Avoid Writing Something Important
you say. “Why would anyone need to avoid writing something important?”
“You’re kidding! Seriously?”
It may be strange, but we’ve all done it
at one time or another. Remember?
Subconsciously or not. Perhaps you have forgotten the avoidance
process. Let’s try it, just to remind ourselves how to avoid writing something important, and why it’s essential at times.
Sprawl in front of the computer screen, coffee handy, —with an amazingly good premise in mind (astoundingly good potential content) to write about, but let the mind go blank. Ready? Is the mind blank? —Remember, we’re pretending
You’re staring at that blinking, devilish cursor which has no intention of resolving the issue for you, dummy. You’re on your own. Think. Oh, it’s brain freeze. The old blah-blah curse of the writer. The blank screen. Writer’s block. Whatever you choose to call it, there is one common factor. Nothing happens. Nada. Zip.
Back in reality, the words are not forthcoming
, a puzzling contradiction, remember what we’re talking about, it’s a great premise,
but somehow —it just doesn’t work
. Everything else in your attic-garret-time/space-continuum is normal. The cat wants her ears scratched, the pups want out, it’s walking time, the coffee pot magically empties itself, and the great concept falls into limbo. Somehow, it fails to leave tracks on the screen or even on your mind. You find yourself grinding toothmarks on pencils.
So What’s the Problem?
Take five, —or an hour and five —and repeat.
Toss the notebook over your shoulder, grab the pooch’s leashes, and head out. Think.
Perhaps now you’re frustrated enough to abandon that great idea or content completely, but why?
We abandon ideas often
, and should not waste time second-guessing ourselves. After all, we reason, we’re writers. Creators, scribblers, those blessed with words
. We have insight and instinct. We're about to write famous last words. We have a whole package of clichés ready to plant? No. Excuses? No. Logic? ...perhaps.
How about a generous application of essential reality
instead? Yes. Think. Your avoidance mechanism is right on. Why? Consider these possibilities:
The eye-opener: It Was Not Great Content After All
Imagine that. Everyone out in the blogosphere has already
written about it. You’re late. We freely admit that. Yes, it was
super-important. You thought you had devised an original angle and got hyped. “I must do that!”
You shout from the dusty garret window. Really?
No. You hesitated. Just kidding, but just being honest with yourself can surprise
Oh, c’mon, you subconsciously already knew the subject was a breadcrumb trail left by the walking dead; your finely-honed writer's instinct was burning, you knew there was nothing genuine and original left to add to what’s already been said about it. Did you really want to make trail mix with the same stale, old ingredients? There is no new information to be tossed into the mix, no new flavour to be added, there are no
valuable words of discovery, no clever analysis? Luck is with you.
What’s the fix?
Fix it, get with it, create some genuinely new angles, —or be honest with yourself and move on.
As writers, we always have three choices with content; brave it and run with it, park it
for development, or pitch it
. Literally, into the recycle bin. Being brave doesn’t work if content is stale. Parking it on a dusty shelf without further work is unhelpful, it will just grow mould, —and you’ll likely forget the most important parts. Factoids can change. You don't want to look dumb with out-dated info, do you?
You finally sigh and pitch it. Congratulations, in fact, kudos. You have recognized it wasn’t such a great idea after all. You have avoided writing something "important".
Failure to Truly Inspire the Inner Writer
Everyone’s seen it. The subject matter is so trendy that
gasping and hyperventilating on the subject is apparent throughout the writing world. Has been for weeks. Everybody has written to the subject—everybody except you, that is, so you somehow feel obligated
to write about it. Big mistake.
You feel obligated to write something, anything
to fill that gnawing gap, fulfill that illusion
of making a contribution to a contemporary, important discussion. Hang on, if we stare at the screen long enough, we’ll get it.
Wait…and wait some more. The voices
“ We are not amused or even remotely interested in the subject, even though it is important
” we keep hearing vile whispers. The muse speaks louder.
“Why should we write about that, please don’t make us write that, we’re not writing about that.”
The cursor blinks menacingly, the dog howls eerily, the cat goes 4x4’ing up the curtains. ‘If only.’
What’s the fix? Pitch it
. No, not to your literary agent or muse again, with lies, crossed fingers and pretenses, but straight, yes, directly
into the trash can. What? Again? Yes. If you’re not fascinated, interested, and inspired by a topic immediately, don’t waste your time
Yes, but, no matter how earth-shattering and contemporary it may be,
let us differentiate between ‘important’
and important enough to inspire you personally
. Turn that brain-power on to something else. Something that inspires
. Something that matters.
Timing is Wrong
Timing is everything isn’t it? The greatest idea in the world is not interesting if the timing is all wrong. Stale tales almost guarantee forced writing, the hieroglyphics of the dull and lonely. Mind-numbing, deadly stuff.
What’s the fix?
Yes, some ideas are important, timely, or can even be timeless. Those may be successfully recycled upon occasion. Avoid ‘important’ unless old can be genuinely made new
. You have far better things to do than dabbling in hypothetically important content that frankly, is has-been, passé, also-ran boring, and unlikely to be an entertaining read.
It’s an official ‘ Writing Prompt’ so It Must Be Important.
Lately it seems trendy to use writing prompts
created by perky people sharing their proliferation of important, silken, prickly-precocious or promiscuous ideas as ‘writing prompts for the desperate
Wow, some might even be ‘important’, but using someone else’s ideas, no matter how important, is akin to resignation of the brain. Cracked the fountain in the cranium yet, or are you resigned forever to dull & easy prompts?
Not us, we’re the bold. We’re avoiding working on ‘important’ stuff.
What’s the fix?
Create your own “A-list” of writing prompts.
Significant ideas. Accumulate original ideas religiously. Make notes. Interestingly, you’ll eventually discover that some of them, too, may become mainstream and over-used becoming “important” enough to avoid. If you procrastinate too long. We smile and wink.
“You’re kidding!” Nope. I kid you not
. Avoid writing something ‘important’ today.
Is that Incoming I hear?
tags: writing life, content, successful writing, creative writing, blogging