How to Avoid Writing by Preparing for Writing

"well I can't possibly focus on writing while this room is so messy"

Buy a bullet journal. Spend an hour determining the perfect brand, size, color.

Hunt for your favorite pens and markers.

Begin a two page spread with a page count graph that will Most Definitely Help You Write.

Realize you need a ruler to do this properly and hunt that down.

Realize the pens you used bleed through pages and determine the best way to make sure you really feel in the groove and aren’t distracted by things like page bleed is to make a collage from magazine cuttings on the backs of your two page spread.

Get distracted by the magazine articles. Oops, I mean… get inspired by the magazine articles.

“well I can’t possibly focus on writing while this room is so messy”

Fill out the starting point of your page count graph (zero).

Open up your laptop to write, then remember that you were planning on mentioning insurance in this piece and spend the next hour researching every possible fact you can find about insurance on the first page of Google Search results.

Go back to the blank page, but then wonder if a later page of Google Search results would have even more secret and interesting facts about insurance. Look through the 10-15 results page range.

Stare out your window as four dogs pass by. Explain this to yourself as “every writer needing time to just sit and imagine.”

Remember you need to pay a bill and that your brain will not stop thinking on it until you do it. Pay the bill.

Read inspiring quotes and add a couple to your bullet journal. For motivation.

Wonder if you’ll talk about unions in the piece. Google Search “unions” just in case.

Google search “are teachers in Texas allowed to unionize?”

Call your sister to loudly complain about the answer.

Set up a Trello board so you can gather research and make a to do list. Spend A While finding the perfect background picture.

“I should probably make a folder for my script and outline and whatever else I’ll gather.”

Schedule future writing days with comrades.

Decide the best way to face the blank page is with a full bottle of water, a Topo Chico, an Earl Grey, and snacks. You must leave the apartment to buy some of these things.

Sit down to write the thing. Write a newsletter instead.

Britt A Willis writes this newsletter and is a playwright, game writer, and designer in Washington, DC. You can find out more about their work at or follow them on Twitter @feelingfickle.

Banner image description: two pages of a bullet journal with sections delineated for “themes,” “research,” “page goals,” “visuals,” “characters and places,” “titles,” and “misc.”