Pesky Distractions and Writing Avoidance

I admitted today, to my fellow Fictorians, that I am avoiding writing. This is the first step to recovery – I hope. There are many reasons I am not writing or not feeling creative in the least. The suspected top items probably include: too many other obligations (writing-related and not), my work space is disorganized and a disaster of clutter, and my writing is still lacking and critiques tell me so.

 My plan. I have a week before this post is due, so let’s do an experiment together. I will try a variety of things to alleviate said problems and report if they are helping – on a daily basis. I know you won’t see any of this until the week is up, but go along with me and we’ll see if it doesn’t help me and possibly you at some point in the future.

 Monday – Harsh critique has me depressed, but I have now admitted I have an avoidance problem happening, so this will be my attempt to correct the situation. I want to take a nap, go to the movies or read a book. Obvious avoidance tactics…. And I succumbed. I ended up taking a nap, watching a movie, reading and indulging in food therapy. It was ugly. But, I’m feeling less depressed.

 Tuesday – So far, still being distracted by other obligations, but I really do have to wrap up the minutes for my online board meeting. So, working on that. I’m second banana for my local Utah Romance Writers Conference coming up in October. I got a lot done on the conference program and on the minutes, but no writing. Still hopeful.

 Wednesday – Epic fail on the writing again. More board meeting, more minutes, more program. But, the minutes are done and the program is 75% done. Had an evening field trip in relation to the upcoming conference, too.

 Thursday – Honestly, I don’t know what happened today. I did some reading. Lots and lots and a painful amount of emails, as usual. I had a powwow with my critique partner about the problem with my plot. We came up with some thoughts. Discussed going back to work on another story that I’m more clear on. Ran some errands, did dishes and stuff. Alas, no writing.

 Friday – My mom was off today, so we took advantage of her three-day weekend to plan a list of outside honey-do’s that we need to get done before summer disappears. Something like thirty tasks, some small, some bigger. Then we checked our storage room for supplies, shopped for the rest and started knocking out this list. No writing. Do I sound like a broken record?

 Saturday – More Honey-do list work with an afternoon break for a class and a meeting I had to go and then back to work on the list. I am so tired. I’m thinking maybe I need to just bully my way thru on the current writing whether it’s crap or not and just finish it. I can fix it after. At least I was thinking about it today. Sigh.

 Sunday – The Honey-do list got more than half crossed off. Work around the homestead – 1 / Writing – 0.

Monday – My post is due today and it’s a new week. Last week may have a been a bad week to try and fix this problem, but I did make some headway. I got other tasks done that I needed to (writing, non, and around the house) and I feel more like stuff is off my plate so I can focus on writing. I know I should be writing every day even if it is only for fifteen minutes or something. Does my blog count? No more excuses. I will write no matter what! Having thought about it all week and waffling on how to proceed, I give the current work two hours. If I can’t write on it, I’m changing to a different story. I still need to clean and organize my writing space. I will dedicate one hour a day to getting it sorted out. I have hope for this week. Fingers crossed, ya’ll!

7 responses on “Pesky Distractions and Writing Avoidance

  1. Cyndi

    Ah, writing avoidance…the bane of our existence. I can always find lots of things that MUST be attended to first, whether it be the dogs, laundry, a cluttered desk (you’re not alone there either!) or weeds in the garden. Yet when I do make time to write, I feel so much better – even when the output is less than stellar. The words are down; I can fix them later. That’s what rewriting is for, no?

    So how do we get past the all-to-easy avoidance tactics? Willpower not being my strong suit, I’m open to suggestions!

  2. Frank Morin

    I’ve been in a writing slump myself. Mostly I blame an extended family vacation that totally disrupted my schedule. I did do some plot outlining in my head, but no writing. This week as I dig out of the pile of work and other things waiting on my desk, one of my to-dos is to get writing every day again.

    For me, I find it’s easiest to write daily when I have a project well under way. A momentum builds that helps me keep going. But in a time like now when I have completed projects I had planned, the next steps are to outline the next work, do some editing, etc, it’s harder to focus.

    The thing that helps most for me is to just schedule the writing time into my day like an appointment. When the time comes up, I have to sit down and start writing because it’s on my calendar. Doesn’t always work, but it does help.

  3. Evan

    Clancy, change some of the details around (obviously), and this resembles a LOT of my weeks this summer. So I feel your pain.

    Frank, I am exactly the same way. When a project is well underway, it becomes much easier to set aside time. I am also in the position of having completed my main projects, so I’m doing editing and outlining… and it’s really hard to make it all happen at the same pace I hit when churning through my first drafts.

  4. clancy Post author

    I agree – when I schedule the time I feel more compelled to do it, so I am scheduling it! Hopefully this week will be better. Time does fly by, though, when you are frivoling it away :)

  5. Colette Vernon

    Sometimes it helps me to read a book on writing while I eat lunch. It can motivate me to get the butt in chair. Other times, if I just read through some of my ideas or a half-written short story, an idea will spark that will get me moving. Good luck!

  6. Joelene

    The internet is my evil distraction. Emails, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, movie reviews, heck I’ll even peruse the Weather Channel to avoid writing. Not so much TV. Maybe a movie once in a while, but mostly, it’s this idea we have to “social network” and “promote” a following that is messing with writing time. On my write-in days, I have to keep a timer (in the drawer because the bell scares me) so I don’t leave my manuscript until the buzzer sounds. Then I’m allowed 15 minutes to doddle cyberspace or acknowledge my husband’s presence, then its back to the story for another 30 minutes. If I don’t regiment myself, I’d never finish. I need NaNoWrimo all year. Later girl. (Get writing…)

  7. KylieQ

    Clancy, it seems a lot of us are in the same place at the moment. I’d be interested to see an update from you in a week or so to let us know what progress you have made in pushing through. I think writing is a lot like going to the gym. We make excuses because going to the gym is horrid and boring and it makes us sweat and swear but we feel so much better afterwards. Tell me that isn’t just like writing!

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