Writing Excuses 7.14: What ever you do…don’t write

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Editor’s Note: This post has been written by Linda K. Strahl, an editor at the Jet Fuel Review. Her full bio can be found at the end of this post.

The podcast for this week is titled Why You Really Shouldn’t Write. The first reason, and I feel the best explanation for not writing, is the difficulty of the task. Howard states, “It’s hard, you really shouldn’t do hard things.” The list they deliver consists of the many ways our podcasters stall and refuse to write. The best justification occurred when they voiced that important truth, “Writing is pointless.” It is a useless pastime that should be ignored and not mulled over for years. A great example is Tolkien, who spent twenty years not writing! Since we all have to admit that we are not Tolkien, we should wait forty plus years to develop an epic fantasy story that really has no hope of being published.

Noticing the dust on your keyboard — and the necessity to clean and polish each individual key — is another must-do-to-avoid-writing task that Howard mentions. The group agrees that watching TV, TiVo, YouTube, commercials and even The Simpsons are tasks that a writer must do in order to not write. Mary also suggests taking cards and writing each word of your first sentence so that you can reorder them in a more original format that challenges preexisting works. Catching dyslexia is another obstacle that could interfere with your work rather well. It is recommended that you befriend many of these diseased people so that you may drink from their glasses and get sick with this highly contagious illness.

The process of not writing is a difficult and cumbersome challenge to take on. This is because we have that illogical urge to voice our opinions and imagination on the page. The group insists that this is an awful idea. Emily Dickinson is the group’s perfect example as a reclusive author who approached the task of writing as an obligation that did not have to be shared. She locked herself away from the world and also locked away her writing. Her basket and pulley system is actually something every writer should endeavor to create. The world will then posthumously lay blame on our nosey relatives who felt they deserve money and credit for our life’s fruitless and trivial work. A reasonable justification, since they had to put up with you an entire lifetime.

It is also extremely dangerous to socialize with anyone, as they will most likely steal all of your original work and pass it off as their own. Clones may be involved. Also consider the method of writing the first page of your work and then writing multiple rejection letters for the very idea of that page and story it starts to tell, but never finishes. The last suggestion I think would be to listen to every podcast Writing Excuses has ever broadcasted at least three times each. That would keep you very busy. Enjoy not writing! And, by the way, Happy (late) April Fools Day!

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Dummies,  by Rob Wilson and Rhena Branch, narrated by Simon Slater.

Writing Prompt: Write a series of 16 numerals. This is probably Jordo’s credit card number, or at least one of them (in one of the many universes where he is still allowed to use credit cards.) Go shopping! Oh, you’ll need the expiration date! It’s April 1st, 2012.

Editor’s Note: Linda K Strahl is a transfer student from University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, where she was studying Archaeology and minoring in Creative Writing. She came to Lewis University in Fall of 2010 to major in Creative Writing. After participating in the production of two plays at Phillip Lynch Theater she has become an enthusiastic dramaturg, and is contemplating a career as a researcher and playwriter.

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