11
Sep
07

HOW TO KEEP FROM WRITING

Finished the latest and final round of revisions to my second novel and shipped the book off to my editor. I’m done.

Fine. Now what?

Well, I have a list of ideas for the next one, some roughed-out stories I’d like to pursue, and a cloud of vague possibilities that could be turned into something, maybe, with work.

And a couple short stories started but not finished.

So there is writing to do. Lots of writing. But first . . .

First I should really straighten up the room a bit. Clean it. Vacuum it. Turn all the pencils in the jar point up, smaller ones in the middle. Look! A pencil rose! Let’s see what other flowers we can make out of commonly available office supplies . . .

You’d think with these OCD tendencies my work space would be pristine and orderly, leaving no scope for obsessive work avoidance strategies. And it’s true that, periodically, things get very clean around here.

But it doesn’t last. Conditions quickly revert to squalor.

And that’s a Good Thing.

Because dealing with it gives me something to do besides writing.

I know, I know–“I thought you loved writing!” I do–it’s getting started that’s the hard part. The Big Question that keeps coming up is–will there be anything there, this time, back in the head? Are ideas finite, like popcorn, bank accounts, global oil deposits? Maybe you’ve reached the bottom of the bowl, nothing left but little burned pieces, rock-hard unpopped kernels.

You never really know, until you start writing.

So it’s a thrilling little moment I put off as long as I can.

There are as many ways to avoid writing as there are writers. We’re creative types, right? So it should be easy for us to think of ways to keep from working.

Blogging is one of them–it feels just like writing. Is blogging writing? That’s raw meat for another discussion.

Though I think if it were really writing I’d find more ways to avoid doing it.

Avoidance behavior can be a beautiful thing. My latest inspiration is to arrange my book accumulation–too random and funky to be called a “library”–by subject, then by size and then color. Should take a while.

But after that I’m stuck. I may actually have to sit down and write.

Can anyone help me out here? What are some of the truly creative ways you’ve found to avoid writing?

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