Tuesday, 26 January 2016

My fourth writing-related blog post in which I'm talking about modern distractions and my unfortunate inability to resist them

I often find myself staring at the screen in the middle of writing and sometimes I'm not even aware that I'm doing it. It's like I've fallen through some portal that holds me suspended in a kind of a trance, like a specimen of an insect in a jar of a special solution: I'm not getting anywhere any time soon. I know that just a moment ago I was scribbling happily away and then, all of a sudden, I am just staring into space, my mind blank. That's when the many distractions the Internet has to offer swoop down upon me and drag me along their various links and threads that wrap themselves around me like Devil's Snare. The point I'm trying to make here is a) there are too many distractions nowadays and b) I'm very much susceptible to their influence. 

I know I should resist them if I want to make any progress at all and in order to do that I just have to change one 'p' (that stands for 'procrastination') for another (that stands for 'productivity'). But to my great shame I've discovered that I can be a very weak human being when it comes to the Internet and all its distractions: Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.. These are my usual haunts and I'm like an addict: I can't stop coming back for more. I can argue that when I'm following many different threads and links and read posts, entries and comments, I'm not wasting my time, because while I'm not writing myself at the moment, they're all about writing and improving your craft. Hence, the dichotomy: I spend so much time reading advice on becoming a better writer that I have very little time left for actual writing. Ironic, isn't it? 

But that's in the first half of the day. When I come home from work, usually tired and just wanting to relax, I fall prey to another distraction: TV-shows. I think it was Sheldon Cooper who said in one of the episodes of Big Bang Theory (to justify his inability to come up with anything new or relevant in his chosen scientific field) that we live in the golden age of TV and I can't help agreeing. TV-shows and period dramas have become my downfall. There are so many of them! I've got my old favourites that I enjoy re-watching over and over again. Having no friends growing up and later in life meant that I had to look for them elsewhere and I found them in abundance in books and TV-shows alike. Then there are new ones, which begets the question: Where to find the time to watch them all? It's almost a relief when the show turns out not worth watching. 

But, with so many distractions abound, is there a chance to accomplish and to achieve anything without, say, undergoing the Vulcan ritual of Kolinahr? How am I supposed to stay focused on my writing when I am constantly tempted away from it to roam and explore the vast expanse of the web and the great number and variety of the shows? I guess there is only one answer to that: set your priorities straight and get to work *said in a very stern voice with an impressive frown*. It's like learning to Apparate — you must always remember the three Ds: Destination, Determination, Deliberation. Seems pretty apt for writing as well. Also, there's a good old saying: work done, have your fun! So there you are. Go and write. Besides, you're very lucky indeed: writing can be lots of fun! 

Talking about what's distracting me from writing, using lots of pop culture references. bit.ly/1UnT1LX via @faridamestek (Click to tweet)


  1. I think you speak for so many of us, Farida! And so eloquently too. In watching the TV shows, I always use the excuse that I'm using them as inspiration and studying their craft. ;-) Now....on to another distraction....I mean write!

  2. Thank you for stopping by! I'm constantly struggling with my Internet distractions and TV addictions and I have to admit that I lose more often than not. But I really want to change that this year! I even started limiting the number of episodes I can watch during the day))

  3. Ugh, I feel you so much. There are just so many distractions online, and a lot of them are beneficial to us as writers. Just, they have a terrible habit of getting in the way when we're actually supposed to be writing. For me, the way I've been getting past them is to first accept that I'm going to be checking Twitter and Facebook during my writing sessions, and then I build that in. Some days, when I'm doing well, I might decide I can check social media after finishing a scene. And some days it's more like even couple of hundred words or so. Either way, I can often use it to motivate myself. Though I find that with the worst ones, like YouTube, I really have to stay as far away as possible. There is no such thing as a short break on there.

    1. That's a great idea - to permit oneself to go online as an encouragement after accomplishing something writing-wise. I've also started limiting the number of TV-show's episodes I allow myself to watch before I tell myself to go and write or - if I'm too tired - to take up a book.