How to Avoid Writing

by Marnie Lyn Adams

Person holding blank notebooks

Writing—or avoiding it—is a stressful business. The critical element to evade creative writing of any type—from a George R. R. Martin-length series to a haiku—is to maintain productive activity while neglecting your long-term writing goals.

However, with practice and a focus on diversionary tactics, you too can dodge writing each day for the remainder of your natural life.

Here are some relevant and practical strategies:

Announce your new self-imposed deadline. You will officially start work on your short story, treatise, or GAM (Great American Novel) on Monday. There is no need to share to which Monday you refer. National or bank holidays, such as President’s Day, automatically roll to the following week—no prior notice necessary.

Update all your contacts. Ask every friend, relative, neighbor, and work buddy to confirm their address, phone, birth date, birth weight, and zodiac sign. When each response comes in, send that contact a detailed, personalized reply to thank them for taking time out of their busy day.

Research your genre by binge-watching related media. For example, if you are writing romantic comedy, watch all ten seasons of Friends—as well as the finale. Horror writers should reference Supernatural, which aired for 15 seasons. Do not write a single word until each episode is analyzed, annotated, and absorbed.

Organize your home. Arrange your clothes by type, season, and color; nothing makes a morning happier than a rainbow closet alignment! Alphabetize your pantry, paying particular attention to your seasonings and canned goods. Bonus points available if you create a corresponding Excel inventory.

Update all your apps, drivers, and operating systems. Check for security fixes, add-ons (free and paid), and recommended apps from the same software company. Be thorough by updating all devices, including Roku, Xbox, and that old Blackberry you threw in the junk drawer.

Shop for your new writer’s retreat on Zillow. Search a variety of options, bedrooms, square feet, and waterfront properties. Adjust the price for potential seven-figure advances and colossal royalty checks. Input multiple variables in the mortgage calculator, including different down payments and length of loans.

Teach an old dog new tricks. Add on additional tricks or expand the agility course with each success. Search for old-dog-new-trick competitions in your area as well as ones which require extensive planning and preparation, e.g., auditions and overnight travel. Review local animal rescue sites to replace old dog with new one.

Start and manage a Facebook group for writers with time management issues. Post potential solutions to speed up the writing process, e.g., skip editing altogether, and ways to complain about lack of progress. Answer each comment with a lengthy diatribe of your own.

Send a questionnaire to your updated contact list. Ask what you should write next, including details such as genre, character names, plot twists, and surprise endings. Also, ask for volunteers to provide page-by-page input during the writing and revision process.

Reward yourself for a job well done. Eat that Chunky Monkey you’ve been saving for a rainy day. Crack open that 20-year-old Scotch you received for graduating with honors. Order that stuffed crust double pepperoni you’ve been craving. Avoidance is hard work.

Remember you have no need for doubt or misgivings: You stayed busy today. And there’s always tomorrow—or next Monday.

Category: Featured, Nonfiction, Tips and Advice