The College Intern's take on Procrastination

Probably the most common and powerful obstacle to writing is procrastination. There is something strangely and universally intimidating about that blank page that makes us feel the need to do everything else on our to-do list and more before tackling those first few sentences. My roommate, another English major, has a list of about seven websites she needs to check before starting her work. I personally will run, clean the house, go grocery shopping – anything to feel productive without actually writing something. I’ve tried all sorts of tricks to remedy this – the just-do-it method, the reward-yourself-with-a-latte-afterwards approach – but nothing stuck.
And then I came across an article in a women’s health magazine. They offered a whole spread on the effects of procrastination when it came to exercising. Their solution to this widespread dilemma was to work out for only 15 minutes. They claimed that 15 minutes will go by quickly enough, no matter how miserable you are. What tends to magically happen after this manageable chunk of time is that people don’t want to stop – they want to finish.
I tried applying this method to writing. Sure, the first few minutes were agonizing, and it took all of my will power not to check my email for the billionth time. But just like with exercising, I got into a good rhythm, lost track of time, and sooner rather than later had a completed paper on my hands. And the best part about finishing something is the amount of time it leaves you to go over it, change it, and make positive revisions, until you are left with something tangible that you are proud of. That is something I enjoy far more than checking my email.