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Monday, 4 November 2013

3 Ways Not To Write

by Anne MacFarlane


Given that November is NANO, and I like to see myself as a person who dances to her own drummer (my daughter says this is a just a nice way of saying I’m weird) I thought I would share a few of my techniques for not writing.
1)                  Buy writing software.
This is a good one. Because you can pretend you’re writing, when actually you’re picking out your font and choosing pretty colours to tag scene cards and checking out YouTube videos because the how-to-manual makes no sense.  While you’re on YouTube, other interesting videos pop up on the sidebar, like Luke and Laura’s wedding video from General Hospital circa 1981.  Good inspiration for your romance novel so well worth watching. Right. Now. Of course, watching old videos always brings up the question, where are they now? A visit to IMDB is mandatory to find the answer– leading into my next reason not to write.
2)                  Developing Characters
All writers know that you can’t start a book without having your characters’ physical appearance set in your mind. We need to cast an actor to play that role. That’s a writing rule, isn’t it? This necessitates doing a search for images of Matt Bomer, shirtless Matt Bomer, men who look like Mat Bomer, men who have acted with Matt Bomer. A visit to IMDB is required to find out how tall Mat Bomer is (5' 11½") and when his next project is coming out (Space Station 76, 2014.) There will undoubtedly be a picture of other actors in that project that you haven’t heard of but may be suitable for one of your other half dozen projects you have mapped out but haven’t started yet. Leading to our next reason for ‘not writing but pretending we are.’
3)                  Plotting out Your Next Six Books
It takes you over a year to write a book. Since you’ve recently read a book about how to take your productivity from 200 words a day to 20,000, you’re convinced you will now turn into a prolific writer. You plan to have enough books to keep 3 series going, two publishers happy and your own indie publishing career chugging along. You need to spend time plotting out all these series and books, casting the characters (see #2 above) and creating your own spreadsheet (because the software bought in #1 doesn’t work with your “creative” process and, for me, creating a spreadsheet for any reason is awesome) and setting up a Pinterest Board…ah!  Pinterest. Another great way to not write - darn, my “writing” alarm just signaled the end of my writing sprint.
I’ve used up all my time coming up with a topic for this blog, then writing the first three reasons and checking out how to spell Matt Bomer (getting sidetracked by pics of Henry Cavill) that I don’t have time to get to the other three – or chapter 3 of my WIP. Not a problem. I’ll just put this in my pile of unfinished projects that I know I’ll get to, just as soon as I print out pictures of Matt Bomer to glue onto my story collage…

           






Anne MacFarlane


14 comments:

  1. Loved this post, Anne! It's so easy to indulge our interests in the name of research. My special weakness is watching horse race replays and then the interviews with the jockey, trainer, owner and friends. It's much more fun than actual writing.

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  2. Bev, I can see how you could get sidetracked with horse races. So much fun to watch.

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  3. You've been looking in my window, haven't you, Anne? Yep, easily sidetracked (and I gave up on the writing program when, like you, I couldn't figure out the manual so went searching YouTube and got sidetracked by...ooh, squirrel!).

    Great list!!

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    1. Janet, I always think that something new and shiny is going to make writing easy. For some reason that never happens. LOL.

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  4. LOL! Anne, are you sure you shouldn't be writing humorous women's fiction?

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  5. Julia, you won't be surprised to know that I have a few of those plotted out. LOL.

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  6. Anne, you always make me smile with that special sense of humour you have. And, of course, you hit the nail(s) on the head with your list.

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  7. Too funny, Anne! Would it surprise you if I said I'm also guilty of doing these things? (LOL I'm betting no.)

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  8. Delightful, Anne! I don't use writing software or Pinterest, but am guilty of plotting future books when my WIP is still a WIP. :)

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    1. Magi, those books not yet tackled, always seem way more fun than the one we're struggling with, don't they?

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  9. Giggles and self-recognition the whole way through!

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  10. Heidi, just think what we could do if we could harness the energy we put into procrastination into our writing.

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