Thursday, May 18, 2006

Avoid Writing in 26 Easy Steps*

1. Have lots of houseguests.

2. When houseguests leave, decide you deserve a day or two spent just sitting around doing nothing.

3. Decide to cook an elaborate meal.

4. Decide you're going to have this one totally mapped out before you start, so you can write it quickly.

5. Decide just writing it all out in your notebook isn't good enough.

6. Decide you need notecards to write each scene on, and you can then rearrange them as needed.

7. Go to three different stores looking for notecards.

8. Decide you need colored notecards, not plain white.

9. Spend half an hour deciding what color-coding you're going to use.

10. Start writing scenes on the cards.

11. Get distracted by TV.

12. Put the cards up, because the baby wants your pen.

13. Get great new idea for hero's motivation. Scrap all notes and start again.

14. Decide you deserve break. Shop on internet for things you won't buy.

15. Get cards back out. Wonder if this card thing is actually such a good idea. What if one gets lost?

16. You really need to rewrite synopsis in notebook to match notecards. Two copies is extra security.

17. Some scenes include both blue for emotional development, and green for straight action like conversations. Which color do you use? Ponder that for a few hours.

18. Decide to put a note on blue card to go with the green card.

19. Check to see when the yellow cards for big action fall in the book.

20. Check to make sure there's enough pink cards for sexy moments.

21. Reread notebook to make sure story makes sense, because it looks weird written out on cards.

22. Catch up on emails.

23. Remember it's been a while since you've updated your blog. You used to do it every day. Better get cracking.

24. Realize you've forgotten three or four great blog ideas you had.

25. Get out notecards. Decide to write blog ideas on them from now on.

26. Blog.

27. Get the notecards back out.

28. Put them away. You need to update the music on your iPod.

29. You also need to download some cds into the computer.

30. Oh! Time for another little break.

*Actual steps may vary. I haven't quite finished avoiding the new work yet.

How do you avoid getting started? I love writing. I just hate writing first chapters.


Jenna Howard said...

Oooh I've done the note card thing. I now have index cards in every color - including the fluorescent ones.

I concur with everything on this fabulous list. Procrastination...ain't it great?

S. W. Vaughn said...

ROFL! You're good even when writing blog posts... I can see you wandering and shopping and pondering and very deliberatly not writing.

Yep, I've done it all and then some. But I do have a favorite way of starting a new chapter one:

-Sit down at computer
-Get up and go to the kitchen because you forgot the coffee
-Sit back down at the computer
-Check e-mail "real quick"
-Get sidetracked reading blogs
-Remember you were going to write a first chapter
-Check e-mail "just one more time" and see a new comment posted to your blog
-Reply to the comment. Check commenter's blog
-Firmly close Internet Explorer with a really hard click
-Open Microsoft Word.
-Center and type title of book (or "Work in Progress" if no title has yet been ascribed)
-Hit Enter, type name
-Type "Chapter One"
-Stare at blinking cursor
-Type "I am about to write the worst piece of crap ever to aspire to novel-hood."
-Get angry, start writing first chapter

Carrie said...

So funny that you blog about this now - I was just going through the same thing with the notecards! For me I always spend more time figuring out if I want to color code and if so with what colors etc. It's the same reason I never outlined in school: I spent WAY too much time on the formatting of the outline than on the substance.

December Quinn said...

That's exactly what I'm doing, Carrie. I'm focusing so much on getting everything organized and planned out I'm not actually doing any writing.

I like your method, SW. I usually try to type something optimistic, but inside I'm thinking, "I'm about to write the crappiest crap novel in the history of crap." (Although that's actually one of my secret dreams. I'll blog about that another time.)

Yep, Jenna, and I have a new method of procrastination, too! I buy books! I've been wondering why I'm suddenly a voracious reader again-like, 2 books a day instead of my usual one every other day. It's cuz I don't wanna work! :-)

Bernita said...

I remind myself of all the house and garden work I haven't done.
Works perfectly.

December Quinn said...

Yep, Bernita. I find that does it for me too.