Whether it’s writing an essay, an article, or a book, the process of getting started on a writing project can be very daunting. So daunting, in fact, that you spend way too much procrastinating rather than actually getting started. Should you be one of those people who gets plagued by procrastination whenever you try to work, here are four things you can do to make writing less overwhelming.
Break it down: one factor that creates paralysis when writing is the size of a project. If the project requires a lot of work, you may feel tempted to do other, smaller tasks because the project you’re supposed to work on has no end in sight. Instead, you need to turn that report into a series of smaller tasks that are easier to complete. The first step is to create a list of everything that needs to be done in order to get it finished. After that, start putting some of those smaller tasks on your agenda or on your calendar to make sure you’re getting something done.
Actually make an outline: when you have a clear sense of your project’s overall structure, it becomes a lot easier. If you’re having trouble getting an outline started, just make a list of the various sections you think you’ll need and order them afterward.
Just get something done: remember that almost every great piece of writing you ever read started off as a first draft that nobody but the writer would understand. It isn’t the quality of the first draft that matters. It is the ability to get it started, so you can revise it into something worth reading.
Write for five more minutes: because writing can be frustrating, you may quickly find that you feel like you need to walk away from it. It is easy to tell yourself that you’re going to take a short break, only to go down a rabbit hole of email, other tasks on your to-do list, or Instagram videos. Instead, when you feel the urge to quit writing, tell yourself that you’re going to write for five more minutes. Five minutes isn’t that long, and you’ll probably write a few more sentences or maybe even a whole other paragraph. You might even get a second wind and write for more than five minutes.