12 Most Interesting Things to Do When Avoiding Writing

12 Most Interesting Things to Do When Avoiding Writing

I think most writers will sympathize with this: when you have to write, the last thing in the world you want to do is write. I spend a whole lot of time thinking that I should be writing but not actually doing it.

These are the 12 most interesting things to do when avoiding writing:

1. Watch television

I can so easily get sucked into anything on TV when I’m supposed to be writing. The other morning I watched an episode of Ugly Betty on the TV Guide Network. Who watches the TV Guide Network?!

That wasn’t even as bad as it got. After I watched Betty, I found myself watching an entire episode of Cybil. Then I found myself considering setting my DVR to record Cybil every time it airs because it was a little bit entertaining. Mostly I end up catching up on my DVR. Right now I really can’t wait to re-watch SMASH (yes, haters, I said re-watch) and watch The Face.

I successfully stayed away from the TV on my way to write this post.

2. Read

This is the not-so-secret secret of all writers. Reading is considered part of writing. You can so easily call it “research.” But mostly, it’s me reading a book by Lauren Conrad, wishing that I employed whomever writes Lauren Conrad’s books to write things for me.

Before sitting down to write, I thumbed through my newest issue of Rolling Stone for 20 minutes and got the idea to write this list… so I guess that one sometimes works.

3. Go to the gym

I woke up this morning and knew that I really needed to do some writing today. Rather than doing that immediately, I made sure I went to the gym. I also made sure to stay at the gym extra long and really get a great workout in because who doesn’t like to be healthy? I’m guessing people who don’t write.

I went to the gym this morning around 10AM, returned around noon, but somehow managed to not start writing until after 1PM.

4. Check Twitter

Last night I stayed up late (for me) finishing up an article for submission. I began editing it around 11PM (right after I finished watching SMASH) and finally finished it around 1AM. It was pretty much finished when I sat down, but then I had to check Twitter. I read through my timeline, going back and forth between the article about every five minutes or so to see if anything hilarious had happened. It hadn’t and then I got upset that nothing hilarious was happening and I didn’t have anything hilarious to say.

Number of times I checked Twitter while writing this post: 5

5. Check Facebook

I check my Facebook less and less lately because I’ve discovered what a time suck it is. There are far too many opinions on Facebook that I just don’t want to see, so I end up spending all my time hiding posts or hiding entire people from my timeline. Then, of course, I end up stalking people who I don’t know but are a friend of a friend and before I know it, I’m checking out my ex’s ex’s ex and crying because I’m what’s wrong with America.

Number of times I checked Facebook while writing this post: 2

6. Check email

It is always the right time to organize my inbox as soon as I need to sit down and write something. This can take anywhere from five minutes to seven hours. Okay, it’s never taken seven hours, but I certainly do find a way of sucking time away in my inbox.

Number of times I checked my email while writing this post: 3

7. Watch YouTube

There is an endless supply of ridiculous to be seen on YouTube. I go there for one clip of Glozell and I end up watching 17 videos of kittens, crying tears of joy and sorrow because… this is my life.

8. Update your music collection

On Sunday, in preparation for a Beyoncé high watching the Super Bowl (Spoiler: Beyoncé won EVERYTHING), I needed to update iTunes. I had most of my Beyoncé collection ready and a pretty impressive playlist made to be able to play all day long. But then I realized that I needed to include Destiny’s Child because there was a great chance there would be the reunion of a lifetime at the Beyoncé Bowl. I spent at least two hours ripping all of my DC CD’s onto my computer to be able to shuffle all things Beyoncé and go about the rest of my day and hopefully write something.

Before I could go to the gym on Monday, I needed to update my iPod with Beyoncé so that I could fully enjoy my workout. This took a lot of time… it takes a while to load 251 Beyoncé/DC3 songs onto an iPod. During the time that my shuffle was updating, I surely didn’t write a thing. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. The last time was when I needed to listen to everything involving Nicole Scherzinger, so I spent a few hours ripping Eden’s Crush and Pussycat Dolls solo albums onto my computer and then loading onto my iPod. Don’t cha wish you had a great workout like me that day?

9. Eating

Eating is a great way to not write. There is always something else I can eat and the kitchen isn’t that far away.

Number of times I went to the kitchen while writing this post: 1 (I needed another cup of tea… I didn’t eat the world… yet.)

10. Do some online shopping

I may be unemployed but I still want to shop. I can spend plenty of time updating my Amazon wish list. Then that time turns into price comparisons, then tears over how I can’t afford a damn thing.

11. Play games

I’ve never really been into games until I got an iPhone. Now it takes a whole lot of time to update:

  • Words With Friends
  • Matching With Friends
  • Gems With Friends
  • Scramble With Friends
  • Snood
  • RubyBlast
  • The Simpsons Tapped Out
  • Flow
  • Unblock Me

Checking in on all of these games takes up a whole lot of time that I could use to write. But when a friend manages to play “OXYPHENBUTAZONE” for 1670 points, I have to drop everything and really concentrate. In fact, to find out about that word, I had to do a Google search. I’ll do anything to get out of writing.

12. Clean your living space

Since being fired, I am essentially a housewife. That’s always been a dream of mine, so essentially I am living my dreams. But until I find work, I’m home all day long, so I easily slip into the role of 50’s homemaker making sure the house is clean. I won’t lie to you, it doesn’t always work out. But when I need to do some writing, I sure do love to find something to clean.

The other day when I hadn’t gotten enough sleep in the first place, I decided the bedroom needed to be cleaned. This involved taking every single piece of furniture out of the room, sweeping, dusting, changing the sheets and making the room spotless. That took plenty of my time, but it should always be your last resort.

Not all of these things may work for you, but not everyone can be the expert at avoiding writing that I’ve become.

Featured image courtesy of stock_xchng.

Ryan L. Waterman


Ryan L Waterman is an unemployed reader, writer, singer and dancer (often simultaneously). He doesn't believe in changing his socks, but he believes he'll change your mind. He doesn't believe in grey areas and you shouldn't either. Ryan learned almost everything he knows from Janet Jackson, Kelly Clarkson and Beyoncé.

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Carol Ann Lloyd Stanger
Carol Ann Lloyd Stanger like.author.displayName 1 Like

Terrific post. Really enjoyed reading it while not working on the article I promised myself to finish today. Keep it up! There are thousands of pages I have yet to...well...not write.

SallySpratt like.author.displayName 1 Like

Guilty on all TWELVE accounts.  I may have even started a fight with my husband to avoid writing.


@SallySpratt That is such a good one! Fights are an excellent distraction from anything and everything productive.


I think, reading, youtube and Going out in nature for a walk early in morning are the best things you can do. Other interested thing I would like to suggest is playing with a small kid of 2 year old. That freshes you up. 

Thank you www.letsnurture.com


@kulls2 Going out for a walk is definitely a great suggestion. I never really think about that as being a way to avoid writing, but I do get some great ideas when I'm out walking. Playing with children is always a great distraction. My friends' kids are always welcome to help me avoid writing! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Stewart Gjerstad
Stewart Gjerstad

Worst thing I find is,

Ex - Using, "speach, marks", too, "much". Also!!!!! Over use of exclamation!!! Marks, too!!!!!!!.

Lastly, too or to!!!??? "Why!!!!!????" did this, happen, toooo me!!!??

Lol ;)

betsytalbot like.author.displayName 1 Like

I curse the day I discovered "Crash Course" on YouTube. I convince myself it is time well spent because I'm learning, but it still doesn't help me get words on the page. Also, I refill my coffee when it is only half-gone because it means 2 trips away from my desk for every full cup I drink. <sigh>

ryanlwaterman like.author.displayName 1 Like

@betsytalbot Also, I'm very scared to even search for "Crash Course" for fear that it will suck me in worse than Gossip Girl. No need to laugh at me, I'm aware that I'm a 14 year old girl.


@betsytalbot I also do the half empty cup trick. I don't drink coffee, so it's with tea and involves adding more honey and lemon while waiting for the water to reach a higher temperature. I really am an expert at how to waste time. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

SuzeInk like.author.displayName 1 Like

As a writer actively engaged in not writing, while thinking of nothing else but writing -- and doing anything but writing, you really made me laugh out loud. 

I especially like the fact that you stalk strangers on Facebook and then start crying cuz, what is wrong with America? (sob)  Who cannot relate to that?

Off I go now to ... uh ... clean up all duplicate files on my systems and then do complete backups. Then I will ruminate about writing ...

Time for a nappy. 


@SuzeInk I've never really been much of a nap person, but sleep is a great way to avoid writing! Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Hope that you got a lot achieved today... maybe even some writing!