Things we do Rather Than Write

I wrote a post a little while back detailing the very specific reasons I struggled to find time to sit down and write. This post will be more general.

So you’re a writer, right? But you often find yourself scrambling to find something else to do other than write. Why? Because we’re a weird bunch and writing is so much more difficult than non-writers realize. But I’ll save what I think about the lack of respect writers get for another day. But back to the here and now. Let’s talk about some of the things we throw ourselves into to get out of writing.

Reading

This is probably the easiest and most obvious on the list. I mean, we’re all readers too. And we were all reading long before we’d ever put down a single word of our own writing on paper. Maybe you just picked up your favorite author’s newest release and it’s just too good to step away from. That’s not so bad, unless you’re forcing yourself to read because you’re trying your absolute best not to get any writing done. Still, I think this is one of the few valid reasons we can come up with not to write.

Social Life

Hmm. I mean, I guess. It’s Friday night and your favorite person just texted you to go out and do this or that. You think about ignoring the text because you’re not really in the mood until you realize that if you don’t do something that your manuscript will be staring you in the face the whole time you’re home. Either get the death stare from your writing or go out and perhaps have an okay time. We’ll likely go for the social festivities more times than not. Except for me, I don’t ever go out. And I still don’t write as often as I’d like. Go figure.

School Work

I’ve come to realize that there are A LOT of college students who are also writers. I could probably name five or ten off the top of my head right now. But let’s be real, when do you EVER put school work over something else? You don’t. Remember I was a college kid too not very long ago. And guess what I did for every paper I wrote my last two years of school? I wrote them the night before. So don’t sit there and act like you’re all about getting your school work done early so you don’t have to worry about it come the due date, you’re not fooling anyone.

Employment

This is another of those valid reasons that many writers face. I honestly don’t know how people go to work for eight hours and then go home and get any kind of writing done. I work six hour days every Saturday and Sunday and I am dead in bed as soon as I walk in the door, You’ve seen the internet Vines or memes of the kids getting home from school and literally dropping their bodies onto their bed. Yeah, well that’s me after work. So all of you full-time workers who also manage to write, well I salute you. And I want your secrets.

TV/Social Media

I’m raising my hand for this one. Because I’m the worst when it comes to both of these things. You all may remember that I watch way too much TV. AND 24 just came back yesterday! OH MY GOODNESS THE FIRST EPISODE WAS SO GOOD. But anyway, if you’re a TV junkie like myself, then you’ve likely convinced yourself a time or ten that you’ll write after you watch the latest episode of your favorite show sitting there on your DVR awaiting playback. But then the episode is so good that you can’t possibly think of anything else for the next 24 hours after watching. It’s bad.

And then we have social media. Maybe some of my older readers aren’t as fond of this particular excuse as some of my younger readers. I have to admit that I am on WordPress or Twitter all day long. It’s horrible. I used to hate Twitter. But then I started talking to other writers and bloggers on there and now I like it okay. And WordPress, well it’s hard to have other bloggers coming back if they’re commenting and interacting on my posts and get no response from me. I mean, come on. I said I’m on Twitter all the time, and I am, but my blog is a thousand times more important to me. I don’t think y’all realize how much I love this thing. I’m naming my first born Pressly. See what I did there? Just kidding, that’d be a little looney.

Okay, so there you have a few of the things we do as writers in order to get out of writing. What do you think of my little list? Is there something you find yourself doing that is not listed? Tell me.

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91 thoughts on “Things we do Rather Than Write

  1. I am so glad reading counts as a valid reason! Yay!
    Regarding the school work: Yep. You definitely just called me out. πŸ™‚ Nice reminder, Sir.
    Also, your child name rocks. Hahaha!

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  2. I get horribly distracted by being lazy. After running around all day, I feel burned out. Then I get lazy… and I don’t write. πŸ™‚

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  3. I’m very lazy when it comes to writing my blog. You know, actually typing and all. Hahahah. I read, obviously. Watch a gazillion TV shows. and I sometimes bake cupcakes and cakes. Or I sleep. Hahahaha. Oh. But you’re right. Sometimes college keeps us busy- A LOT busy- with all the deadlines, and projects and papers. Gah.

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  4. Reading is definitely at the top for me. I love TV, but most of the time lately I will pick up a book instead. (I’m trying to read 4 books a month anyways)
    As far as social media goes, I use WordPress and Instagram but that’s it. I deleted my Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr because they were too distracting.

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  5. I think family is a good excuse too. The weekends are the only time I’m not working so I should be getting much more writing done than I do during the week, but as my husband is home I feel bad locking myself in my office and ignoring him. Those darn significant others, they are so demanding!

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  6. Employment is the big one for me. I spend anywhere from 40-50 hours a week in my classroom and at least another 10-15 lesson planning and grading. It’s ridiculous. I try to find little pockets of time here and there to write, but usually if I have any free time I read or sleep!

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    • That’s a TON of working. You deserve an award. I understand your need to sleep after all of that.

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      • Yup, but most the time it’s worth it. Sometimes I get to dabble in a little bit of creative writing in my lesson plans. My audience is primarily 8-years-old though so I’m trying to broaden my horizons a little.

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      • Hmm. I can’t remember how old I was when I learned to write something. Maybe….second grade? So seven, eight ish.

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      • That sounds about right. I like using storytelling to present content. There’s not really much room for creative writing in our curriculum (sadly) but I’ve tried to get them writing as much as possible – they’re very creative and not even the slightest bit self-conscious about what they write, which is kind of inspiring. They just write things because.

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      • I wish I could not be self conscious about my writing. I want to be eight again!

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  7. SO glad I’m not the only one who experiences this. It’s funny how we convince ourselves to procrastinate (I’m a college student so I almost laughed out loud at how true that one was!) One of the things I have the most trouble getting past is the guilt of writing … that might sound weird, but I have some health stuff that gives me limited energy. So when there are other things I haven’t done yet, writing just feels like an indulgence … slowly learning to get past that πŸ™‚

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  8. “So you’re a writer, right? But you often find yourself scrambling to find something else to do other than write. ” <— YES. ALL of the time. I couldn't agree more.

    "I honestly don’t know how people go to work for eight hours and then go home and get any kind of writing done." <—- I work 50 hour weeks and 10.5 hour days, i have NO clue how I ever wrote a book one. Honestly.

    Great article πŸ™‚

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  9. It’s SO good to read this post and realise I’m not the only one who avoids writing sometimes! Once I get into my writing it’s fine, but like you say it is work. I thought there might be something wrong with me as a writer because I often have to force myself to write. I thought I must be the only writer in the world who tried to avoid writing so often! Thank you again for helping me to see that I’m not that unusual!

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  10. I will sit down to write and suddenly realize that I forgot to take my puppy out for a potty break. Or my puppy needs water and food. Or my puppy needs a bath. My puppy needs play time…puppies are great for procrastination!!

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  11. I have to agree with one of the above commenters. I work 10+ hours a day, four days in a row. And two of those evenings after work are filled with other commitments, so I’m usually gone from 6-7ish a.m. to 10-11ish p.m. on work nights. My “days off” are spent at my second or third jobs, or writing feverishly, or babysitting my friend’s twin boys (16 months old and a handful!).

    Finding time to write is never easy, especially after a long day/week, when all I want to do is kick back and relax, dang it! And since writing takes so much brain work, it’s hard to sit and spend another day “at the office.”

    But I had knee surgery a year and a half ago, so I was off work for three months. I spent most of that time writing, and it helped me get into the habit. When I went back to work, I continued writing daily, even if it’s only a few sentences, or a paragraph or two.

    It’s like exercising every day – the creativity “muscle” can shrivel up if it’s not given a good workout on a regular basis. So, yeah, sometimes I don’t WANT to write, but I do it anyways.

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  12. All so true! Between two jobs and a kid it is tough to find the time. I have used all of these excuses. Reading is the worst because it is so easy to rationalize…naturally to be a better writer, I feel like I need to read everything! Once I get sucked into a book you may not see me again until it is finished. I have finals to grade this week (my second job) but when my son spends more time with his dad in the summer my plan is to schedule time to work on the novel. Time with the TV off, the phone on silent… my plan is to start with one hour…make myself write something, anything. If I get into a groove and write more..fantastic. If not, well it is an hour more than I wrote the week before. πŸ™‚

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  13. This entire post is genius. Scratch that, you’re a genius. πŸ™‚

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  14. I’ve had a full time job for a year, and I’m always exhausted. It’s so frustrating! I’m glad it’s not just me who can’t find time to write though. That makes me feel way better. πŸ™‚

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  15. What a great post. I can literally find anything to do to avoid writing even though I have a million and one ideas swimming in the back of my head! I will watch stupid videos, I will go out with friends or my sister, I will read, I will watch television, I will read blogs on how to start writing (ironic), and I will rearrange my room or online shop, it is horrible. I am going to write a to-do list so I can set goals for myself so I can force myself to feel miserable if I don’t reach my goals. I think it is the only way I can work.

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    • Hmm. You should get off WordPress right now and write! Really.

      But as far as the other stuff, sounds normal. Haha except rearranging your room. If you do that instead of writing then you have a serious problem. Haha. Writing goals don’t work for me, but if you think they will for you, then I say go for it.

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  16. Completely agree! Making yourself sit down and write is key but also in a world full of distractions it’s hard to do!

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  17. Pingback: I had a Dream Last Night… | Write me a book, John!

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