With social media and dozens of other wonderful distractions filtering in and out of our daily lives, is it any wonder that we find it so difficult to concentrate on our writing?
MICHELLE J RENSBURG looks at why journalists so love to procrastinate.
Journalists – especially the freelance, work-from-home type, are often told to learn time-management skills. But before we can embrace time management rules, we may need to look at what is holding us back. Our greatest enemy could very well be procrastination.
According to Prof David D Burns, author of The Feeling Good Handbook (1999), there are several main causes for procrastination.
They are as follows:
1. Lack of knowledge about your subject
Doing something else instead of writing your article could mean that you lack the knowledge or skill to provide your reader with interesting and informative material. Luckily for you, interviewing an expert and checking facts out on the internet can help. What is essentially important though is to focus, which is a skill that you can learn all by yourself. Follow the link to find out more.
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2. Lack of interest in your topic
Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.”
As a journalist, work is work and it doesn’t always match up with our interests. Unless you are a successful freelancer able to turn down one opportunity in favour of another, you will sometimes have to write an article that holds little or no interest to you. So for this, the only real solution is to get it done and dusted as best you can, so that you can move on to a more interesting topic.
3. Lack of motivation to complete the article
According to Prof Burns, the “doing” comes first and then the motivation. Once you are in the process of gathering material for your article, the motivation for completing it will make itself known. It’s all about having a positive attitude. If you still feel unmotivated, think about that glorious feeling you will have once you have completed your article.
Remember, your work will only be as good as the amount of time put into it. Doing it last minute will only make you write poorly and make careless mistakes.
4. Fear of your article getting rejected
Albert Einstein: “You never fail until you stop trying.”
In this case, moving valiantly ahead and writing the article is the only real option. If it is rejected, take it as constructive criticism. Keep rewriting it until it is perfect and accepted. Never stop trying.
5. Rebelling against your article
The solution here is simple. If you want the money, write the article. If you’re a freelancer, find a niche that matches your field of interests, so that you can write about topics that interest you.
In the end, it’s really up to you. If you can overcome all your excuses, you can start writing. After all, only if you start can you finish.
About the Author:
Michelle J. Rensburg is currently a student member of the South African Freelancers’ Association and is completing an online course at the South African Writers’ College, on Magazine Journalism. She has also done the Getsmarter Internet Marketing 2014 course and a Photoshop course.
Her poem, ‘Jozi Again’, was published in Paperight’s Anthology for Young Writers, in June 2013, in Cape Town.
Her interests include wildlife, animal welfare, arts and crafts, poetry, esoteric movements, philosophies and somatology.