Write Your Book Now – 10 Ways to Overcome Your Procrastination

Writing a book can seem like a daunting project – worthy of procrastination. We all know that procrastination is the act of putting off something until a later time. Like writing this article. I started last night – and wished I’d finished then – but I didn’t. So here I am bogged down with it. As William James said,

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”

Procrastination is considered a coping mechanism for dealing with the anxiety or fear. If anxiety or fear didn’t exist, we wouldn’t put things off. We would go for it! So procrastination is self-sabotaging-keeping us from realizing our dreams.

In regard to writing your book, you may have put it off for any number of reasons. Perhaps it’s fear of failure – or success. Or you think you’re not a good enough writer; you don’t know enough to write anything; you’ll never get your book published; no one will like your book or what you have to say; you don’t have time to write, you just plain HATE TO WRITE.

Nonetheless, you really want to write that book. You have an expertise you want to share that helps others; you know a book will help boost your career. You just finished a book that you could have written better. You’ve got a story that’s been bouncing around in your head for years. Still – you haven’t started writing your book. Why? Maybe your anxieties are overwhelming your desire-and you need to change that.

Visualize your dream as a published author. You are the expert. See yourself holding your book, talking to others about it. Perhaps you’re at a book signing or giving a talk about it, or being interviewed by the media. The result? Your status is bolstered and you enjoy success because of the book.

How badly do you want to attain this dream of publishing book? Write a number 1 to 10 (highest). If it’s 7 or above, what’s stopping your from pursuing your dream? Ask yourself: What’s the worse thing that could happen? Even if your book was a failure, you would learn from the process and move on. The literature is replete with the failed stories of successful authors. Remember, the worst regrets are on the chances you never took!

Once you identify those demons blocking your success, you can overcome them-and take action. Let’s look at ten major excuses for not writing your book – and how to overcome them.

1. I don’t have enough time. Set aside just 15 minutes every day to work on your book. Perhaps, get up 15 minutes earlier. Commit to focusing at least 15 minutes a day of uninterrupted writing. During your “writing time,” do not answer the phone, e-mails, or text messages. Just like you plan uninterrupted time to workout or to meditate or to be with your kids, devote at least 15 minutes every day to work on your book.

2. I’m too busy and “forget” about writing my book. Set a schedule and put writing on your “to do” list. Now that you have committed to just 15 minutes, schedule it into your day on a regular basis-preferably the same time every day-so it becomes part of your routine. That way you won’t forget or avoid it. Hold yourself responsible to working on your book each day. Check it off your “to do” list as a way of acknowledging your success in following through with your goal. Then reward yourself with something that works for you.

3. I don’t know where to begin. Start at the endpoint to create a structure-a plan for your book–like an architect. You wouldn’t begin building a house without a blueprint. Likewise, you need a plan for your book. Rather than start by writing with no direction, the first step is to give thought-a great deal of thought to the structure of your book.

4. It’s too overwhelming. Create your plan in manageable steps. Identify your vision, goals, and expectations for your book. Go from there, in small steps, to identify your target audience, branding, positioning, even your table of contents. At AuthorAssist, we offer 15 exercises that result in a personal guidebook for writing your book– your blueprint. Realize, you haven’t yet written a single word! But now you have a plan-a direction for starting-and finishing your book.

5. I hate to write. Consider dictating your manuscript. Choose from a variety of voice recognition programs or dictate into a digital recorder or even your cell phone. The digital file can be imported into your voice recognition program or you can hire someone to manually transcribe the file. Since we talk faster than we write, this can be an efficient and less stressful method, for getting a first draft of your book.

6. My workspace is too cluttered and uninviting. According to Salvatore Manzi of Feng Shui Life Mapping.com, “Start by setting up an office that is free from such distractions. Anything on your desk or office that is unfinished, unloved, or unused is clutter eating up the energy that could be used creatively with your work. As you spend time looking for something you need, you’ll get distracted by the desire to finish something else and put things in their place.”

Remember your dream of writing your book? Incorporate a visual image-a mock book cover or photo of yourself at a book signing. This will motivate you and provide focus on your writing.

7. I need a deadline to get things done. Give yourself a firm time frame for completing one manageable step of your plan. If you’re devoting only 15 minutes, it may take several days to complete one step. That’s okay. Just meet your deadline. Create a calendar to show when that step will be completed and the next one started-and proceed from there.

8. I feel alone in trying to start my book. Enlist a writing coach or buddy to get you going-and keep you going. Writing is a solitary endeavor and it’s easy to feel alone in your thoughts and words. Hire a writing coach or enlist another writer to help you overcome the procrastination associated with starting your book. A coach provides the specific steps for developing your blueprint. Then you can begin the actual writing, dictating subchapters at a time to get to that vital first draft. Your coach or buddy will check up on you regularly to ensure you are making progress. As one client said, “Working on the exercises together and having someone out there giving me instant feedback was extremely helpful.”

9. Writing/publishing my book is too expensive. How much is it worth to succeed at your dream – and boost your status? Yes,there are costs, as with anything worthwhile. Like the tasks involved, the costs are manageable and can be budgeted in small chunks.

10. It doesn’t matter if I put if off a while longer. Where will you be a year from now: wishing you had started today-or holding a copy your published book? When it comes to taking the first step toward writing your book, it’s easy to but it off until tomorrow. Remember, the best way to get something done is to begin. Do It Now.

Lessons Learned in Hunter Education

When I was volunteering as a certified hunter education instructor for the Department of Natural Resources of Wisconsin published a compiled list of statistics for each season’s hunt. Being one of the top ten states for deer hunter participation, this makes an interesting and accurate case study. Let’s go over the lessons learned from the compiled numbers and see what we can discover about trends in field shooting and safety skills of hunters.

First, the good news. Organized events, even those as rudimentary as basic hunter education, are marvelously effective at improving safety skills. In 1907, decades before hunter education was established, there were 97 reported firearm mishaps statewide of which 41 resulted in death. Total deer harvested was about 6,000.

In 2002, over five decades after the first hunter education program was established, the number of incidents was less than half that (47 total) despite a much larger hunting population taking the field: 618,945 licenses sold with 277,959 deer harvested.

According to the National Safety Council there is currently an average of seven firearm-related incidents for every 100,000 hunters in the United States. Wisconsin’s 2002 rate works out to 7:92,184; close to the established national average.

This is yet more proof how safe shooting and hunting can be IF participants bother attending even the simplest, organized, skill-building event. Wisconsin’s hunter education course is a scant 10 hours with a large number of topics in the curriculum and there is no shooting proficiency test or standard. Twelve-year olds find the coursework simple. Worst of all, no follow-on events are offered or even suggested. Yet, the difference between the most vestigial training and none is astonishing.

Hunter education instructors and administrators deserve a pat on the back. Not too hard, though, as there are still a number of embarrassing problems to iron out.

In other articles and reports I’ve pointed out that about a third of all hunting “accidents” are self-inflicted and half are perpetrated by a hunting party member (someone the offending hunter knew was there.) That means there is no acceptable excuse for at least 80 percent of the mishaps.

The 2002 statistics prove this yet again. 14 of the 47 incidents (29.78%) were self inflicted and 24 of the incidents (51.06%) involved a hunter shooting a member of his own party. These incidents can be traced to abject incompetence due to unfamiliarity.

Actual hunting experience, without continuing range experience and training, is of little help. Tim Lawhern, Wisconsin’s Hunter Education Administrator, has noted in print that hunters with a number of years of hunting experience are often some of the worst offenders, not the new, inexperienced kids.

The numbers bear this observation out. Nearly half of the perpetrators (22 out of 47, 46.8%) were over the age of 35 and had hunted without mishaps for years. How can this be?

A new hunter takes basic hunter education and learns rudimentary skills. The tentative newbie is cautious with the lessons fresh in his mind. Unfortunately, after this one required event most hunters do nothing to further their field shooting and handling skills beyond this kindergarten level. As the years pass with incident-free hunts, and nothing done to relearn and reinforce lessons learned, complacency sets in.

We see this with alarming frequency when adult hunters attend a field day with their kids – at least when we can get them to actually toe the line and shoot in front of the class. I’ve learned that the “experienced” hunter often has to be watched even closer than the kids at first. The new student’s safety procedures are just beginning to approach the Consciously Competent level. He may have to think about it first, but he knows what to do. The hunter who has neglected to reinforce these lessons too often reverts back to the Unconsciously Incompetent level, and doesn’t realize how much of the little skill obtained years back at the mandatory hunter education class has been forgotten. The most basic safety protocol violations, improper muzzle control and failing to keep fingers clear of the trigger, have to be watched for and corrected for a few rounds before the hunter begins to remember them again. Without a semi-regular refresher, such as a class, match, or other event, too many hunters learn the hard, painful way and end up as statistics in reports like this.

I’m continually amazed and disappointed at the number of really dumb and preventable gun mishaps. Some typical examples:

– “Victim reholstered pistol after a shot with finger on trigger, shot self in thigh.”
– “Victim had safety off and finger on trigger, shot self in foot.”
– “Victim sat down against tree and gun discharged.”

The numbers confirm the need for skill-refreshing events. Nearly two-thirds of the self-inflicted incidents (9 out of 14, 64.2 percent) involved hunter education graduates shooting themselves, and a exactly three-quarters of the perpetrators who shot their hunting partner (18 out of 24, 75 percent) were graduates as well.

This is NOT a condemnation of the hunter education curriculum or instructors, rather, it is further evidence of the need to provide and promote adequate follow-on activities and sufficient participation by the majority of hunters and gun owners. As noted above, the most basic training experience makes a huge difference. It’s the follow-up, getting rank-and-file gun owners and hunters to bother to show up to shoots once in a while, where we drop the ball.

In summary:

– Organized, skill building events work! The huge drop in negligence due to Hunter Education proves it.

– Follow on experience is essential or the lessons will be lost. A mandatory, one time event is not enough.

– Raw number of years spent hunting is a poor indicator of skill. Hunters sometimes wait a year (or more!) between hunts. Refreshing skills in between through organized shooting events is vital.