Evasion Strategies. If you try to google the phrase, you get a whole lot of information about immunizations. And without spending too much time scrolling about, I didn’t see one reference for writers. Truth is, we’re probably better at evasion strategies than the latest string of the flu virus. Otherwise, wouldn’t we have written more than we have?
One of the first writing classes I took was through the UC Berkeley Extension Program with my first writing friend, Maria Howard (who’s participating in this march!). Our first assignment is one that I am giving to you now:
Write down a list of all of your evasion strategies. Refuse to let them be your excuses. Feel free to post them here and, if you want to take it a step further, share your suggested ways of defeating them.
For instance: I cannot write unless all the dishes (or the house) are clean. I cannot write because I need to walk the dog, or play with the cat, or handle my bird (that ones for you, Marisa!) I cannot write until I balance my checkbook, or until I check my email (that one is for me), or until I’ve read the paper, or planned for my class, and okay. So maybe you do have things you have to attend to. Like a baby. Or a class to teach. Or a job to go to. Whatever it is, the word on the street is that the more excuses you make, the easier it is to excuse yourself.
And as my friend Cathy Arellano said, “If you don’t put writing first it will always come last.” I’ll add to that by saying that the more you say that you “can’t,” the more you “won’t.” Until eventually, when you sit down to work, you no longer believe you are capable of anything.
One thought on “Just say Yes”
So, Sam, the thing you need to do is to turn that need to do x before you do y around. Rather than “I have to balance my checkbook before I can write,” Make it “I have to write before I can balance my checkbook.” I just totally made this up, but I guess there is some logic in it.
I’ve been trying all sorts of strategeries to stay focused. Getting up extra early seems to be working, though I still find myself having to check email or do schoolwork.