At first when I started to see the symptoms of avoidance, I attributed it to the difficulties peculiar to whatever manuscript I was working on at the time. “This one’s just more challenging,” I’d say. “It’s an adaptation instead of a new story.” Or, “It’s a new genre for me, a new length for me.” The list went on until recently, when I started another manuscript in a familiar genre, and the same thing happened.
For me, the avoidance kicks in when I’m in the plotting stage. (You seat-of-the-pants writers out there may not reach the avoidance stage until later on when you lose your grip on those pants and, in a weak moment, wish you’d planned out the ride.) I’m so excited about the prospect of starting a fresh story, but when I sit down to put the plot on paper, I don’t get far before I stall. The reasons are varied, but my response is always the same: I start to avoid working on the novel. After all, I only experience feelings of failure, frustration, or downright panic when I try to make progress, so isn’t it natural to stay away? The avoidance is subconscious at first, and I take a while to admit that avoidance is what I’m actually doing.
I may be the only person who has this impractical tendency. If I am, I give you leave to laugh at my idiosyncrasies, but in case there are other creative, crazy types like me out there, I’m going to give you a checklist of symptoms so you can figure out if you’ve fallen prey to Writer’s Avoidance. (Disclaimer: People with Writer’s Avoidance may not experience all of these symptoms or the symptoms may manifest themselves in alternate ways.)
- You start eating a lot more chocolate and taking more snack breaks when you’re working on your manuscript.
- Your house begins to look like a Better Homes and Gardens feature thanks to compulsive cleaning sprees.
- You keep checking the clock for the approach of the nearest mealtime.
- Those piles of papers and old mail disappear and get organized. (How could you ever be expected to write in such a chaotic environment? Organizing really could be considered necessary to facilitate your writing.)
- You eat more chocolate.
- Facebook and Twitter (or Pinterest) become your new best friends. (You’re only on there to market your books. It’s not a waste of time when you’re furthering your career, right?)
- You take up walking in the middle of your usual writing time. (You’ll feel more creative if you’re healthier!)
- You eat more chocolate.
- You check your phone every ten minutes. (Your agent could be trying to reach you or your smartphone could be trying to tell you about some essential writing-related tweet that you must retweet to your followers.)
- Yeah. More chocolate.
Any of these symptoms sound familiar? Please share! And join me next Tuesday to find out how we can end avoidance.
Angie here - what do YOU do to avoid writing? Is one of the above your favorite (like the ones involving chocolate)? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.
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Not all prisons have bars. Charlotte Davis should know—she’s lived in one for years. She can handle getting slapped around by her boyfriend, Tommy, and even being forced to do things she would never choose, but when Tommy turns on her 10-year-old daughter, Charlotte must try to escape. With nowhere else to turn, Charlotte runs to the stranger her dying mother believed would help her. Looking only for shelter or cash, Charlotte finds a family she longs to call her own and a gentle man she could learn to love. But if Tommy catches up with Charlotte, these strangers could discover the truth about her.
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Will they send her back to Tommy? Or can a Father’s love set her free?