Looking for New Socks

Scott William Carter   April 28, 2008  

Sometimes I amaze myself at the lengths I will go to avoid writing. I often write during lunch at the day job — in fact, it’s one of the most reliable places I can find time to write these days, sadly. Today, when I should have been writing, I was suddenly struck with the dire need to buy new brown socks from the local Bi-Mart. I was halfway to the car before I realized what I was doing.

Yes, it’s true I need new brown socks, but was it really all that urgent? Not really. In fact, one of the things I hate is going to the store to buy one item, because it seems so incredibly inefficient. It was writing avoidance, pure and simple

I still haven’t figured out why exactly I do this. Writing is, after all, something I love. But I have noticed that writing avoidance increases when I’m in that middle part of a book, the part when a lot of the early passion has subsided and the rush I get from writing the end is still a ways off. It’s something I have to guard against. I may love writing, but it can also be damn hard at times, and the harder it is, the more my subconscious mind devises ways to help me avoid actually cranking out the words.

From here on out, I think I’ll refer to writing avoidance as “looking for new socks.”

Of course, writing blog posts can be a form of writing avoidance, too. Sigh . . .


  • Check out the The First Book Blog: New York Times bestselling writer Lisa McMann, author of Wake, is up this week. If you enjoy these mini-interviews, consider posting a link on your blog or website. The more web traffic these authors get, the better.
  • Doug Cohen, assistant editor of Realms of Fantasy, has an interesting blog post (and online poll) about writers factoring in whether a magazine accepts email submissions (or only postal ones) into their criteria when they’re deciding on where to submit their work. Frankly, looking at the poll and the comments section, I find it astonishing that so many writers use that as a criteria at all. I can’t say that doesn’t factor into my decision making a little, but it’s waaaaay down the list after such things as 1) how much the market pays, 2) the size of its readership, and 3) how much prestige it offers. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the lengths writers will go to hurt their own careers. If you want your work read, you try to get it into the best market. Period.
  • Have you been reading Andrew Sullivan? If you want some relief from the madness of the mainstream media, look no further than Sullivan’s blog, The Daily Dish, published at the Atlantic Online. I don’t always agree with him, but I frequently do, and his comments during the political season have helped me keep some perspective on this whole silly process.  It’s also made me realize how useless the mainstream media is becoming. 

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