How to Catch Up on Writing When You’ve Fallen Behind

If anyone has ever told you that writing is easy, THEY WERE LYING.


Well, it happened again. You procrastinated, big time. Now there’s a huge deadline approaching, and you’re behind on writing. How will you ever catch up? What’s going to happen if you can’t get enough words in? WHY DO YOU KEEP DOING THIS TO YOURSELF?

Deep breaths. Here’s what you need to do, starting now.

Put it first, no matter what

So you procrastinated (again). No shame. We’ve all done it. Some of us still haven’t learned our lesson and won’t for awhile yet. Don’t dwell too much on the fact that you’ve fallen behind schedule. Instead, focus on making sure you catch up, no matter what.

Wake up and get writing, or click away from this post (after you’re done reading it!) and get to it ASAP. Don’t let distractions get in your way today. Do whatever it takes to keep them out, even if that means turning off your wifi temporarily (you don’t necessarily need it as much as you think you do). Put it first. There will be a few things on your task list that can’t wait, but most of them probably can. Make it a priority this time around.

Set a personal reward and follow through with it

If you need to promise yourself a reward to give yourself an incentive to write as much as you can in as little time as possible, do it. Promise yourself something you can actually make happen (don’t say you can take a beach vacation when you finish this chapter unless you actually can, and if you can, we’re super jealous). But that’s only half of it.

Don’t just shrug it off when you’ve finally finished, say “never mind” and keep working. You promised yourself a reward, and that tactic is not an effective one until you actually receive the satisfaction of that reward. So if you tell yourself meeting this deadline means you’re not going to set an alarm tomorrow, don’t set that alarm anyway. Don’t change your mind. Follow through. You deserve it.

Seriously, just sit down and write

This advice might seem to simple and obvious to you. Not what you were looking for, was it? Because you don’t want to be told it’s as easy as sitting down and writing. If it were that easy, would you be here, trying to figure out how you’re going to catch up and meet your deadlines because you couldn’t just sit down and start writing earlier?

It’s easier than you think. The hardest part really is getting started, and once you get going, it will be much harder for you to stop than it was to begin. Whatever excuses you have let yourself buy up to this point, throw them out. It’s not going to be fun for the first 10 minutes and you’re going to drag your fingers across those keys and you are going to feel like every word you write it worse than the one before it, but if anyone has ever told you that writing is easy, THEY WERE LYING.

That doesn’t mean you can’t still do it, or that you shouldn’t. You can. You should. It’s still worth it, even if you’ve fallen a little behind. It happens to all of us, whether we want to admit it out loud or not. There are always going to be those days when you have to write more words in eight hours than any human being ever should. It’s going to be okay. Really. You can do this.

Now get to writing. No more excuses!

Image courtesy of Fotolia.

5 thoughts on “How to Catch Up on Writing When You’ve Fallen Behind

    1. What’s stopping you? Really. Honestly. The first step to launching yourself over this hurdle is to ask yourself what’s holding you back. Everyone has something, there’s no shame in that, but you can overcome it, you just haven’t yet. How come? A little tough love for ya.

      1. Every time I think about opening the file to start working, I just kind of tense up. When I do finally get some work done, it feels okay, but it’s hard to keep any kind of momentum going.

        I think the main issue is that I was negatively impacted by some reactions to my first novel. Even though I got some good reviews, there were a lot of criticisms.

        Those criticisms are good in that they make me a better writer going forward, but I’ve let them sap my enthusiasm for writing.

      2. Oh no! :( I’m so sorry that happened to you. That’s really tough to deal with, I get it. I’m actually going to post something about this general topic tomorrow – I encourage you to check it out and I hope it helps. In the meantime – have you ever thought about stepping away from your current project and just free writing about your experience and how it made you feel? It doesn’t have to be anything you show anyone or a formal story or anything, but maybe just expressing those emotions about writing, by writing, might help. Just a thought. I really hope you can get back to it. I believe you can do it!! Keep me posted. :)

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