Diversionary Tactics


I’ve been there. It’s a popular place to be. But it’s kind of like diet popular or sagging pants popular – you don’t really want to be there and it isn’t comfortable at all. And yet, as writers (of anything), we flock to STUCK more often than we would like.

Magic Card: Diversionary TacticsThe biggest thing, I think, that we can do is to just walk away from the document for awhile. But sometimes that could be a long time and if you are like me, it can ache if you cannot write. So the advice I most often give is to try writing other things. Writing other, different things, can satisfy the writing itch while also, hopefully, jog the muse on the thing that is dwelling in STUCK. And you never know… maybe that different thing you write will be something pretty cool.

These are my other things:

Blog About My Obsession With the TV Show #BONES

I could be embarrassed that I love a TV show so much, and perhaps I am a little bit, but not enough to pretend that I am not overly involved with a FANDOM. Ha! I started hanging out on my friend Sarah’s blog, Bones Theory, where we overanalyze (and I mean really overanalyze) everything about the show, #BONES. (BTW, I write #BONES like that because I am also a Twitter fandom freak and hashtags are how you do things. It’s habit, now, and I will forever associate the name of that show with that visual printing of it.) Sarah invited me to write a guest post for the blog one day, and since then I guest-post there off and on and comment quite a bit.

What I enjoy most about writing those posts is that it gets me thinking about someone else’s fiction, which brings me back to thinking about my own fiction. Plus, it’s kind of like a book club – I just dig talking about fiction.

Write FanFiction

Here is where I could be really embarrassed if I wanted to be. But I am not. If you do not know what fanfiction is (which I did not know either, before last October), it is taking someone else’s published characters (of a novel, movie, TV show, etc) and writing your own story about them.

Some would argue that writing fanfiction can teach you a lot about writing. And, I suppose it can, but like anything else, it can only do that if you let it. I’m not really going to expound upon the potential values of writing fanfiction, because I really believe that the values are limited, overall. I think it is a lot of fun and I’ve seen a lot of talented writing within the genre, but I don’t really write it to directly become a better fiction writer.

I write it because it is an excellent distraction and challenges me to write something very different. I like to write a “case”, because that is part of the concept of the show. It allows me to write something different, but is still fiction, which can really help my creative juices start flowing again. It is an excellent writing exercise. Some of my fanfiction is decent, but I would never call it my best work because it really isn’t my own stuff. It’s #BONES’ creator Hart Hanson and his writing team’s stuff.

Write This Blog

Herein lies my most valuable different writing. THIS writing allows me to share with the world (as tiny as the audience is) my ideas, while writing at the same time. It is an outlet, but not like a journal. In other words, it still requires me to insert some thought and process. It is not like I brainstorm, outline, draft, and revise a blog post… but because it is public, it still keeps me accountable to a higher standard of writing while offering my 2 cents to the world at large. Additionally, it ensures that I am indeed writing… because even though a blog does not rate among the highest forms of writing, it does require, in my mind, a commitment. If it did not require this commitment, it should just be a journal, don’t you think?

Write Other Short Stories or Personal Memoir Pieces

Ha! Two things inspired me to write this particular blog post now, in particular. One was finally taking the time to read some of my nephew’s stories that he has posted on his own website (“Midnight Parchment” – check it out, I’m sure he’d love for you to stop by). He and many others write short stories, which I used to do ages and ages ago, and that definitely appeals to me. I’d love to start doing that kind of thing again, but I will admit that I’ve got nothing going. But truly, this kind of writing seems like the perfect diversionary tactic of all except…

…here’s the Kicker

The second motivation behind this post was that interestingly, all of this now leads me to my current position: diversions now feel like potential distractions. Why? Because I am on the express train to the end of the line with finishing my novel and I am so focused on this rail line ahead of me that to explore any other fiction makes me fearful that I will lose my way, that I will lose my momentum and start making too many stops; and I do not want to make any stops.

By the way, did y’all see how I did that? Made you think this post was about one thing, but in the end it was really just an excuse to tell you that I’m almost done with my WIP??? You can do that in a blog, you know.

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6 Responses to Diversionary Tactics

  1. Nayt says:

    Thanks for the plug, Janet! I feel your pain. In fact most of the stories I have up on my site are the results of distractions from my own novel, which unfortunately is nowhere near as close to completion as yours seems to be. But, I think you are right that sometimes you just need to leave a work alone for a while, give the characters time to gestate and figure out where they want to go next. It’s rough, but sometimes necessary.


  2. ‘It is not like I brainstorm, outline, draft, and revise a blog post” …Well we all now know you never really do this…not for a blog or anything else, silly.

    I’d like to have you discuss short stories at some point – whenever or not at all – it’s your preference. Why do people write them and who reads them? That sounded sort of blunt and it was not intended that way. I really am interested in hearing your POV on why people write them (or possible theories). And then as for reading them, is there a profile for the type of person who reads them? Since I am a slower reader, I feel like reading is a big investment of my time. I like the slower unraveling of a character and the relationship I develop with them as I read. A short takes too long FOR ME to read in one sitting (since I normally fall asleep after 2-3 pages of a novel) and a short story doesn’t offer the character development leading me to a relationship that I like and thus they are not as appealing to me. Just thought it would be nice to hear you expound upon that because, well, I’d like your opinion and I think you would offer some good insight. And besides, it is a good distraction!


    • ProfeJMarie (Janet) says:

      An excellent question… because there is another reason why “Write Other Short Stories or Personal Memoir Pieces” is crossed out. Ha! A future blog post is born…


  3. tantemary says:

    OK, I totally LOL’d on your #BONES comments since BT is where I first ‘met’ you 🙂 I think the idea of “walking away” often applies to more than just writing as an excellent technique to clear your head and restart, especially on creative projects. Very much enjoying your blog, Janet. Keep up the good work 🙂


  4. Pingback: Saturday Summation – 16 June 2012 | It'll All Work Out

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