How to successfully derail yourself . . .



We hear lots of advice on what to do as an author, but it is not very often that someone shares the types of things that trip them up on their writing journey.

This is one of those posts.

“what not to do” type of post:


1) When you are on deadline – especially if you are struggling with your writing, or feeling blocked – DO NOT read reviews!

Now, there are a lot of people who will tell you not to read reviews at all, and there is merit to this as well. If you are someone who takes criticism well, you may be able to read every review written and let it float right on by you with no negative reaction whatsoever.

However, writers are notoriously an emotional bunch. It’s part of what makes us good writers. We can empathize with our characters. We can get inside their heads and hearts. This is a good thing.

But . . . it can also be a downfall. When you read reviews that are critical, negative, or even just indifferent, that same empathy that makes you a good writer – can drag you down into the pit of despair. And since each reviewer picks up on different things, you can get the idea that your writing is pitiful in so many areas, it’s simply pointless to continue.


I leave it to you to decide whether you apply this simply when you are on deadline or if you steer clear at all times.


2) When you are on deadline – especially if you are struggling with your writing, or feeling blocked – DO NOT start a new diet.

This one should be a no-brainer, but I have made this mistake too many times to count (cough cough . . . a week ago).

It happens to us all. We look in the mirror and think, “Ugh. I have to do something about this.” and since we don’t want to be procrastinators, we feel like we have to start NOW.

What we don’t realize is that; this is in fact another way of procrastinating on our writing, because we’ve now added something else to an already insanely busy schedule and since it’s new – and oh so important – our brains give it top priority.

Now, if your deadline is two months away, you could probably get away with it. But, if your deadline is two weeks or two days away, I feel quite certain you can safely wait until you hit that deadline before you start that diet.

But that’s just my opinion – and advice gleaned from my own personal experiences.


3) When you are on deadline – especially if you are struggling with your writing, or feeling blocked – DO NOT drastically change your hair; dye, cut, curl, straighten, etc…

This one also seems like a no-brainer. I mean really . . . who has the time to go get their hair done when they’re on deadline. Well, when you’re in need of an excuse to procrastinate because you’re beating your head against the brick wall of a deadline, you can find all sorts of things that HAVE TO be done right now! 

And a haircut/style/etc… that’s not exactly procrastinating, right? It needs to be done sometime . . . why not now, right?


Remember those emotions I mentioned before. They are affected by things like a bad haircut too.

On the one hand, it would be good to have an excuse to lock yourself in the house and go nowhere until it grows out enough to hide the disaster, but . . .

On the other hand, self-loathing and a writing goal do not often go hand in hand.

Just think about it.

And yes, I speak from experience on that one too.


4) When you are on deadline – especially if you are struggling with your writing, or feeling blocked – DO NOT go out of town.

Before I go any further with this one, let me point out that I KNOW some trips cannot be scheduled around your writing schedule. And some trips must be planned months or even a year ahead of time – and you may not know you’ll have a deadline show up during or right after that trip you started planning for eleven months ago.

In those cases, the best advice I can give you is to do everything you can to have the work done at least a week BEFORE your trip. Often, it’s easier to just mentally move the date up a week in your mind than it is to try and work on vacation or a business trip.

But – when you are on deadline, DO NOT schedule or plan a trip on purpose. Unless it is a writing retreat; where you will have plenty of time to hole up in a nice room somewhere and do nothing but write, chances are . . . you are NOT going to get any writing done.

So don’t do it.

Wait until after your deadline is passed . . . even if you have told people you’re coming. I can guarantee they are going to be much happier to see you when you can actually BE THERE. No one wants to have visitors come who are glued to their laptop, trying desperately to get the work done – when they really should be visiting.


I’m sure there are more. Really sure. And when I run across them, I fully intend to share them with you. But for now – that is all I have.


So, now I will go back to my own writing . . . and my own deadline.

Hmm… Maybe that should be #5 – Do not start a new blog post.

Next time.

Really, I’m going. I promise.

Until next time,

OOTM Signature 2


© JCMorrows 2016


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