Five Fool-Proof Ways to Avoid a Rewrite

1. Convince yourself that trying to read size 12 font on a 15 inch laptop screen is the root of your evil writer’s block.

Break out the scissors, tape, and a slick red pen. Attack a hard copy outline with reckless abandon.

2. In moments of despair, search twitter for links to posts on how to write through the pain of the “chapter five blues.”

3. Balance your checkbook, and then meditate on why your creativity juices are as depleted as your bank account.

4. Host a slew of kids for after-school playtime at your house on a quiet Thursday afternoon. Hope child’s play will stir the muse and bring inspiration, despite the chaos of loud music, scattered marbles on a tile floor, and smashed teddy grahams in the carpet.

5. Fall back into unfinished knitting projects. Because, if you can’t weave the plot of your story together in a sensible way, at least you can weave yarn into a lovely green dishrag.

Get lost in the analogy of how knitting is so like writing….

In one more last ditch effort to avoid that rewrite: Count how many times the cursor flashes at the beginning of a blank line before your eyes cross. When vision doubles, return to no. 1.


Repeat as needed.


19 responses to “Five Fool-Proof Ways to Avoid a Rewrite

  1. This is so funny.

    And too true.

    I add do a load of laundry to the list. And then sort and match my socks. And look for that favorite shirt that has been missing for a month…

    • …Then practice folding laundry using strategies observed in Retail shops for top-shelf display items — three folds, no wrinkles, looks like it’s never been worn. Rewrite? What rewrite?

  2. hehe, lovely post. And I love the first picture.

    I’ve resorted to printing out 16 pages to one A4 page, cutting them up and shuffling the chapters like cards in the past. That way, I can covince myself I’m playing Snap if all else fails.

  3. Blame it on your dull wall color and re-paint your writing room. Then get carried away and paint your whole house. Paint your desk, bookshelf, computer.

  4. I love how you tied each activity to what you felt you should’ve been doing.

    Kevin J. Anderson wrote in an article that “[w]riters are probably the only people in the world who would rather be cleaning the bathroom that doing their work.”

    The thing is, if we never turned to housework as a form of procrastination, then our houses would always be in a state of disaster. Procrastination can be productive!

  5. Great quote, Ann, and good point about the housework! For me, procrastination has been a great catalyst for a clean kitchen, one knitted dishrag, a knitted baby kimono, and some serious paper airplane crafting (my son really needed my assistance).

    BUT, I did manage to write a little on chapter five yesterday and edit some earlier chapters today.

    Procrastinate, write, procrastinate, write. I’ll take that over writer’s block any day.

  6. I also like the idea that procrastination can be productive! Maybe it’s all part of the story composting process (Natalie Goldberg writes about life experiences composting before turning into art).

  7. Thanks for the Natalie Goldberg mention. I think it’s time I get that book out again!

  8. Hi Christi! I’ve finally stumbled over, although I am certain we have mutual blogging friends.

    Really cute post! I must have tried them all, except for one and two. One – I just never thought of yet,but thanks for pointing it out. (Your photo reminds of a scene in Becoming Jane.) And 2, well, I’m just not on twitter.

    • Glad you stopped by, Jennifer! I forgot about that scene in Becoming Jane.

      I believe I got the literal cut and paste idea from reading the bit on Margaret Atwood in this article (, entitled “How to Write a Great Novel.” It’s a fascinating article that reveals bits and pieces of the writing process from several great authors.

  9. Very very amusing. Nice work Ms. C!

  10. Oh, so true. And I’m not even rewriting!

  11. @mamacandtheboys and @victoria,
    For those of us with kids, it’s easy to let them be the excuse not to write! Mother Writers, unite! …and let’s pool for babysitters!

  12. I’m not even to rewriting yet. I need to finish my story and I keep looking for all kinds of excuses not to. I think I might take up knitting — at least you have something to show for your efforts.
    Good luck on your rewrites.

  13. That’s it.

    I’m coming over.

    And if I can’t distract the kiddos… I’ll help you paint. (if it comes to that)

    Let’s make a date over spring break. The kind of date where you write and I play dress up with V.

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