Writing avoidance strategies


1. Organize blog categories

2. Rename obtuse categories

3. Look up “obtuse” in dictionary

4. Look up “unclear” in thesaurus

5. Rename obscure, or vague, or indistinct categories

6. Scan through previous posts

7. Clear off desk. Put dictionary and thesaurus away

8. Walk to window to check the weather

9. Create list of possible new categories

10. Go to kitchen to rewarm previously-hot-now-cold tea

11. Look at blog web stats to see if anyone cares

12. It doesn’t matter. Write for yourself

13. Create list of blog ideas

14. Reduce categories to three: “white, black, everything else”

15. Straighten out cords that cross over each other and loop across desk from the computer to the wall

16. Get up and find sticky-back velcro

17. Attach strap of velcro under desk and neatly organize and contain cords through it

18. Check e-mail to see if anyone has commented on a blog

19. Re-categorize old blogs into “white, black and everything else” and update

20. Re-create original categories, re-categorize blogs and update

21. Create self-blog-evaluation categories: gold nuggets, silver nuggets and gravel

22. Make list of all imperative things to do before I write

Oops. Out of time. More tomorrow.

Rule #1 on writing — do it

So far I’m doing a better job of creating categories than writing posts. But today’s post makes five for five on this post-a-day 2011 challenge I signed up for when I started my blog.  No, I couldn’t just sign up for the blog; dabble around for a few days; put up a post; wait about a week; try again.

When you go swimming do you like to gradually get used to the water? First you feel the temperature with your toe. Then you descend the first step, then another until you slowly make it to the bottom where you stand a while shivering and using your hands to splash water over your arms. Then  finally, you either decide to go all the way under, or you turn and retreat.

Or do you like to jump right in?

I’m jumping in.

It’s interesting to note, although somewhat redundant and therefore boring to read, that many if not most or even all writers struggle with the sitting-down-to-put-words-on-the-page part of writing. The single most often repeated advice on writing that I’ve read is, “Sit your butt down in front of your typewriter and stay there. Every day.” (I know typewriters are a thing of the past, but don’t you agree that the idea of one adds a bit of nostalgia and romance to the vision. I mean, let’s face it, I could sit in front of my computer and do any number of things including play Bejeweled or Spider Solitaire and it wouldn’t do a thing to advance my writing ability or projects.)

The other piece of advice that I find somewhat mystical and therefore compelling is “Just show up at the keyboard and then get out of the way.” I mean, really? How can I write without thinking about what I am going to write?

But here’s the thing that convinces me the most about the credibility of this advice: some of the best sentences, paragraphs, stories I’ve written have shown up in my head when I wake up in the morning, or occasionally in the middle of the night. They aren’t anything I’ve necessarily intended to write, or contemplated how to word. Just bam. There they are in my head in the morning. I’m always amazed when this happens. It’s like when I’m sleeping my brain says, “Finally, she’s out of the way and I can get to work here.”

That’s it. Surely you can’t expect brilliance everyday. Think of it as gold mining. You have to throw away an awful lot of gravel.


A new start with clean house

I’m not entirely certain I can bear up to the pressure of a first post. What to say? How much?

Here’s something important: I promise to keep my posts short. Those of you who know me well will realize how short-lived this promise will be.

Otherwise, I suppose the sky’s the limit. Random thoughts. See above.

I’m going to just pretend I have readers. Mom are you out there?

That’s pretty short.

Oh. And here’s Arthur. The wild white dog eating snow.