“Write my book” procrastination is a serious disorder that causes its sufferers to display an array of visible, sometimes embarrassing symptoms noticeable to others. For many, it may cause them to lose sleep, become distracted while working on other projects, drift off from conversation, or even lose income and miss life-enhancing opportunities.
I too once suffered from the “write my book” disorder. I struggled for fifteen years to pen my third book, Transformational Healing. (You’d think after having done it twice before, it would be easy, but no, this one was different. It was hard!) It wasn’t until I almost died that I realized how important this seemingly simple thing was to me and my life and finally sat down and got the job done.
Here are some early warning signs for “write my book” procrastination. How many do you suffer from?
- You have stacks of notes written on random scraps of paper that include any of the following: napkins, check stubs, sticky notes, torn sheets of notebook paper, backs of business cards, index cards, billing statements.
- You have a computer folder entitled “My Book” (or the book’s title) with a collection of files inside, all in various stages of completion, and which may or may not tie together.
- You mark out time on your calendar to “work on my book” but use the time instead to: rake leaves, do laundry, scrub the kitchen floor, or take a nap.
- You are at the ready with a list of excuses as to why “I can’t write my book now because…”
- You wake up in the middle of the night with ideas or have dreams about “the book.”
But not to fret, there are ways to break this cycle of this dreaded problem.
1. Start by setting some incredibly small goals: write one page a day; write for 15 minutes every morning; complete one chapter per month.
2. Make a list of the positive things you could have (material and non-material) if you completed this task (e.g., more income, more gigs, more respect in your field).
3. Get some help: ask your spouse/partner/friend to be your accountability partner; take a class, hire a mentor, hire a ghostwriter.
4. Recognize any fears you may have about writing a book will never go away until you finally write it. Realize that these fears are no different from other challenges you have faced and overcome in your life. Looking back on all you have accomplished, know that “writing a book” may be among the easiest of challenges you’ve ever faced.
Once you’ve written this book, you can leap forward and face down new challenges in your life. You can mark this one — DONE!