Monday, August 17, 2009

The Avoidance Trap



I have this little writing problem. Okay, it’s a big problem. I call it AVOIDANCE. You see, I find myself stuck in the planning stages of my writing projects quite a bit. I hide there, because it is safe and enjoyable. It doesn’t require blood, sweat, and tears. I don’t have to force myself to do it. Those planning stages are fun. They come with a rush, like those first few months of falling in love.

But the hard work looms ever closer. So I find myself twiddling even more with plot, characters, goals, conflict, etc. If I’m honest, it’s because I’m afraid. Of quite a lot of things, but mostly of failure. And mediocrity. So I avoid…

I’m not a lazy person. I work really hard in other areas. But usually those are areas where I can easily see the progress and the results come quickly. Not so with books. Even though I’ve gotten to the point where I can write much quicker than in the beginning, I would never term writing “quick” or “easy”. I don’t even want to talk about waiting for the results. :)

What’s really weird about this is that, once I get started, I enjoy the writing. Maybe it is just something about the blank page that stirs up the fear? Good thing I have writing scheduled for this week!!! My accountability partner will beat down my door if I don’t start showing some progress.

How about y’all? Is there a particular project or job you love to avoid? Any advice? I know, I know… Just Do It!

Angel

Coming Soon!
Check out author Kathie DeNosky on Wednesday, August 19th!

12 comments:

Paula R said...

Hi, I also fall into that trap too Angel. Actually, I am in the middle of it right now. The fear of failure is kicking my door in and I don't know which way to turn. I really need to buckle down though, but unlike you I don't have an accountability partner. I should probably get one. I am sure that I will beat fear back, I just hope that it is soon enough. I have a ms to get done, SOON.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Playground Monitor said...

I avoid ironing like the plague. I can hear you all screaming "Get Downy Wrinkle Release!" But that doesn't make things look as good as a hot iron. I try not to buy many things that require ironing, but the black and white capri pants I bought earlier this summer look so cute. ::grin:: I usually set up the ironing board in front of the TV and watch a movie while I iron.

Oh... writing. You want to know about writing. Y'all know how long it took to write the first book so I'm not the one to speak on that subject. But I did write a short story over the weekend and beat this morning's 10 AM deadline. I was aiming for 3400 words and the final product clocked in at just over 4200. Deadlines and the hint of money are great motivators. There are no assurances it will sell, but there's absolutely NO chance it will sell if I don't write it and submit.

Instigator said...

Me? An expert at avoidance? Yeah...well...um. I am the world's biggest procrastinator. If there's a task I'm not looking forward to I will put it off as long as I possibly can. Once I decide to get my butt in gear though I can move like the wind. But leading up to that point...

This was evidenced by the pile of papers on my desk before we moved. I had not filed for...I think ten months. I hate, hate, hate to file. It was so much easier to just let the papers sit on my desk. However, those papers are now in a basket. A bottom basket. I can only let them sit until they reach the top of my inbox. Which is where they are right now...

Instigator

Smarty Pants said...

I never have trouble starting a book. It's the sagging middle where I start considering home improvement projects to distract myself. I reach a point where I've pretty much painted myself into a corner and I have to give myself time to figure out the problem. (This can be an hour or 3 months.) When I'm pushing myself during a challenge, I skip over that scene and try to write the next one I can see and it usually helps me go back and write the bad one.

If it wasn't for manuscript avoidance, I might never dust.

Problem Child said...

I can avoid almost anything -- sometimes whether I want to or not. I managed to avoid the WIP this morning with an unscheduled trip to the doctor! Fun and joy...

Lynn Raye Harris said...

The biggest cure I've found for manuscript avoidance is a deadline breathing down my neck. The thought of breaking that contractually agreed upon date, of ruining my career before it ever begins, and disappointing my editor generally gets the words on screen even when I'm not thrilled with them.

It's best to figure it out now, btw, because as soon as you sell (and you will), you'll be working hard and fast toward deadlines too. Might as well learn to do it now before the real panic sets in. :)

Angel said...

Hugs, Paula. I'm right there with you, girl! I find having accountability partners really helps, unless we're all avoiding our wip at the same time. :) Then we hit the coffee shop. The nice thing is, we don't have to critique or have those kinds of commitments (unless we want to), we just have to post goals and hold each other accountable for meeting them.

LOL! Love the dusting comment, SP.

Angel

Paula R said...

Yeah, I really do need to find on then...and if we are all Avoiding, the coffee shop sounds like a great place to meet up and discuss...you never know what will come out of that...

Peace and love,
Paula R.

PM's Mother said...

Avoidance--procrastination--I am the world's greatest at this. In my working days I, too, found that deadlines and dollars produced the most results.

PM: You are your mother's daughter for sure. I despise ironing! Some years ago when I had a broken arm (and again when I had rotator cuff surgery (twice) I used the dry cleaners/laundry. That habit still hangs on for those few clothing items I have that require starch and ironing. I do without food to pay for this service ;-)

Gwynlyn MacKenzie said...

I do the same, sometimes by checking out friends' blogs! LOL

But I avoid editing. The writing comes easy---once I get the opening to my satisfaction---but tearing it apart and repairing it? Not so easy.

Ah, well. Our choice. Our angst.

Angel said...

You know, Gwynlyn, I used to love editing. Now I'm having a hard time with it too. Of course, if I knew I was editing to an editor's satisfaction...

Angel

Michele L. said...

Hi Angel,

When I worked full-time I had a high pressure job where I was constantly multi-tasking. When jobs came in that were huge, I always started off with smaller jobs first and then worked up to the big one. It always got me motivated, since I felt I got a big chunk of the necessary parts done first, then I worked my way into the big job.

I think it is one of those mind over matter things. I got pretty good at tackling my big jobs in a timely basis and wound up working faster because I knew I had a certain part of the job already done. Try this trick in your writing.

Break it out into different sections. Write the pieces you are really good at first. Maybe it is the opening paragraph, the meat of story, the action scenes, plotting the sequences, etc. Whatever you are the most talented at, try writing that first and then work your way into the parts that you don't like writing. You will find it won't seem like such a big battle when you break your story up into parts.

Did I hear moaning about editing? That is one thing I love to do is editing! I edit reviews for a romance book site. I guess I love a challenge. Am I weird or what?