What exactly is “pseudo-writing,” you ask?

Well, you could call it research.

More accurately, you could call it avoidance.

My pseudo-writing is usually writing-related, so I give myself a pass, but the truth of the matter is that it’s not really writing.

I fill out surveys about my characters.  I look online for pictures of the people and places in the story.  I draw maps of the location.  I get really obsessed about small details and spend hours looking up stuff related to it.  Sometimes I decide to design a bunch of stuff for my blog.

For example …

I knew that my character Jess was essentially Drew Roy.  That part was easy.

drew roy

But I literally searched the internet for hours to find a picture of Elly that matched the image in my mind.  I got sort of close a couple times, but finally I found this random photo.  And … it. was. Elly. A 100% match.


There’s a greenhouse in the new story, so of course I had to find some photos of that too.



When I realized that one of the characters walked with a limp, I went off on a tangent, looking for photos of awesome canes meant for teenagers (there aren’t a lot out there).  I spent, oh, an hour or two researching canes.  (And wouldn’t mind some more photos, if you find any cool canes meant for a 13-15 year old boy.)

I still need to sketch out a map of the boarding school and nearby town where the story takes place.

Still trying to decide if pseudo-writing is productive or not … anyone care to weigh in?


12 thoughts on “Pseudo-Writing

  1. Haha I do the same thing!!!! I put it down to procrastination and avoidance of actually getting in and doing something! Because really – who actually sees the pictures? I already know what they look like.. everyone else will form their own opinion from our words… and yet this time wasting activity just seems so enticing in the face of hard work!

    • It definitely DOES feel enticing in the face of hard work! That’s such a good way to put it!

      One thing I really struggle with is description in my writing, so I think the pictures DO serve me well in the end though!

  2. I honestly don’t know if it’s productive or not…….I think you’d have to answer that! But I wanted to say this reminds me of what my son did (don’t know if he still does?) in his work as an animator. He’d get caught up in the details of everything as opposed to the big picture, and then be behind on his work.

    • I think that AT LEAST PART OF IT *is* productive work. I have to drill down some of the details before I can really perfect parts of my stories. Perhaps I don’t need to spend 17934194890 hours searching for one photo though. 🙂 haha!

  3. I think it’s definitely productive! You’re fleshing out your characters, your world–even if some of these things never appear in the novel, you’re creating a richer story because of all these details and images which fuel your writing.

      • It never occurred to me, but I recently stumbled across an author who uses Pinterest boards for each of her stories, pinning images that relate to the book/inspire her. It seems like a nice organization tool for pseudo-writing! (I wish I’d thought of it!)

      • I follow Melina Marchetta’s Pinterest account (it’s new!), and I’ve definitely thought about doing that … but I’m scared I’d waste even MORE time, haha!

        Who is the author you’re thinking of?

        There is one I’ve heard about who does that, but I can’t remember which author I’m thinking about.

      • Oooh, I didn’t know she had one! You probably haven’t heard of the author I’m thinking of–Jody Hedlund, a Christian author who writes historical fiction. (I give her props–she’s not afraid to talk about gritty stuff. There was even an honest-to-goodness swear word! Gasp!)

  4. I do this kind of thing all the time. Sometimes I think it’s important but most of the time (for me) its unproductive/procrastination. Although I do think it can be a way of forcing myself to take a break … which I do think can be one of the more helpful things to do while writing (esp. while editing).

  5. Pingback: Frozen | Lights All Around

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