Some tasks it’s easy to not do. I easily not murder people because I don’t feel any inclination to do so (usually). Writing is a different beast. I love writing. At least sort of. I’ve heard quotes along the lines of hating writing, but loving having written. The moment a story is finished isn’t my favorite part of writing. My favorite time is when I have an idea I love and I’m just about to start my project. There is so much potential in that moment. The story exists vividly in my head. I’ve written pieces I love, but never felt I fully transferred that vision in my head to paper.
This tends to cause me to stretch out that moment before the actual writing takes place, but I feel too guilty if I completely avoid the writing. I went to Catholic school as a child and developed quite a tendency for good old fashioned motivational guilt. I’ve learned to assuage this guilt and still avoid accomplishing writing. Here are my favorite ways to work on writing without writing.
Top Five Guilt Free Ways to Not Write
1. Research Your Story
This is the best way to go because it’s actually necessary. It can also easily end up leading to a journey into strange corners of the internet. For a fantasy piece I was writing I needed to research how far a person can travel on horseback in a day in order to come up with reasonable distances my character could travel. The question wasn’t as easy to answer as I hoped. I usually start my research with the laziest method possible and enter my question into google. I spent too much time on a trail started by a Yahoo! Answers. I learned about different amazing horse races that happen all over the world and ended up watching Hidalgo instead of accomplishing much writing, but I did eventually find the info I needed.
2. Research Writing
This is my go to way to avoid writing. I love reading about writing. I know I’ve done this quite a few times because I save most of my research on writing to Pinterest. Feel free to check out my writing board to prompt your own guilt free writing procrastination. Two of my favorites are the pin about Stephen King quotes on writing and Neil Gaiman’s writing rules. I love both authors. I also love Pinterest. You never know when you’ll come across information you might want later and Pinterest is a great place to save it.
3. Read Good Writing
As if I really need an excuse to read more books. I truly believe reading can improve your writing. There are different ways to interpret what constitutes “good” writing. What I believe is good writing doesn’t matter. Read what inspires you. Read to remember the magical power letters have when arranged in a pleasing manner.
4. Read Bad Writing
Bad writing helps me in two ways. First, it’s a good reminder of what not to do. Maybe the writing is bad because it’s sexist or lacking any sensible grammer. Notice what you don’t like and decide not to do it. The second way it helps me is by giving me a bit of an ego boost. Writing takes guts. If someone else can put bad work out their, I can share what I write. Heck, sometimes not so great writing even sells. I’m thinking Twilight here. What is the worst that can happen. You write something bad and people don’t like it. Who cares? You just disliked someone else’s writing and everyone is leaving the situation unscathed. Maybe you even learned a lesson or two.
5. Seek Inspiration
This is the easiest way. Do exactly what you would do on a normal day. Convince yourself that living life is the best way to gain inspiration for your writing. Those three hours of watching reality television in your pajamas could inspire the next great American (or whateverican) novel.
6… A bonus sixth option is writing a blog post about how you aren’t writing. At least there will be an end product.
What to you do when you don’t want to write but probably should be writing? I could always use more ideas.
If you decided to read this article after looking at the title then we probably suffer from a similar condition. The layman’s term for this condition is curiosity. Curiosity is very dangerous. I have it on good authority that curiosity is wanted on murder charges.
You deserve this terrible pun for reading my article despite the warning in the title. I didn’t create this image I believe it’s from this blog http://sillikat.tumblr.com/.
So far curiosity hasn’t murdered me, but it certainly causes me problems. Curiosity first became troubling in elementary school. Kids have especially cruel techniques for picking on each other and one of the most common is when a whole group is laughing about some inside joke and won’t share. Being the curious child I was, I always wanted to know. I never seemed to believe people if they told me I didn’t want to know something. Sometimes I should have. Other kids definitely told me things I wasn’t ready to know. Friend’s with older siblings seem to know the most. It was a bit traumatizing when I learned Santa wasn’t real and even more traumatizing when I learned what Shaggy was denying in “It Wasn’t Me.” I sang that song for weeks!
I wish I could ask my younger self what I thought this meant.
My issues with curiosity only worsened as I gained internet access. The internet is full of information I wish I didn’t know. Watching videos of the food industry turned me into a vegetarian (there are other factors, but that definitely played a large role). Just yesterday I clicked on an article about the worst ways people are executed. Why would I need to know this information? I don’t know. Still, I read it and it was gross. Ridiculously gross. You’re probably thinking how gross can it be. You’re thinking that because you have a problem. I’m an enabler so I’ll let you read it for yourself.
My relationship with curiosity isn’t solely mental abuse. There has been physical pain. My tongue suffers from curiosity and often thinks, “I wonder how hot this food or drink item I just heated up and made hot actually is.” Then I burn it. A burnt tongue is a miserable experience. Most of the time I don’t even register my tongue’s existence, but it sure is annoying when it’s in pain. I also may have jumped off a jungle gym with an umbrella because I was curios if I would float. I’m not admitting to doing that, but if I had it definitely hurt a lot.
Anyone an all knowing internet doctor with a cure for this awful disease? Right now I’m treating my case of curiosity with college, but that doesn’t seem to be helping.
There are a few caveats to my review of this show. I’ve only watched the first four episodes. I haven’t watched any of the other TV shows about women’s prisons. I do not have cable and this may have completely warped my sense of what is and isn’t good television but cable costs so much money! Okay, so now I’m going to tell you to do something. Watch Orange Is the New Black on Netflix.
The show is about an educated, juice cleansing, Mad Men watching women who gets sent to prison for a crime she committed ten years ago. It’s based on a book based on a true story. I usually read books before watching tv shows/movies, but I started the show before doing my proper research. If you’re a trailer person you can check it out here. Orange Is the New Black trailer.
The main reason I love this show is because it surprised me. Normally I watch TV and can predict what’s going to happen. That’s fine and comforting and makes me feel good about my skills of understanding foreshadowing, but it’s crazy boring. In my opinion from the first few episodes I’ve watched the episodes improve as it continues.
The other main reason I watch this show is for Laura Prepon. Laura played Donna in That 70’s Show. I adored that show as a teenager (and now). In Orange Is the New Black I get to see
Donna Laura (she’s always been Donna to me, but maybe this show will change that) in the role of lesbian drug lord. Which is awesome! Don’t worry that isn’t much of a spoiler, a lot comes out in the first episode and is obvious from trailers and the general internet hype over the show.
I don’t think this show will make you understand the prison system or give you a new lease on life. I do however believe it is a lot of fun to watch. That seems like what I want my television shows to do. Now I’m going to go watch another episode. Hopefully I won’t binge and finish them all. If you give it a chance let me know what you think.
P.S. Another good Netflix Original is House of Cards. It’s a sexier West Wing. Wow I watch too much TV…