Writing about Writing is not Writing (via @RobertHoge and @johnwilliamdye)

John William Dye writes on writing (blogging) about writing:

The thing is, this feels like writing. I tap my keyboard and words appear in this box. In the end, I even get a great feeling as I click the “Publish” button (‘getting Published’ is a terrible motivator for writing, but more on that later!). But all that I’ve done in filling this window up is talk about writing. In the end, all I’ve done is talked theory on how to do good writing, not actually executed on what I’ve said. All I’ve done is been a literary theorist, or worse, a critic.

I tend to agree with John. Obviously there is a place to write blog posts discussing experiences in writing, and there's nothing wrong with writing about writing per se, but if your goal is to write fiction, you should write fiction first, then do all that other stuff.

There are many opportunities to avoid writing, and a few drift to the very top as the most effectively excused forms of procrastination: writing about writing is one. Of course, researching is the other. Actually, researching is the best excuse not to write anything at all.


1) avoid "research procrastination" by leaving placeholders in your writing for minor unknowns. Don't know the proper name for the kind of gun your protagonist is using? Just leave [GUN]. You can look it up later. I'm serious, you can. You should. If you look up [gun] you could be spending half an hour flicking through wikipedia researching industrial era ballistics (I have done this). Or worse, end up on TVTropes (and yes, there is a very good reason I didn't provide you a link to that site).

2) When you excuse your interruptive research by saying 'I need to know the political impacts of this in 17th century France' you probably have found yourself a legitimate excuse. But next time, try do any plot-critical research before you start. I know that's hard. I know that leaves a little crack through which to escape your writing responsibilities. Fight that crack!

Read John's original post here: http://scribblesplatter.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/writing-about-writing-is-not-writing/