Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Avoidance as a Writing Strategy

I don’t think I’ve ever suffered from writer’s block. There have certainly been many times--many times to the power of a thousand--when I have not wanted to write. Most of those times I did not write. Was that writer’s block? I don’t think so. That was avoidance. That was being lazy.

Often there are a dozen things I’d rather do than write. I’ve come to accept this over the years, and I’ve even made it into a bit of a strategy. There are times I would rather do a dozen things than paint. There are times I’d rather do another dozen things than sculpt. I have a list of--hard to believe--about a dozen things my better angels (not anjels) would have me doing, because they are creative, lucrative, or non-fattening. My trick is to keep THOSE dozen things in my mind. When I don’t feel like writing, I can turn to a watercolor. When watercolor seems like it is just too much trouble, I can work in wax or pound some copper. When those things aren’t interesting enough, I can always write.

Put another way, which would you rather do, write or mow the lawn? Yes, I know the answer is mow the lawn for many of you. For me, it’s writing. If I can find something else to avoid, something that is boring me this moment, or something I would rather not do when it’s raining, well, there’s always writing to fall back on.

Writing is often a chore. But, you’re not a writer if you don’t write. This little trick helps me when it’s chore time and I really, really should write. Other times, the story grabs hold of me and yanks me into it. That’s when I need no tricks to make the words fly.

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