Thursday, 2 January 2014

Writing as an excuse to avoid writing

I'm thinking of writing competitions, 'flash-fiction,' Creative Writing Courses, Creative Writing Groups, even the writing of blogs. But while you're doing a short story for a competition, for instance, or a writing exercise for your Creative Writing Group, you are not writing your novel. It's a way of avoiding writing.

So what are you achieving with all of these activities that involve the setting of words to paper (or screen)? Well, you can say that you're practising. You are improving your technical expertise. You are meeting and making friends with people who share your tastes. You are assembling a 'resume'  of writing, the better to find an agent or a publisher. That last one is insidious as many agents ask for a 'resume.' A few wins in short story competitions or short articles accepted for publication in a magazine might just play a part in at least getting your manuscript looked at.  

Maybe. And these are all of value. But don't put it off forever. Writing an original, coherent full-sized novel is a lot of hard work. It is far more difficult to remain focused with a novel than maybe a 5,000 word short story for a competition, or maybe for a Writing Group - 'a 200 word exercise that demonstrates expertise in description.' 

No-one ever wrote a book while they're spending time doing 'pieces' for writing competitions, magazine, blogs...


Actually, I'll finish now. I have to go write a book...


  1. It's true--I consider the thousands upon thousands of words that go into writing for blog posts, emails and even in forums to be important in developing my overall craft. And those words sure are a lot easier to get to than the "real" writing. :)

  2. Hi Marj, you're right. Since I started the MeTime blog ( to support my book, and then characterfulwriter to show I was a serious writer too, all my novels have got seriously delayed. You can't be everywhere. Off to restructure a novel now!

  3. I feel better after reading this :)