Monday, March 05, 2007

Sabotage and subterfuge

I often despair about having no time to write, but I know it’s all a state of mind. I’m definitely one of those who enjoy “having written.”

One form of procrastination I partake in is taking on new projects such as freelance writing assignments and joining committees at my local United Way. I get so excited about them and they’re fun and satisfying, but they end up taking away the precious personal time I should be dedicating to my passion of writing fiction. I’m just a dichotomy of commitment and over-extension. The commitment side is the protagonist who loves writing and works hard towards hopefully being a published novelist one day. Then there’s the other side, the antagonist cajoling me, “You can do it. Take on more. Say yes.” He always makes me feel like I can do it all.

Well, I finally put my foot down. I’ve resigned from the UW and my most recent freelancing project. It was hard and I felt guilty, but it’s time for me to learn to say no and pay attention to MY list of priorities.

What subtle techniques do you use to avoid writing? What do you do to beat them?

18 comments:

Lynn said...

Good for you, Nienke!! Sometimes it's easy to give so much of yourself that there is nothing left for you. This used to happen to me, too. One of the things that keeps me from writing now, is that I sometimes procrastinate things and then I must 'clear the decks' before I feel that I deserve to write.

redchurch said...

Right now I'm cleaning out my office and re-organizing it. I find projects like this often sabotage my writing time, even though they shouldn't. I tend to think, "I should finish cleaning the office, then I can write." In reality though, there's nothing stopping me from writing.

Nienke said...

I often avoid writing or my going to my office because I feel guilty writing when there are chores to be done. Stupid rules our minds make, where do they come from?

Lynn said...

Yes, Nienke, these comments sound like we have made 'rules' for ourselves about what gives us the right to write. Maybe the rules come from things like 'business before pleasure' or 'work first and play later'. Do you think maybe we feel guilty because we enjoy writing?

Jason said...

Beat procrastination?

No seriously, I finally just force myself to write. It helps if I turn off the TV, the radio...and anything else that might distract me. Now...if I could just turn off the internet.

Pearl said...

I only have overt techniques for not writing. Like researching way beyond necessity to the exact point I want to know. I could read forever.

Pearl said...

Or research things off topic, like chocolate. ;)

Nienke said...

Yeah, thx for mentioning chocolate, AGAIN, Pearl.

strugglingwriter said...

I'm with you in the "enjoy having written camp".The internet is the biggest bane to my fiction writing. That, and television, though I have cut way down on that.

pepektheassassin said...

Nienke! I have missed you! (My fault for not coming more often, but I have not forgotten you, and, you have a whole new look! I like it).

It's lots more fun to be a writer than to be a wroter. (I am a wroter, but I hope to pull myself up a few notches back into the rare and delicate regions of writing). For the fun of it!

Spring is coming! Get down on your hands and knees and taste the grass!

Melissa Marsh said...

I used to just sit in front of the t.v. all day when we had cable. I wasted a lot of writing time doing that. The solution? We eliminated the cable. Now the only time I watch t.v. is Friday nights or a few movies over the weekend with the family.

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GhostRose said...

Gawd, the lengthes I have to go to to avoid writing is unbelievable! Today I cleared out my wardrobe, while on other days I decide to clean the house (while I am waiting for my new job to start in April). Mosatly I mess around on the internet or go out somewhere or read. Reading is definately my favourite because then I can pretend I'm researching how other people write when I'm actually doing it for my own enjoyment.

It's nice that other writers do the same thing.

KG said...

Like Melissa, we don't have cable TV, and it's the best choice we ever could have made.

When I procrastinate, I web-surf or watch music videos on YouTube.

How do I make myself stop? I remind myself how horrible I'll feel if I don't meet the writing goals I set for myself. And I do feel really horrible when I don't meet them, so this self-applied pressure works really well for me.

Dr. Bill Emener said...

I think everyone simply has to find their own way. Some writers I know write for x number of hours every day, at the same or similar time, yet others are like me -- a binge writer. I may not write for a week or more, and then something will click and I'll write for 10 hours a day for three straight days or for 14 hours a day over a three-day weekend. When I have tried to do otherwise, I either have to re-write it or it's simply junk.
I suppose the only way I could force myself or be forced by someone else to write would be if my name were Paul, I were being held captive and the main character's name was Misery.
Bill

desert rat said...

Thankfully I can say I'm a writer at the moment as opposed to a "wroter" (isn't that some kind of woodworking tool?). My desktop computer is awful for stealing my time though; along with the internet I have all sorts of other projects on the go. I really need to remember to use my laptop more often; all it's got on it is a very old version of both Windows and Word, and nothing else. Oh, and chocolate reminded me - baking is another good form of procrastination; but at least you can then use the cookies later as creativity fuel!

Sara Freeze said...

Hmmm, so many techniques to name, so little time. The biggest time waster for me is the Internet. I have a website, blog, and MySpace account and have joined a number of writing/romance groups, so, like you, I need to figure out ways to focus.

Tess said...

I blog hop, I blog, I look for new blogs to read... I've actually decided to blog in the evenings from now on. But that still won't help with my blog-hopping. Part of the reason I start off doing that every day is cause I have problems being creative first thing in the morning.

I also go to the gym or for a walk or run errands when I don't really need to. Ok, I ALWAYS need the exercise, but other than that...