Thursday, September 28, 2006

Putting it Off

Through the years, as I've gone to writer's conferences, I've learned how to answer the delicate question of, "What do you write?" The two possible answers are speculative fiction and erotica. I get the same horrified expression for both, but when I say erotica, people tend to move to another table. But this weekend I'll be in the world of speculative fiction, and I can let my inner geek hang out.

I'm on two panels for Conjecture this year. Thank goodness they always put me on the bawdy late night panel. It doesn't always start off on the topic of sex, but we can read our midnight audience pretty well and soon boldly go where no earlier panel has gone before.

I'm also on the writing track this year, which is wonderful. Last year, I was one of three published authors sitting in on round table critiques. Reading chapters, writing a detailed critique, and then holding a critique session in person is a lot of work, so I'm glad they aren't doing them again this year and instead went to panels.

The panel I was assigned was Overcoming Writer's Block. I rarely suffer from writer's block, but writer's procrastination is another story. Considering that I have the high score on every computer game in the house, I consider myself an expert at avoiding writing. I have two chapters due to my own critique group this weekend, but am I working on them? Let's just say that my Cubis score has never been higher.

Writer's block, to me, is not being able to create a story. I have no problem with that. There are so many stories in my head - some have been there for years - that I always have something I could be working on. My problem is having something to write but not doing it. What stops me? Different things. Sometimes it's simply a difficult chapter to write. Deeply emotional scenes are physically hard on me. While it takes a reader twenty minutes to read, it takes me weeks to write, and if it's a downer scene, then I'm in a funk that whole time. Sometimes I put off writing because I'm waiting for something to click in that scene and I don't want to waste time putting down words I know I'll delete. Other times I feel that I'm at diverging paths in the story, and I need to get some distance from what I'm writing so that I can see clearly the path that will take me where I need to go.

Recognizing the reasons why I'm not writing is only part of the solution. Finding ways around it are a bit harder. I have my tricks, like skipping scenes ahead to something that grabs me, or simply being very stern with myself, or takign a break to write a short story, but they don't always work. So even though I'm on the panel, I'm hoping to take away some ideas.

Meanwhile - I have those chapters to polish... right after I add a couple thousand points to my Cubis score.

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