Are you a writer? If you are, you may understand the funk I’m in. I’m a writer, except that sometimes I don’t write. I do things related to writing, but they are not writing. They do not help the actual writing, in fact, they impede proper writing. They may be procrastination. They are probably self-imposed resistance. They are often lots of fun. But, sadly, they are not writing.
This list is intended to remind me of things I need to stop doing in order to write. Hope it helps you. It might help me, if I can actually admit that even writing this post is a way of avoiding writing. Sigh.
Things That Are Not Writing:
1. Checking the stats on my blog is not writing. Even if I do it fifty times a day and need to type in my username and password each time, that doesn’t count as writing. On any day.
2. Status updates on Facebook are not writing. Not even if I manage to make up 500 words doing several hundred status updates in a day. That, still, is not writing.
3. Reading other peoples Facebook status updates . A valid emotional outlet, but not writing.
4. Tweeting is not writing.
5. Visiting my favourite cafe for a caramelatte is not writing. Neither is anything pertaining to toasted banana bread.
6. Ducking out to scour half a dozen shops that sell the chattels of writing is not writing. No, it is NOT. Even if I buy empty journals, notebooks or implements for writing. This is an insidious trap, as the growing pile of unused writing materials on my desk reveals. Or might, if I admitted I have more empty pages to fill now than I have actual pages on which I’ve written.
7. Thinking about writing later isn’t writing. Writing ideas on random slips of paper only counts if we follow up. I know this, and despite knowing this, I’ve been known to write five words on an empty cigarette paper packet and congratulated myself on my hard work. That’s not writing. It’s a prelude to writing. It’s almost writing. It’s the writing we do before the actual writing.
8. Taking a long bath isn’t writing.
9. Reading a book isn’t writing.
10. Combining 8 and 9 still isn’t writing.
11. Checking my favourite writers blog to see what they’re writing isn’t writing.
12. Checking websites to see if they have published my articles isn’t writing.
13. Googling myself isn’t writing.
14. Playing games on my phone isn’t writing.
15. Checking my emails every single time one drops into my inbox is NOT writing, even if I reply. Those words don’t count as writing, any more than writing my name in the cover of the latest novel I bought to read to avoid writing is.
16. Looking at writing courses at the local community college isn’t writing.
17. Trawling through job websites when I already have a job is not bloody writing. It’s just not.
18. Playing with my dreadlocks, planning my next tattoo, or buying a book about writing online isn’t in any way, shape or form writing.
19. Eating snacks, drinking tea, rifling through the cupboard for more chocolate biscuits is not writing. Get over that right now.
20. And finally, leaving obnoxious and inflammatory comments on other peoples blogs and websites is never, ever, ever writing.
There’s no way around the writing. Not over, not under. Only through. One word after another, one sentence, paragraph, page and chapter. Let’s make up our minds nothing will get in the way of our doing the work, not any more. Get off your butt, my friend, and I’ll do the same, and let’s go do some writing.