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Sunday, June 12, 2011

AVOIDANCE--Let Me Count the Ways

Simply put, Avoidance is attempting to ignore the issue at hand. Psychologists may have reams—or saved documents—of essays expounding the details of the topic, but I can break this down into a few simple ideas.

Note that I don't speak for others; I am not a psychologist or a counselor. My claim is simply what I know.

Some "issues at hand" might fall into serious categories, but I'm only analyzing my life as I know it. Specifically, my writing life. Probably, we as adults have practiced some form of Avoidance our entire lives, but when I began writing, I became a master.

My expertise on Avoidance has increased via the internet. Yes, I have discovered Yahoo discussion loops, Ning groups, FB, Twitter, instant messaging, my blog, other blogs, quick free reads, contests, chats, forums, Goodreads, and many new friends I can't ignore.
Can I?

Editing falls under the category of an "issue at hand." Actually, the editing process is rather satisfying, for I like to clean up a manuscript. I do not like spelling errors in my books, repeated phrases, POV shifts, unnecessary tags, or useless phrases. However, after the third or fourth round I begin to despise my own story that once held me spellbound by its sheer brilliance. In this case, I Avoid the document with all those colored balloons my editor and I have hashed over, and take a detour onto the internet.

Writing a synopsis is a huge "issue at hand." I may never submit another manuscript because of that dreaded three-page document. Talk about Avoid—I choose to do laundry, scrub the bathroom, or sweep the driveway in 100 degree heat instead of directly confronting the task.

Formatting is about as exciting as watching grass grow—or in the case of my dry yard…die. I have more documents with formatting rules than I can count. Let's see, I have five publishers, so that would be five different sets. All have some things in common, but not one of them is the same.
Self-editing also falls into this category.

I keep a notepad to the left of my computer. There, I have neat lists of tasks to perform concerning my writing life. One list covers a month, another a week, and one for the day. As a rule, I am organized and like to check tasks off a list. But there are days when boredom, malaise, or a novel I'd rather read pulls me away from my desk.


Why am I writing this blog this Sunday afternoon? Avoiding those nasty little items on my list. Aha! It's almost five o'clock, time to think about dinner, bathe, put on my jammies, and get ready for the NBA finals. I can't work anymore today—I have too many other things to do.



Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
http://www.celiayeary.blogspot.com/
http://www.celiayeary.com/
http://sweetheartsofthewest.blogspot.com/

27 comments:

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Celia,
I really liked your thinking here. Excellent points for someone trying to avoid the terrible "list." You and I will have to sign up for Avoidance Anonymous. What am I doing over here reading your blog??? Avoiding editing another manuscript. LOL
Enjoy the game!

Jennifer Wilck said...

Love it! Facebook is my number one weapon of avoidance. I knew I shouldn't have put the Internet on my laptop!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I guess I'm in your club. My avoidance mechanism is to yak it up on the net instead of woring on my WIP. I took a huge step forward and a big chance by giving up co-ownership of a group so that I could focus on my writing.
Great blog, Celia.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Wait, why am I reading this on Sunday afternoon? Oh, yeah, you already mentioned that.....

Celia Yeary said...

Rebecca--see? Avoiding the real work. Ah, well, as I say, we all do it. It's a human condition, very difficult to stay on task. Maybe we're all a bit ADHD. Celia

Celia Yeary said...

JENNIFER--But we must stay connected. It just becomes a problem when we use it to avoid our goals. But...often I've found it somehow enregizes me and then I can get back to the real task. Celia

Celia Yeary said...

SARAH--wow, me, too. We dissolved a Yahoo loop called The Book Spa because it was eating up our time-two of us. We did it for two years and man, I loved every minute. Then I knew it was detrimental to my own writing.
But when we killed it, we had Spa withdrawal symptoms, so we set up a new Yahoo loop just for any of our members who wanted to stay connected forever...sort of. We ended up with 14, and we're all close still, and email once a week to "check in." Celia

Celia Yeary said...

CAROLINE--hahaha. See? We're all alike. Celia

Vonnie Davis said...

My avoidance issues runs the other way. I write to the exlusion of other things. When the cat jumps up on my lap and bats my cheek with his paw, I know it's past his feeding time. When Calvin walks through the house eating out of a tub of yogurt, I know it's time to fix supper. Thank goodness he empties the dishwasher and runs the vacuum every day. I don't even mind writing a synopsis; that's not to say I write a good one, now, but I enjoy doing that, too. Yeah, I'm wierd that way... Great post!

Paula Martin said...

Oh, how I can relate to everything you've said, Celia! During the April A-Z Challenge, I wrote a blog about this topic, when I decided that time-wasting/procrastination/avoidance (all the same thing really) was definitely an area where I am a real expert!
Check it out - April 23 at paulamartinpotpourri.blogspot.com

Miss Mae said...

Hee hee, add my name to this list, Celia! You must've had a camera plugged in to my room to catch me at this Avoidance thing -- again! LOL

liana laverentz said...

Delightful post, Celia! I think we all suffer from Avoidance issues at one time or another. Sometimes called procrastination...which I am guilty of right now!

StephB said...

Celia, seems we have the same avoidance issues. *wink* That's also why the dirty George Forman grill has been on the countertop since Friday. I've been avoiding cleaning my husband's mess.

Smiles
Steph

Mona Risk said...

Celia--I think you're talking about me too. I should be home answering what must have reached 1200 emails by now. I should be promoting my Rx in Russian released last month and my Egyptian mythology book coming out in a week, and I am away, gloriously AVOIDING everything. The problem is that all this avoidance creates a lot of stress on the long run. So I better enjoy my avoidance. I'll be home in two days ready for the work to collapse on my head. Meanwhile AVOID and have fun.
www.monarisk.blogspot.com

Celia Yeary said...

VONNIE--I understand that, too! When I do work, specifically writing, I zone out and a bomb could go off and I might not hear it. It's all those other tedious things. Thanks for you comment. Celia

Celia Yeary said...

Hey, Paula! Yep, they're all the same thing. You know, when I was younger and teaching school, I always got right to any job or task--sort of obessed. Not so now. I guess I don't feel that same urgency to get so much done in a specific time. Celia

Celia Yeary said...

MISS MAE--I guess we're all clones!Why work when there's so many things out there much more interesting? Two of a kind....of course I can see your desk. Celia

Celia Yeary said...

LIANA--I guess I'm contributing to everyone's pitiful habit, the same that I have! Celia

Celia Yeary said...

Steph--a dirty George Forman Grill? I don't blame you for putting that off! Celia

Celia Yeary said...

Well, Mona, you're doing the Avoiding thing the right way! Oh, how I wish I were with you. All that stuff and home? It'll wait--it'll still be there. Celia

Linda Swift said...

Celia, I'm trying again. But to take your advice about keeping signed in or not, I haven't found a place to check that yet. Anyway, great article. I'm a creative procrastinator my self. Linda

Celia Yeary said...

Thanks for trying--I'll explain it to you later. I like "creative procrastinator." Celia

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Celia,
I get an A in the subject of Avoidance. I have times when I'm absolutely fearless and can tackle anything. Then there are other days where checking for typos puts me in a headspin.

I'm always amazed at how clean my house gets when I'm in major avoidance mode.

I've got a synopsis to write by July 1. Its out there on the horizon like a summer storm waiting to come ashore. Meanwhile, I'm trying not to think about it.

Maggie

Celia Yeary said...

Maggie--don't you just hate those synopses? I actually read someone to say she liked to write them. Huh??? From the very beginning in my writing life, the synopsis threw me. Finally I found a download on the Harlequin site which gave the synopsis in 1-2-3 steps, written in everyday, simple language, and they asked for no more than two pages--maybe one. I thought...if this is good enough for Harlequin, it's good enough for everyone else. I've sort of stuck with it, and have never had an editor to say it was awful. Celia

Laurean Brooks said...

Celia, great post as usual.

I so despise editing and numerous revisions, especially after the 8th or 9th thru-the-complete- manuscript edits like I did with my first book. That doesn't include the edits the publisher threw at me. Arggh!

My biggest dilemma is the partial manuscripts on the back burner--the ones I started to be ebooks but the characters demanded a full length. Here they lie, waiting to be revised to make an 80,000 word book.

But I must admit to LOVING to write synopsis. Anyone want me to write theirs? Did I just say that? LOL. Does this mean I should stick to short stories--ones I can complete?

Celia Yeary said...

Hi, Laurean--glad you're back. Don't you begin to hate your own ms after so many edits. Ugh.
I can't say I've ever met anyone who liked to write synopses--Hmmm, I'll have a ms ready soon, but no synopsis. I wonder who I know that loves to write them?
This may mean, yes, that you might be a good short story author, or it might mean that you're just good at condensing things to a shorter version. A talent.
Thanks--Celia
Celia

Dac said...

And there it is - the dreaded synopsis. I thought that, once published, I could forget the synopsis. Not so! I still have requests for the big bad S. I've never written a synopsis I like. Why is it so hard??