One of my favorite SpongeBob Squarepants episodes was on Nickelodeon this morning. Appropriately titled, "Procrastination," the viewer finds SpongeBob trying to avoid writing the 800-word essay Mrs. Puff has assigned on what not to do at a stoplight. He sharpens his pencil. When he erases what he's written, he blows the eraser particles off the paper and proceeds to choke on them, which means he has to run for a glass of water. He calls Patrick at 3 AM to find out what he's doing. He then proceeds to have a conversation with his mailman about how mailmen get their mail.
In a nut shell, anything that he can do to avoid sitting down and writing his essay, SpongeBob is willing to do. Until of course, his procrastination leads him to accidentally setting his house on fire. Angry and betrayed the house screams, "Why did you set me on fire, SpongeBob? Why Didn't You Just Write Your Essay?"
I think we all have our SpongeBob moments. When we don't have writing deadlines, it's easy to push off our projects. There's always tomorrow, right?
The problem is that tomorrow comes and we find a new excuse not to sit down in our chair and write. Here are some that I've used:
- I haven't been spending enough time with the kids lately.
- The house must get cleaned today!
- I can't move forward on my story without performing more research.
- If I take a few moments to clean out my Inbox first, I'll be able to concentrate better.
- I have that meeting coming up, I need to go over my notes so I'll be prepared.
I have a friend who decided she wanted to stop talking about writing and finish her first book. What did she do? She got up early each morning before she had to go to work and wrote. Sometimes she got 5,000 words, other times, 10,000, and often closer to 25,000 words a week.
Why do I know this? Because she posted her progress online and she and I offered each other support in our writing goals throughout the year. Now her first draft is done, she's in the editing phase, and is putting together her business plan.
Tired of just talking about writing? Sit down and write out your S.M.A.R.T. goals. Create a weekly to-do list. See if you can find a friend to share this list with who can applaud your successes and encourage you along the way. Don't have anyone available to help out right now? Join The Professional Writer's Connection and post your goals in our Goals section.
What happened to poor SpongeBob? He woke up from his nightmare to find his house still standing and his paper stuck to his head. He only had 5 minutes to write 800 words and then make it to school on time.
See what happens when you have the right motivation?
SpongeBob is such a consciencous student, that to not complete his assignment was unthinkable. Many of the tasks he performed to avoid writing the essay became things not to do at a stoplight. He passed the assignment in on time.
Creating deadlines for your WIPs will help you reach your writing goals. Making up a weekly to-do list allows you to check off items as you accomplish them so you see progress. Seeking out motivation and support from others will help too. Writing can be a lonely road. Why not let someone else share the journey with you?