Why hello there old friend, procrastiwriter. Are you ready to go a few rounds?

Dear procrastiwriter - writing in a notebook

My creative process and the rise of procrastiwriter

With every project I work on, regardless of its size, I go through a somewhat painful initial process where I dance around the work that needs to be done without actually doing any of the work that needs to be done. My work and I are like two boxers circling each other in the ring, sizing each other up, making small gestures but not actually throwing a punch.

My #copywriting work and I are like two boxers circling each other in the ring, sizing each other… Click To Tweet

Let’s say I’m writing some content and product descriptions for a new eCommerce store. I’ll run through a sequence of tasks and talk to the owner of the business to:

  • dive a little deeper into what their motivation and goals are
  • find out how they’re different to everyone else (i.e. their unique selling point)
  • learn some more about their target audience and what their pain points are
  • figure out how their products solve that pain
  • develop the style and tone of the content and the language I’ll use to best connect with their target audience.

So far I haven’t written a single word of content for their eCommerce store. Procrastiwriter takes over and instead of knuckling down and writing some content, I’ll check Facebook, read an article, write a blog post like this one, write a proposal, Skype with someone, write a detailed ‘to do’ list. Anything but write what I’m supposed to write.

And you know what? That’s OK.

Giving ideas time to percolate leads to moments of clarity

Creativity percolating like a good cup of coffeeStuck with an unforgiving deadline, I can bang out some decent text, but it usually feels forced and uninspired. And hard to write, like wading through waist deep honey. But give me a little time for the ideas to percolate, then BOOM! I’ll be struck by a moment of clarity while doing something inane like washing the dishes or lurking on Facebook.

I’ve learnt that I need to build extra time into my process to allow my ideas to percolate. I don’t always do that even though I know I should. And I tend to overbook myself, cos I’m just a copywriter who can’t say no. But I know that giving myself the luxury of percolating time will be worth the well-written, inspired and clever copy that flows easily.

There’s science behind this. Our subconscious mind spends much of its time solving our problems while we’re not even thinking about our problems. It’s why at the start of a test you can’t remember an answer to a question, but by the end of the test, you’ve remembered. BOOM! That’s your subconscious brain at work.

So the next time you’re procrastinating, don’t beat yourself up. Ask yourself if you’re procrastinating simply because you’re not ready to begin.

Next time you procrastinate, ask yourself if it's simply because you're not ready to begin.… Click To Tweet

However, if it’s fear that sees your procrastiwriter rise, that’s a different problem we’ll deal with that another day. But check the next time she shows up and see if it’s  your brain needing some time to produce some brilliance.

Tell me about your writing process? Are you comfortable with your procrastiwriter?

Procrastiwriter and the creative process

2 thoughts on “Procrastiwriter and the creative process

  • March 29, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    “Procrastiwriter” – I love that you’ve coined a term for this!

    Sandra, there are many writers who will argue that we can’t always afford to wait for inspiration to strike. However, I agree with you about the workings of the subconscious mind. Our brains can “magically” give us the answers we need when we distract our conscious minds from the problem at hand – yet the source of our creativity can seem to dry up when we try too hard to solve it too quickly.

    As long as we are realistic about meeting deadlines, I see nothing wrong with planning in a few coffee breaks as we let our thoughts filter and percolate subconsciously, brewing up the perfect cup of inspiration.

    Reply
    • March 29, 2017 at 4:42 pm
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      I wish I could claim ‘Procrastiwriter’ as mine but it’s not. I’m not sure where it’s come from, but I’ve heard it before.

      There are times when I don’t have time for percolating ideas, and when I have to work under those conditions and the text isn’t flowing, it’s a battle. But I get there. The big change has been to build a buffer into my proposals – not that my customers are paying for my percolating time, but I’m giving myself more realistic deadlines and allowing more time to pass between tasks so that the ideas can brew in the background and won’t feel so forced.

      Reply

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