Putting an End to Procrastination for Christian Writers



hey everyone today we're gonna talk about putting an end to procrastination so this is a big one my name is Shelley hits I'm here with my husband CJ hey gang and I just want to ask you something yourself some questions have you ever have you ever dealt with procrastination when it comes to your writing or have you ever put off writing because you feel like you need to learn more you need to have more resources or you're not ready yet or whatever it might be well we're gonna talk about this in today's episode of the breakthrough series we're so excited that you're joining us and we are tackling 12 of the most common obstacles we see Christian writers face and what makes this training different is we come up about it with the power of Scripture and prayer so it's not just practical tips although we're gonna give you tons of practical tips we're also going to really give you that spiritual encouragement power to do what God has created you to do and called you to do and so if you're here with us and you're watching or listening please interact with us let us know you're here nothing motivates and encourage us encourages us more we we read every comment and reply and so please let us know you're here and interact as we go we love that and CJ's just gonna start us off on this topic yeah so I thought we'd start off just a little more lighthearted on this one yeah and then eventually get a little more serious but some of you may be familiar with a few of these procrastination jokes and I'm just going to say right off the bat that I am a perpetrator of being a procrastinator and so that's something that everything that we say today man I'm preaching to myself here and because this has been one that I've dealt with really all my life ever since my dad would tell me to go sweep the driveway and an hour later that drive away still wasn't swept eventually getting to it but you know here's a few jokes you know I just joined a procrastinator support group I start tomorrow right another one is one of these days I'm going to get help from my procrastination problem one of these days one of these days yeah if it weren't for the last minute I wouldn't get anything done I love this one by Mark Twain never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow anyone else and then this one may be my favorite this is Joan Connor and it's procrastination always gives you something to look forward to there you go anybody relate to any of those give me a hand raised in the comments there yeah hallelujah whatever you want to put in there so you know on a more serious note how many of you have ever said to yourselves you know I know that I need to do this thing but I'll do it tomorrow or you know I'm gonna start this whole project tomorrow or I'm gonna start it next week whatever it might be and that got me thinking about a verse that I had come across that you know just a little different way of looking at that verse but it's proverbs 27 1 and it says don't brag about tomorrow since you don't know what the day will bring and you know it got me thinking man you know I think a lot of times we just assume we're gonna have tomorrow mmm that's a good point you know we just say oh well you know it's just a given you know I'm gonna I'm gonna have tomorrow and I'll start my writing project tomorrow or I know this thing that God's put on my heart so hey I'll start it next week it's not a big deal and yet here we see that in Proverbs it says don't brag about tomorrow as if it's just a given and there's another verse really even a passage in James and I won't read all the verses but it's James chapter 4 and the specific verse that I want to actually apply is verse 17 James 4:17 I'm going to actually read the passion translation which kind of adds some freshness to this but it says so if you know of an opportunity to do the right thing today yet you refrain from doing it you're guilty of sin and so that kind of ratchets things up a little more seriously doesn't it but I say all that to say you know we are here as fellow travelers we're not here pointing a finger or trying to put a guilt trip on any of us I hope that essentially what we can look at is men a verse like that can motivate me to action it can motivate me to say man you know I want to be excited about this project God's put on my heart but I don't want to just keep putting it off putting it off assuming that I've got tomorrow because how many know that sometimes tomorrow just doesn't come out for various reasons and you know what are we doing today in order to accomplish you know that goal that God's put on our hearts yeah and you know that's such a good point because we're not guaranteed tomorrow and Rebecca said I procrastinate particularly when I feel overwhelmed or I don't feel confident in my ability to do something and that's exactly what I'm gonna start I'm gonna be talking about it's almost as if you saw my notes Rebecca because there's often a deeper route to procrastination there's often something deeper going on beneath the surface there's a verse in Proverbs or in Psalms 119 60 it says I will hurry without delay to obey your commands and so again it's about being you know willing to do what God has done has called us to do and before we got on here we were praying for you and we were praying that you would be activated in the things God has called you to do that it would be an activation not out of striving not out of forcing not out of pushing not out of trying harder but an activation out of God's Spirit for what he has for you to do and so I just want to encourage you that we all struggle with these things at times and yeah I just want to interject real quickly that verse Psalm one 1960 I looked up the Hebrew you know for that word hurry and that word hurry it doesn't denote like this oh I gotta hurry and get something done you know sort of you know without quality or just screening around you know pull my hair out I got hurry it denotes more of an excitement you know I'm excited this opportunity that I have before me to obey the commands of God it's an exciting thing it brings life it's it's fun when we accomplish a goal you know or you wake up in the morning and you're really excited you know to go in a certain trip or go on a hike or you know visit a favorite restaurant for breakfast whatever it might be it's a it's an excitement of being in a hurry because you just don't want anything to delay that anymore you just want to get to it it's fun yeah and I think that's what we wanted to know here it's it's not a hurriedness that is going to lead to just putting something out there that's less than quality but it's more of this lord help me to be excited about those things you've already put on my heart help me too to come up to your level so to speak to see from your perspective you know regarding what you've laid laid there yeah and a joy like I've heard people say you know I get two verses a half – yeah and so one of the things I wanted to mention though is that there's often a deeper route to procrastination it's more of like a symptom and so kind of like when you go to a doctor and you have a symptom of something and then they give you a diet nosis right now I just want to ask you to just quiet your heart and ask the Lord for a diagnosis for your procrastination and and any given day it could be a little bit different but whatever you're dealing with today maybe just think about what is something that you've been putting off what is something that you know that you want to start or you want to finish or you want to continue and just ask the Lord Lord what is the route what is the diagnosis for this symptom of procrastination that I'm experiencing I'm gonna give you a couple ideas the first one is perfectionism and CJ has definitely dealt with this one you will talk about this in more depth in our next episode because our next episode is all about perfectionism I know a lot of you have told me that that's something that stops you is wanting things to be perfect and so you just never even get started or you don't continue because it just feels so overwhelming to try to have that first draft perfect which the first draft is never to be perfect so again we'll talk about this more tomorrow so that could be one it could be that sometimes you need more information or skills like Rebecca said earlier she sometimes doesn't feel confident and so she procrastinates I'm the same way you know sometimes we just don't have the knowledge or the skills and so that's where we ask the Lord okay what do I need to do you know Google search is a great place to start YouTube your library you know there's a lot of resources on Amazon books you know that you can just get on Amazon like my book procrastination to publication it gives you seven steps to publish a Kindle book it gives you the knowledge it gives you the skills of what you need to know to accomplish that task similar in our Academy we give you some of that knowledge in the skills but plus we have you know all of these people members and mentors that are in our Academy Facebook group that can answer questions for you we were just asked answering questions this morning about websites and so you know sometimes just going that extra up and saying okay if I'm not feeling confident if that's the root of why I'm procrastinating what is it I need to do to learn more to be able to feel confident or to get the help that I need what is it I need to do in order to move forward in that way and then you know sometimes it can actually be a spiritual battle so like with my book broken crayons still color I started it and had a very rough first draft and then I didn't continue for like almost a year on that book and to be honest the resistance and the procrastination for me for that particular book was definitely a spiritual battle and now looking back you know they say hindsight's 2020 I can see all the more because of all the testimonies that have come in and all the ways that God is using that book so sometimes it can be that and then it could also be that you feel overwhelmed at what to do and so you know we're gonna give you some tips as well later on but one of the tips that I want to share with you if you do feel overwhelmed and that's what's causing the procrastination is to do what I call a brain dump so what's a brain dump it's just getting out a piece of paper and a pen I like to do it with writing it out not typing it out because there's something that happens when you're writing something kinesthetically I sometimes go to my whiteboard but do whatever works for you you can you know use whatever tool works for you but write it out get all of that stuff out of your head if you have questions and you're thinking well I don't know what to do I don't know how to do this this that I know I need to do this but I don't know what to just write it all out get it out of your head and then start to put together a step-by-step plan so once you get it out of your head on paper then you can see it all and what I find is sometimes I have those racing thoughts if I don't write it out if I don't get it out out on paper I almost feel like I'm gonna forget it and so if you write it out then it's all there and then you can start organizing it and what needs to be done first what's the first step and so you start put together a plan yeah and this goes even back to you know the verse that we read proverbs 27 1 don't brag about tomorrow since you don't know what the day will bring well you know even just regarding having a whole bunch of ideas isn't it so easy in our culture or a world that we live in today to see great ideas dissolve into thin air because of distractions or we didn't write that down or we didn't actually take action when we needed to and then a week later that idea is gone it's just we forget it there's a whole lot of other stuff right in front of us you know that has our attention and I remember hearing a story that Billy Joel you know used to keep a notepad right by his bed and he would wake up in the middle of night sometimes and he would remember a dream have some lyrics some song lyrics that came to him he said sometimes his best ideas would come and he was sleeping and so he would have that notepad right there he'd write down they you know the words and how many of those could have become you know uh biggest hits you know the Billy Joel wrote well we've been mentoring writers for over eight years and I hear over and over and over again that writers get book ideas or whole entire books through dreams so it that's a really great tip is just to leave something beside your bed just to scribble a note if you need to but I always have either notebook or you know in my notes app on my phone when I'm walking no tip is big I'm always like writing down my ideas or writing things down as God gives them to me so that's a great tip yeah just a quick little story and this story a couple weeks ago on our online prayer meeting but again back to myself in terms of being a perpetrator procrastinator you know in college I used to wait until the day before like a 15 or 20 page paper was due I was a sociology major and with sociology or psychology or a number of those disciplines you got these big papers that you have to write and there were many that I waited until the day before because I was dreading it so much I think that's another reason we procrastinate we dread something yes that oughta identified something going on inside of us by the way that God can can twist or perhaps give us a different perspective on but I would do this thing I'd finish it at 3:00 4:00 in the morning and then guess what there was a girl that I could call upon to say hey Monica and I pay her a little bit but I'd say hey I finally finished the paper and you know I'm calling her room at 4:00 in the morning at 3:00 in the morning I'm saying I'm finished can you start typing the paper now she was somebody I paid to type the paper because she wrote it out by hand I wrote it down well yeah yeah and I feel so bad looking back you know I used to I mean how many hours of sleep that I cost that gal but bless her heart she came to my rescue many times and yet it was something that I don't know why I can kind of relate to that that humor that says if it weren't for the last minute I wouldn't get anything done yeah amazingly yeah I do amazingly I was able to actually get good work done but I don't recommend that I don't even recommend it to myself because it causes unnecessary stress at times especially if you actually do have a due date but good planning is smart it's wise and yet I think it's it's something in in us each of us has to deal with that prevents us from taking action you know we we put it off because we either feel overwhelmed or we feel dread I don't want to do this things that maybe aren't as fun and so again I'm preaching them myself there it was a quality that I don't know how I survived through college but somehow I got that degree well in speaking of dread you know that's something that I specifically will deal with with certain tasks in my business you know as I grow my team I'm having other team members that can do things I don't particularly either I'm not gifted to do even though I can do it or I don't enjoy doing it but when I really dread a task one thing that helps me is using the Pomodoro Technique so those of you that have been following me for a while know I say Pomodoro equals productivity and also Pomodoro breaks through procrastination so what it is is basically you use a timer it can be an online timer it can be I purchased even one from Amazon that like is visual and it shows you like the read of how many minutes are left you can use whatever timer you have on your phone your kitchen timer and you set it for 25 minutes and then you don't do anything else with that task and you give your brain a deadline and so then you focus only on that task you turn off social media you turn off your email and then you give yourself a five-minute break you can also do the same thing with 50 minutes of work and 10-minute breaks so either way whichever works better for you and we use this a lot in our Academy and with group writing sessions are virtual writing retreats and it works it just for 90% of writers it really really works it helps to give you a very specific deadline and it's not too long 25 minutes or 50 minutes and then it really just gives you that visual and that focus to get the work done so when I'm working on something just being really honest like taxes or you know financial stuff that I don't really love to do although it's getting better and it's getting easier the more I do it but I will use the Pomodoro Technique or if I've been putting off a project for writing a book or doing something like that I will use the Pomodoro Technique and so that's something that if you do have that that feeling of dread that that that that is something that can really help and I had my graphic designer actually create a worksheet for you to implement this Pomodoro Technique and you can download it free at training authors dot-com for it slash breakthrough you'll get our breakthrough PDF and in that PDF is a link to download that worksheet and I highly highly highly recommend that you get that worksheet you try this technique and just see how it works like I said about 90% of writers really find it helpful yeah so you got the Pomodoro Technique which is a great tip another tip is to really set simple achievable goals so you know part of the reason we procrastinate is because the task at hand seems overwhelming and I know Rebecca mentioned that earlier and it's so true when something just seems so overwhelming we are so tempted not to even start it in the first place so if we make a plan and like Shelly said we have a brain dump where we have these ideas in our heads we don't have to formulate everything right there that day but if you write those ideas down and you just tackle one at a time 15 20 minute chunks it seems so much so less overwhelming and I think about you know when we hike a 14 or here in Colorado really every single person no matter if you're fast or slow has to reach the peak one step at a time one step at a time and one little bite-sized chunk you know and you stop and take breaks and and eventually you conquer that goal but have little chunks that can help you and another tip is use incentives how many others love to reward yourselves when you actually get something finished that you weren't planning on or or it just feels really good to finally jump through that hoop so using incentives means you know we reward ourselves for that hard work on my latest book which is a title a heart for prayer it's basically 21 devotions and where I'm really just delving into prayer different aspect of prayer and really just drawing close to the Father specifically there were five to six hundred word devotions and a little five at the end for reflection and when I would get five or six hundred Birds done when I would finish woman I would take a break sometimes that reward myself with some kind of a tree a cookie whatever it might be and for some of you you might say hey every you know if I get a thousand words done today which is a big goal for some of us I'm gonna reward myself by going out to my favorite restaurant you know and you have to decide how you're gonna reward yourself but incentives are nice because you're almost thinking like okay I've got something to look forward to if I'm in a section of writing that maybe is a little harder a little more laborious it's not necessarily that you'd read it it's just that you've got to start and once you start you get momentum and by the time you finish that it's like okay now give my brain a little bit of bread of a break and I allow my belly to take over yeah and it could even just be as simple as I'm gonna wait and get my cup of coffee or a cup of tea until I finish this section or I'm going to take a walk with my dog or I'm going to just do a little bit of something creatively or whatever it is for you but when you're using the Pomodoro Technique you can use those breaks for even little incentives you know that you start to look forward to and another thing just to consider is if you're really battling procrastination right now and you know that there's something that you're to do a project or writing whatever it is take a break and go for a walk so clear your mind go for a walk and even maybe consider not putting on any music or podcast and just have that time in solitude and just see what starts to come like start thinking through whatever project you're working on or whatever writing project and start like you know have something I usually my phone and my notes up and I will tell you as I start walking ideas start coming and so you know start to capture those and you know as you're walking it could just be that you're clearing your mind giving yourself space and the pressure you know not feeling pressure but really just to give yourself some time to to really think through it but also just to take a break yeah and one of the worst things that we as writers could do if we're struggling with a bout of writer's block or just sort of in a in a moment of dullness is to just continue to stare at that blinking cursor on your screen or that blank page if you're writing in a notebook again you know it's just another reason to get out get some fresh air oxygen to the brain fuels ideas if you can even get your heart rate up a little bit on that walk by walking briskly or jogging that even fuels and and allows the neurons to activate and fire in new ways and so that's why exercise we can do a whole podcast on the benefits of exercise for runners are for writers so yes it's a good tip for getting out of a dull spot yeah there's a lot of research now on the mind-body connection I think that's actually going to be part of our fall curriculum and Christian book Academy I've been starting to work on that so I haven't told you that so we'll probably do some more on that in the Academy in the fall when we're in the first draft challenge which is going to be so fun but I digress so another tip our last tip for you is just tell someone your goal or your idea so making it public can sometimes give you some accountability and what I did for my broken crayons still color book is they actually formed a private Facebook group and I invited people to be part of a beta group so what that meant is they were were agreeing to read my book and give me feedback as I was writing it but it was also for me it was like it was external accountability they were waiting you know each week for me to send them another chapter and I actually got my book done ahead of schedule and it really was the motivation that I needed to finish but you know you can be accountable to someone by simply texting them when you're starting something so I heard of a writer that said you know she'll just text her accountability partner and say or message them and say hey I'm starting right now could you be praying for me and I'll check in with you in two hours or whatever your time limit is and so you you tell them and then you check back in a member I did that recently there was a project I was working on I think it was like some of the technical back-end stuff for a webinar which is not my favorite I love teaching on webinars but I was working on all that setup stuff and I texted my mom and my sister and I said okay I'm doing this I've been putting this off and you know keep me accountable I'll check back in with you and then my mom was like oh yeah I need to do this task too so I'm gonna do that while you know too and so we were kind of feeding off of each other and we we both got all the things done that we wanted to get done so sometimes it can really really help to have that I'm writing in a group can be super helpful at times too as long as the person that you're writing with is not distracting you and trying to talk to you the whole time as long as you're writing and we have group writing sessions every month in Christian book Academy where we have productivity parties and so we write together and then to kick off this fall session we're going to have a two-day virtual writing retreat which is amazing it's really a member favorite and you get it for free as part of your membership and so it's gonna be a really fun time and you know those are also opportunities to have that built in accountability but there's also an excitement or there's there's just an energy that happens for those of you that have been in our virtual writing retreats or you know productivity party parties there's something that's special that that happens right and so you know those are things that can also help you when you're feeling that sense of procrastination is to get the support of a group yeah so great tips just things to consider if you have other tips that have worked for you please share those in the comments we'd love to hear your own ideas of how you bust through this procrastination obstacle and we're at that point where you know we get to the truth which you know we have a true Scripture and in this particular episode you know we had a couple but we're gonna simply mention one of them and of course Johnny 32 is where we get this you know the then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free and today's truth is psalm 119 60 I will hurry without delay to obey your commands and you know you can look at that and say man the Lord's given me an idea he's giving me a God idea it's not just a good idea it's a God idea what am i doing now in terms of my part to put that thing in action to get the momentum going and not delaying any further and so that's said that's the truth and we can rest in that knowing that our our Father is going to give us every ounce of energy and resource that we need to accomplish that if he's indeed called us to do that so it's a it's good stuff and you wanted to share one more resource yes just a reminder the resource I mentioned was the Pomodoro worksheet and you can get that when you download our PDF at training authors com forward slash breakthrough and you'll basically be downloading our PDF five practical tips for Christian writers to break through writer's block it's the best five tips that I've really seen over my years of mentoring writers and so we would love for you to have that make sure to go download that and in that PDF you'll get a link to download the Pomodoro worksheet my graphic designer created this for you I know you're gonna love it use it try it and I also just let us know in the comments what was the tip that you feel like is most helpful for you what is something that you feel like you could put to use you know Jennifer says thank you so much for all these tips your you know we just want to help you to move forward into what God has caused you to do and to help you publish books that fulfill your calling in your purpose for your life and so CJ's gonna close us today with prayer yeah so Lord we just thank you so much that you have given us the tools you have given us power and the ability to break through procrastination and lord I pray that any of us that are struggling in this area maybe we've had several ideas or projects we know that we were supposed to start lord I pray that you lift any unnecessary guilt that we wouldn't just wallow in that but lord would you give us an excitement and a new freshness and a motivation to actually tackle these things one at a time and to do it in bite-size chunks one step at a time to conquer that peak so to speak and just like someone that's fast slow it doesn't matter we're all on this journey one step at a time and I just pray that you would just give each and every one of these listeners just a supernatural power to overcome this this obstacle and I know it's certainly something that I've dealt with and it's you know it comes and goes and I just pray that whatever it is that we know we're to set our hand to the plow in and not look back Lord I pray that we would just be able to look ahead keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and and really be about the things that we've been called to do the things that we've been called to right and as a result we know you're going to encourage and bless people because of those things and help us to be obedient Lord to what you're calling us to do and I thank you for each and every one of these writers and the gifts and the abilities that you have in them and we ask this in Jesus name amen amen and just a reminder I posted today on Facebook and Instagram about like going at the pace of God's grace not striving not pushing but patiently waiting you know in prayer in times with him for that inspiration and you know really just allowing him and the Holy Spirit to provide that flow through you so I think it's just an another good reminder when we talk about procrastination we can just get in this mindset if I just gotta push through I just got to try harder I just got strive and I just want you to say oh I can take a deep breath God is with me I can patiently wait for him and yet I will take action when he leads me when he prompts me and go at the pace of His grace and that's gonna be different for every single one of you I also want to remind you that if you've missed any of these episodes they've been so good every single one we've been tackling different obstacles you can get caught up at training authors calm for it slash breakthrough – series and in that post is our prayer for you we did 15 prayers for Christian writers and so if you need more more encouragement more prayer just go and relist into that prayer over and over and over again it's on our podcast it's on YouTube it's here on Facebook wherever you prefer to listen just listen to it over and over again until God just really just gives you a breakthrough we're providing these resources to help you and we're so excited to hear the testimonies that come from this series so thanks for joining us we'll be back again next Wednesday with another episode all about perfectionism so excited to be back with you guys next week alright guys take care bye bye

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