This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Beating procrastination is complicated and involves being honest with yourself about A. Why you are putting off writing and B. What your personal weaknesses are.
Like many, I find the internet an incredible time-suck. I can open my browser to check a fact for my WIP and 'come to' from an internet haze three hours later.
As well as being aware of your own bad habits and working to tackle them, there are a number of tools which can be useful in aiding focus, increasing productivity and beating procrastination.
1. Omni Writer. If you have Scrivener, you can use the 'full screen editing mode' which fades out the rest of your screen so that you just focus on your text document. Omni Writer does the same kind of thing with an added extra of (optional) music and a variety of soothing backgrounds. It aims to provide a beautiful distraction-free writing environment and is available for Mac, PC and iPad.
2. If you require a shot of adrenaline to kick start your writing session, Dr Wicked's Write Or Die might be the app for you. Basically, you set your goals (word count or length of time) and start typing in the text box. While you are typing, all is well, but as soon you stop there are consequences. You have a grace period of a few seconds before the punishment (such as an annoying noise) is activated.
3. Go retro and use a kitchen timer. The Pomodoro technique originated with a kitchen timer in the shape of a tomato (which explains the name), and the idea that you state a goal or task, set the timer for 25 minutes and work until it goes off. Then you get a five minute break before you do it again.
4. Freedom. I love this internet-blocking software and use it regularly. You set the time for your internet-free session (up to eight hours) and, for that time, you can't go online. You can't access the application, either, so the only way to 'cheat' is to restart your computer. There's a free trial available and it only costs $10.
5. If you spend plenty of time at your keyboard but don't have much to show for it at the end of the day, consider trying Rescue Time. This application runs in the background and logs information about where you spend your computer time, helping you spot your own personal time sucks and make better decisions. There is a free version and a 'pro' version which costs $9 per month, and I can see it working well. The shame of realising that you spend five hours a day playing spider solitaire might be just the kick in the pants required…