Thursday, December 02, 2010

December 2: Wasting Time

In case you missed yesterday's post about the Reverb 10 project that I'm doing this month, go read it quick! Because it's cool and you should do it too. Here is today's prompt from Leo Babauta, which I found entirely appropriate given that I spent last month attempting to procrastinate as much as humanly possible while still writing 50,000 words. I am skilled at the procrastination. It is my gift.

December 2 Prompt: Writing
What do you do each day that doesn't contribute to your writing -- and can you eliminate it?

I find this question to be painful and challenging and irritating, therefore probably pretty relevant to my life currently. There is so much that doesn't contribute to my writing everyday. Let me list the things that will never be eliminated first:

1. Spending time with husband, family and friends. Top priority for me, right after just enough alone time to keep my brain from turning into overstimulated mush.

2. Work. I love my job. I savor being able to pay my mortgage and bills and buy groceries, job not going anywhere.

3. Reading. After laying off the books last month (I read about one a week normally,) I felt like something was missing. When I was trying to write the novel in November I couldn't read fiction.  I kept comparing the drivel I was writing in my first draft to the beautiful book I was trying to read. Bad creative block. I missed it more than I expected.  I need to read, even if I go blind with old age, I will be procuring a vast collection of audio books in my eighties.

4. House maintenance and responsibilities. I share these with Joe but cooking, cleaning, maintaining order, grocery shopping, dog walking and fetch playing, all of these things need some attention now and then. Usually more now than then. And I rather like cleaning. I know, that makes me sound like a lame 1950's house wife. But it's straight forward and physical and you get immediate visible results. I like quick results.

And here's where we delve into the things that I can cut back and readjust, even though it would be significantly easier to leave it alone and probably less painful and more fun, and ultimately sad because what writer wants to admit they watched too much TV and browsed the internet instead of, you know, actually writing. And now I've given away my two biggest time wasters before I even got that far. I'm pretty certain I'm not alone in listing these two as my biggest time sucks. The plight of the modern middle class, first world problems, too much time spent entertaining myself, I feel lame even mentioning these.

1. TV and Movies. I like some great TV shows. Current favorites include Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, The Walking Dead, Modern Family, 30 Rock, Community. I don't think about how much TV I probably watch. Even if I'm only half watching, if we are home it's usually on in the background. The Daily Show or Conan or Dirty Jobs, and I'm half paying attention as I do the other biggest time waster.

2. The internet.  I so love and adore "the series of tubes." Predominately, I have a Facebook addiction. I thrive on comments and silly banter back and forth, often with people I haven't seen in years. I like feeling connected. I like the sense of amorphous community.  I don't want to eliminate Facebook, but I need to dial it back. Frankly, it's more interesting when you only visit once or twice a day. Or so I would imagine from the few times that I've done that. And I don't want to admit it, but with my iPhone, I visit much more often than once a day. So first step, admit I have an addiction and then the weaning process.

The other side of that is just the vast number of websites and blogs that are full of fascinating people, stories, articles, art, creative projects, recipes, and endless supply of other people's creativity. But if I want to jump start my own and maintain this pretty good creative focus I have right now, it might be time to cut back on my internet usage. I'm going to think about what's a reasonable amount of time to be spending browsing, time myself for a couple of days to see how much time I'm actually spending, and then cut that back and check in on how that feels. I think cutting back on these two would free up enough time for my creative pursuits, like writing, and maybe I'll actually get back to my regularly schedule work out routine too. We'll see.

What are your biggest time wasters? Do you have an addiction to the interweb like I do?

No comments: