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.