Set goals (for example you are going to write one chapter a day in rough every day until the book is completed in rough draft). Stick to that format once you’ve set your goal. One of my favourite ways of procrastinating? I set a goal of writing one hour each day, then decide I don’t feel like writing today so I will write two hours tomorrow. Sometimes it might work but often tomorrow brings other reasons not to write.
I listen to music – the type that pertains to my stories. In One Dance with A Stranger it was easy to listen to George Strait or Alan Jackson CD’s and be inspired. If I was really stuck, I slipped on the movie – Pure Country and watched a gorgeous George for a while and my hero became clear in my mind.
If possible – visit the area of the setting for your story. Summon up the area in your mind when ‘setting the scene’. I was going to place part of my story Seraphim in Princeton on the Sea, near San Francisco. For various reasons I never seemed to go there. As I have visited Tofino, on Vancouver Island, it wasn’t a stretch to change the location to Tofino if I wanted a segment of my story beside the ocean. The inspiration of crashing waves and spraying water helps my procrastination problems.
Sometimes a change is all that is needed.
If you are serious about writing a manuscript it is important to find tools and methods that inspire you. If you suffer writer’s block (often an excellent reason to procrastinate) at some stage in your story, take a different direction if it goes on for days. Sometimes a different direction is all that is needed.
I find researching something you really enjoy is also an excellent way to prevent procrastination. My fault is too much research sometimes. Especially when writing a historical, my imagination is unstoppable when researching. It falls into my interests of cowboys, Indians and vast, untamed, beautiful western North America. Researching my ancestors falls into that time of struggles, problems and building from emptiness and isolation.
The tools I use are research, visiting places I like, nature, music and researching. Everyone should discover what inspires them to write – not have excuses why you can’t.