of ever permanently bonding. When the team tracks down a fugitive Marine Corporal, they're surprised to find it's a newly online Sentinel. One who wants to claim Tim as his Guide. McGee's instincts to help Damon war with his desire to remain free of bonding, forcing him to examine his choices and decide what he really wants.

Links to Story on DW: Part 1 || Part 2 || Part 3
Link to Story on AO3
Link to Art

A/N:  Thank you tosexycazzy for the phenomenal art!

Written for ncis_bigbang

Dear Yuletide Author

 [Warning, this was written fairly quickly while somewhat sleep deprived. I may come back and edit it later for grammar and clarity, but the general content should remain the same.]

Dear Yuletide Writer,

First, thank you for loving something I love enough to write it for me!

Now, onto the details. All of the fandoms/characters I picked, I chose because I want more fic about them and I really truly will be happy just to read something (anything in the case of a couple of the fandoms) that you really want to write. I am completely fine with optional details being optional, so feel free to use, change or ignore any of the ideas/suggestions below. Please write the story that you want to write because that will be the most enjoyable thing to read. Also, I’m fully aware that nobody ships a couple of the pairings I mention in my optional details, so unless they interest or intrigue you, don’t worry about them either. I’d rather have a story that you really feel.

...Collapse )


Title: Better Than Your Dreams
Author: [personal profile] elyssblair 
Beta Reader: lunarraine  
Artist:  vesryn 
Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters/Pairings: Harry/Draco
Genre: AU, Romance
Rating: T/PG
Warnings: none 
Word Count: ~22,000
Summary: (AU:Fantasy) After getting vengeance on Riddle for the murder of his Family, Harry is ready to find his HeartMate and begin rebuilding. His HeartMate, however, is the son of Riddle’s staunchest supporter. Draco is an outcast twice over. The Family is shamed by Lucius poor choices and Draco is an aberration, sadly lacking in the psi-magic that marks the Noble Classes. So when Harry Potter starts courting him, he’s sure it’s too good to be true. Especially since his father has other ideas about Draco’s future, wanting to betroth him to Astoria Greengrass. Family secrets and courting traditions hinder any hope of happily-ever-after.
Links to Story: Part 1 ll Part 2 ll Part 3 ll Part 4  or  AO3
Link to Art: on deviantart

A/N :Written for [community profile] scifibigbang . A very special thanks to vesryn for the gorgeous art. Also to lunarraine , again, for betaing:) 
Originally, this was supposed to be a fusion with Robin Owens Celta series of futuristic romance novels. However, its been several years since I've read the books. By the time I dug them out of storage, the first draft was done and I realize it's more of a 'worldbuilding very, very loosely based on' rather than a true fusion. 

I'm bored and avoiding working on my current WIP so I thought I'd throw up a quick update on my progress.
1. The first draft of my scifibigbang HP fantasy AU is done. It still needs a beta and a lot of clean up but its a complete story:)
2.The first draft of my ncis_bigbang story is almost done.
3. I really don't want to talk about the sequel to Harry Potter and the Sentinel Phenomenon. It is still stalled about halfway through. But, hopefully once I clear the other two off my plate, I'll be able to get the muse back on track.
Also, if any artists stumble on this scifibigbang needs more artists. There are a ton of really interesting fics still needing to be claimed. You can check out the summaries here
Okay, time to get back to work...



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