Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Three Daunting Ps

At my local RWA chapter’s Christmas party last month (yes, it was only last month), the book exchange was a mixed blessing for me. One of my colleagues received a book he had read and kept a copy of, so he gave me the book and offered to trade with the one I chose. He already had and read that one too.

The first one he rejected is the one that is the subject of this piece.



January is the time of year we pressure ourselves to make changes. So, when I finished reading The War of Art I was in the right frame of mind to take on the premise that Steven Pressfield eloquently presents.

With due diligence, I set my goals and leapt into the new year (which also happens to be a Leap Year but no pun intended there) with renewed determination. Pressfield’s major premise is that we are at war with ourselves in the form of resistance to our creative goals.
I think we can all raise our hands when we’re honest about how easily we slip into some self-defeating behaviors.

Chief among my self-sabotaging activity is Procrastination. I have another name for it: Displacement Activity. I use those two words as a Category on one of my blogs to disguise the truth behind them. There are ways and ways to NOT write. Blogging is just one. Some call it a necessary marketing/promoting/branding effort. As may be, but it is also a substitute for “real writing”. While I’m blogging, I am satisfying that niggling drive to put words together.

Another of my “resistance” efforts is to Prioritize. This always sounds as though I’m truly setting forth on a planned mission but the items on the list of Things To Do aren’t always about what is necessary to do for my work: writing. I prioritize interesting activities that I can excuse as creative or enhancing my creative drive, freeing my creative brain cells, structuring my creative efforts to be more efficient.  

And there is always Planning which brings me to the second book of the Secret Book Elf tome I have read over the past few days, K M Weiland’s outling your NOVEL: Map Your Way to Success. In all my writing life, I have never “planned” a book. I’m one of those: “put some words on the page and see what happens next” writers. But I see Weiland’s point and questioned myself about my “process” (another P but not as daunting). The other P word that is used for those of us who “see what happens” is Pantsers – flying by the seat of your pants – I prefer the O word that Ian McEwan calls his “process”: Organic.


I attended many business seminars in another life. We said it this way: Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. We also had a different set of daunting Ps but the messages are the same: Get to Work and Don’t Give Up.

14 comments:

  1. Hi Leigh--
    Those sound like interesting books. I'll have to check them out. I like the word, prioritize. That's something I could do more often.
    Victoria--

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    1. I'm not very good at prioritizing but procrastination...

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  2. I'm inspired - to get my business plan for the year documented. It's a fluid thing, my business plan, slippery, like an eel. (Hmmm. What to do when you procrastinate about writing "the plan"? I'm in trouble.)

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    1. The quilt I'm making seems more compelling...

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  3. I procrastinate like crazy wish I could cure myself of that. The outlining book looks interesting. I don't plan much either. Maybe that book would help. But you have to admit. Sometimes your characters tell you where they want to go

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    1. Absolutely. Honestly, I tried to outline... my characters refused to cooperate. I'm with Ian McEwan: he begins a story and if it grows, he's committed. Some of the points in Weiland's book about calendars and itemizing are useful to outliners and organics.

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  4. Anyone will agree with your points about procrastination, but if you're a writer, your points really hit home. Here it is the end of January and, except for my C & C blog, I haven't written a word. Thanks for reminding me to do something creative!

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    1. I missed most of December and forgot all about my C&C blog commitment for that month. Shame-faced! Since writing this blog, I've been a classic procrastinator! Back to work.

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  5. Excellent list to become more Productive. Tee-hee!

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  6. Lots of good advice here, Leigh. My fourth P? Pie-in-the-sky dreams about how great my book is going to be when I get it written.

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    1. Not Pie-in-the-sky at all, Sandy. If we don't have big dreams, we aren't aiming high enough! Get to work!

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  7. I see I'm not the only one who has created tactics which delay getting back to writing the book. Your post was a helpful reminder.

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    1. We are probably among very good company with that, Deborah!

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