#wipMadness Day 5: On the Shady Side

Every spring my hubby does battle with the invasion of moss and lichen in our lawns. He’s already making plans to do the annual de-thatching, raking and liming, and he’s muttering non-too-quietly about it.

Despite the myth that says moss grows on the north side of trees, moss grows wherever it can find moisture and shade — it requires them to survive and reproduce — and our property provides the ideal conditions. It’s not just on the trees; it happily multiplies through the lawns and gardens.


We have a neighbour who wonders why our rites of spring always include de-mossing the lawns. She says moss is green, it doesn’t require mowing, and it’s soft under foot, so she’s content to let it have its way with her yard. She’s right on all three counts, but given its freedom, it would (and does) spread through our flowerbeds, too, and eventually would choke all the plants we’ve tried so hard to nurture.

Of course there’s a writing analogy here. The moss reminds me of lethargy, which can be very pervasive and, if allowed to take hold, can spread to every one of our endeavours and choke our ambition and creativity.

Lethargy starts with a tiny seed of procrastination. The things we choose to do in those times we would normally be writing, aren’t bad. In fact, they can be quite pleasant, useful, even necessary things. But given half a chance, procrastination can grow into a nasty patch of writer’s block, so that when we eventually try to return to writing, it’s a struggle.

I’m here to tell you that we make that miserable old Internal Editor’s day when we give in to the first temptation to skip writing in favour of scrubbing the garage floor with an old toothbrush. From there he knows he’s got it made because we’ll have to recuperate with tea, a magazine and chocolate. (I know full well every writer has a store of hidden chocolate somewhere for just such moments of dire need!) Once we’re on the couch, guilt will sneak in, hand in hand with lethargy, and all is lost.

Let’s make up our minds to hang on to our March commitments and spend time every day working on our goals. We won’t allow the tiniest bit of procrastination to take hold and give lethargy a chance to settle in. We certainly don’t want to give our I.E. any gloating opportunities, do we? It’s too hard on morale. 😉


I hope you’re well on the way to reaching your first week’s goal(s). Let us know in the comments how you’re doing. Check-in tomorrow at Tonette’s blog: http://tonettedelaluna.com , and keep an eye on the list of prize winners. You never know when your name may come up in a random draw.


What’s your weakness when it comes to making excuses for not writing? With all this sunshine coaxing me outside, mine could easily be gardening. The moss is calling my name.

~  ~  ~



Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

27 thoughts on “#wipMadness Day 5: On the Shady Side

  1. It’s so easy to procrastinate. We’ll always find a “reason” to delay our writing. My #1 “reason”, though I love them dearly, is spending time with my nephew and niece. They keep me sane and it’s beautiful to see the world through their eyes.

    A lot of times, I feel a lack of creative spark, or I’m literally avoiding dealing with certain scenes because a) I don’t know where to take them, b) I don’t want the story to end, or c) a bit of both.

    I agree that we shouldn’t let the moss take over, as it were. I don’t mind taking a brief pause in writing just to clear my head (and relax the hand cramps) but we should always keep our creativity fuelled in other facets of our lives.

    Writing is most definitely a process that needs to be nurtured. I always respect the writing journey, regardless of the destination. We just need to write on!

    Happy writing!


    1. For me, procrastination and lethargy are different…the one leading to the other. When lethargy sets in I’m no longer deliberately avoiding anything, simply lacking interest in everything. :/

  2. Gah. This topic very much speaks to me, as yesterday I had to kick myself into gear for a proposal deadline that includes 3 chapters and a detailed outline. I’ve had weeks to do it…but I’m the queen of excuses, and the master of pushing deadlines. Maybe it’s my Journalism background.

    A few years ago, I fell in love with screenwriting, and even wrote something that was optioned for development of a TV (though the process has stalled for now, it’s still something I am proud of)—and that, I’m afraid, made me look at TV differently, and too often. I PVR a lot—a LOT—of shows, and while I try to convince myself it’s “research” I know it’s actually more like procrastination.

    One of my goals this month (which I didn’t put on Denise’s post) is to turn the TV on less…but I admit, some of my favourite shows are on right now. #willpower

    Sidenote: I LOVE gardening, but living in Alberta means my season starts much much later than yours 😉

    Good luck with your goals this week!

    1. Thank goodness for deadlines! LOL! And yes, I understand the draw of television, although a good book can draw me away from writing just as easily. I get reading and don’t want to stop.

      We used to live in Calgary, so I know about later Alberta springs, but I liked the intensity of the growing season once it finally arrived.

  3. Oh, yes. I know this all too well, Carol. When we still had the farm, I would happily muck stalls to avoid writing at times. But to be fair, that was my best thinking time. I composed many a chapter amid the sawdust and manure. (I hope that hasn’t influences my writing too much!)

    My herb garden is calling my name now. And cleaning my office. And taking photographs. ((sigh)) All the while, I am thinking about my WIP, so technically, I’m still writing.

    Rock the madness, Wipsters!

    1. It’s true that for writers a lot of apparent daydreaming is actually productive. I suppose I could be ‘thinking’ while scrubbing a garage floor, too, but somehow I don’t think I would be. 😉

  4. Productive procrastination is my secret weapon to not letting it take over. As long as what I do to procrastinate makes me feel as if I’ve accomplished something, I go with it. But, if the task can’t be justified then I grit my teeth and get to work.

    Examples include spring cleaning instead of taxes, and watching tv episodes instead of writing. I know that tv seems counter-intuitive, but I always analyze the show and try to figure out what worked well and how I could use it (or I do laundry, which at least is productive).

    I must admit that research can take off into the procrastination for no reason realm. It’s so easy to click on links off topic. ☺️

    Good luck on your March Madness goal Carole.

    1. Lethargy probably wouldn’t set in if I thought my procrastinating was truly productive. Alas, it often isn’t. Thus the guilt. Making a list of what really needs to get done works reasonably well for me — lets me feel good about crossing off things without straying into distractions.

  5. Great post! Love the analogy here. Procrastination does start small than has a snowball effect of growing and growing until it’s a real struggle to get back to writing.

    With me it’s been more of a growing disillusion with this biz. I know if I let that fester? I’ll be like your moss and take over everything. Can’t do that! Need to not listen to naysayers and(my biggest issue)comparing self to others.

    Thanks for helping to host this month!

    1. Oh, I hear you, Kim! It’s so easy to feel like we aren’t getting anywhere, and we’re wasting our time on a frivolous pursuit! It always comes back to the writing…that inexplicable addiction that says, “Doesn’t matter; write anyway.”

      Keep at it. I hope our #wipmadness will help.

  6. What a great post, Carol! (Did you write this just for me?!) I tend to tell myself I’m going to get my brain turned on by returning business emails and such, and before I know it, I’m swept up in replying to facebook and twitter posts and everything else I can think of not to open my WIP.

    So for the rest of March, I’m going to try to be better with this. Try to get some writing done first thing, even if it’s not the best writing in the world, it will keep me more focused and help me get more accomplished.

    Thanks so much for hosting, Carol!

    1. Oh, those seemingly legitimate distractions! I’m trying to set specific time limits on internet use, and then move on to what I know will be more motivating.

      Recently I’ve returned to a book given to me years ago, Bonni Goldberg’s ROOM TO WRITE: Daily Invitations to a Writer’s Life (Tarcher/Putnam 1996). Reading a daily entry or two always triggers my desire to write.

  7. Woops! Checking in- my work actually took over my life first thing this morning- as usual! I usually write for half an hour in the morning, but today an early phone call changed all of that- the media waits for no one! But I’ve scheduled in some writing time this afternoon! Can’t lose sight of my goal! Thanks for your blog today!

    1. It sounds like you have a good writing routine established, Rachel. That’s excellent discipline and I don’t doubt you’ll make that goal. 🙂

  8. The moss in my writing life is probably social media. Not a bad thing in itself (actually, it can be a great thing!), but my time on social media can extend itself, creeping into the time I should be writing. Thanks for the great analogy, and the reminder to not give in to procrastination!

    (Happy to say, words for today are done. But they could’ve been done much sooner in the day if I’d had some lime handy… FOR THE MOSS, PEOPLE…NO I’M NOT DRINKING MARGARITAS WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?! *sips yummy drink* *checks twitter*)

    1. I swear social media is addictive, but I agree, it’s has its benefits. Glad to hear you got your words done anyway. But you realize nobody is going to believe you weren’t drinking margaritas, don’t you? LOL.

  9. Hey all – It’s Kelly! I managed to get 2k words done today – but they are a disastrous 2k. Speaking of needing thatching, raking and liming!!! But having something to reshape is better than nothing. AND I have been darn good with my healthy eating/ exercising.

    But now that my goals are done – I am looking for some of that margarita you’ve got there Shari!!! Too bad we can’t share cocktails over the internet. One day! Shakes fist at sky. Then uses fist to grab wine bottle 😉

    1. Some days it’s quantity not quality that matters, and 2000 words is impressive! I keep reminding myself that we can always revise a bad draft, but an empty page gives us nothing to work on. Enjoy a well deserved glass of wine. I might join you long distance.

  10. My words for today are done, hooray. I do like moss a lot, much to the chagrin of my lawn-loving DH. Funny thing, the raccoons have spent a lot of time digging up the moss in our yard this winter, looking for grubs beneath, and now the chickadees are carrying it off for their nests. I suspect there’s a deeper meaning in that somewhere, but I wrote too many words today to find it…

    1. Ha! I guess an analogy can only be stretched so far! I’m glad you’ve joined the madness this year, Catherine, and are getting your words chalked up. 🙂

  11. Thanks for such an encouraging post! My computer gave up the ghost so I was starting to sink into the moss. I have a great excuse to procrastinate right? But this reminded me that I can still be working on my story each day. That way I can hopefully avoid the guilt and lethargy that have been creeping up on me when I don’t hit my goals. So here’s to learning to type on my tablet! 🙂

    1. Sorry to hear about your computer, Tanya. That sucks, especially when you’re working towards a writing goal. But yes, if there’s a story to be written that shouldn’t stop you. Remember, pen and paper are always good standbys if typing on your tablet proves to be too awkward. 😉

  12. In Canada, I don’t really have good excuses. Mostly I let my mood interfere. Here in Bucerias, it’s the weather and activity that gets in the way. It’s difficult to say I must stay home and write when friends beckon me to come along to the beach for a day in the sun.

    1. Moods can sure affect how we approach our writing; even how we approach all of life, but I’m not sure I buy your Mexican excuse. LOL! You have twelve hours of daylight for beach time. Even if you sleep eight more of them, there are still four hours left unaccounted for. Are you telling me you can’t steal one measly hour out of each day for your writing? (You know I’m going to give you a bad time if you come home without having accomplished at least some of your writing goals.)

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