Disturbing the Universe

David L Clements, science and science fiction

Avoidance Strategies


One thing I often hear from writers is discussion of novel avoidance strategies. These are the things you do when you ought to be working on The Novel In Progress.

I had a good blast on my own over christmas last year, giving it a thorough once over, tightening some things, and coming up with ideas for what needs to be rewritten. I even started to put those into practice early this year.

Then work happened and things slowed down.

At the same time I was getting rather worried that I hadn’t been writing, or at least finishing, many shorts recently. In fact, it’s been quite some time since I sold any shorts at all, and my last sale was in fact non-fiction rather than fiction (to the excellent Rocket Science anthology, which includes both fiction and non-fiction).

So I went back to writing shorts, aided and abetted by the competitions in Arc magazine, which provided some useful deadlines and inspirational seeds. I have yet to sell anything to them, but I have got a number of new and, I think, marketable shorts that are out there, looking for buyers.

But I haven’t got anywhere further with the novel, and we’re now another several months downstream. I begin to see why it is that first novels are often described as taking years to write.

And of course now I have decided to keep this blog more active, and thus have a whole new avoidance strategy for not only novel writing but short story writing as well.

So now I leave you, gentle reader, to return to the story mines.


Author: davecl

Astronomy, science, science fiction

2 thoughts on “Avoidance Strategies

  1. I didn’t start fropm the beginning – I already had 10,000 words in the pot, but I’ve been pacing myself alongside NNoWriMo this month to add more wordcount to the Work in Progress, but though I have progressed – and quite respectably – I have not kept up the NaNo pace which is aiming for 50,000 words in a month. Today is day 24/30 and I’ve only just topped the 25,000 word point in november (35,000 in total). In my defence I have had seven days completely out of it this month – four days taken up with Northwrite and three days at Novacon, however I can also admit to some writing avoidance tactics – answering this blog post is one of them. Unless I do some serious slogging over the weekend I’m not going to make it this year. I have done NaNo and ‘won’ twice before, but this is a children’s book and because of changes i made to the beguinning there’s much to be considered at each stage. I’m finding I can write a couple of short scenes in a sitting, but then I need to let it digest. Still, I am writng most days, even if it’s only a 700 word scene. I’m only aiming for a finished length of 50 – 60,000 so I’m more than halfway there, now.

    In the rasfc newsgroup we used to call avoidance strategies ‘cat vacuuming’ – i.e. when you’ve done all the washing up and sorted out your sock drawer if you really need an urgent job to do in order to avoid writing, you can vacuum the cat.

    • Glad (sorry?) to be contributing to your own avoidance strategies!

      I’ve done, and won, NaNoWriMo once – and nobody is going to be allowed to see those 50000 words! But it was a useful throat clearing exercise.

      November is not a good month for me, writing-wise, as it’s when teaching for me kicks off at the moment. I suspect it’s not a good month for a lot of people as we all agreed about this at my writing group last week. We did think that january might be a better month for it, since the dark, grey, cold days do tend to drag on and on.

      We might thus be instituting Jano-ReWriMo this year!

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