Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. -- Gene Fowler

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Things Which Are Not Writing

There are a lot of things a writer can do which are not writing. Here's my example list:

  • browsing Facebook "just for a minute to see what everyone's been up to in the ten or so hours that have elapsed since I went to bed"
  •  checking e-mail
  • stopping whatever else I might be doing (which might in some rare cases actually be writing) to switch to the e-mail client when it pops up a "new message" bubble in the corner of the screen
  • arranging bookmarks in my browser
  • daydreaming about joining SFWA
  • reading other writers' blogs

I will stare until you feed me.
There are many other things I do in the morning which are not writing, but these are just a few that happened today. Other things which are necessary but are also not writing include doing laundry, cooking lunch, and feeding the cat. I don't feel I can safely cut out those activities, but some of those in the bullet list can definitely go.

Ironically, in reading through some other writing blogs I came up with the inspiration to write this entry. So how do you know if you're just time-wasting or building up a storehouse of future plot/poem/blog ideas?

When I figure it out, I'll let you know. But here's a guideline: if your activities (aside from the purely necessary ones) aren't feeding your writing, you've probably wandered off the track.

Don't be afraid of the blank page! Once you start writing into it, it's not blank any more! Go! Go forth and create, my little ones! The world is yours for the taking!

Ahem. Keep an eye on your own activities. Set up a schedule for yourself if you have to. It works for some people. But be aware of when you've strayed. And don't, repeat don't, beat yourself up if you do wander. It happens. We're human. And you're allowed. Just catch yourself at it and redirect. Back to work, little creative mind. No more Twitter for you. Put down the list of "Most Interesting Stuff That Doesn't Matter But Will Make Your Co-Workers Laugh Their Butts Off" links from Facebook and open the word processor. Take out the notebook. Scrawl something into your smartphone. Just write. That's what writers do, after all.

No comments:

Post a Comment