‘The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time,’ said.
‘Unless you have a novel to write,’ quoth Vincent Mars.
1. Reading about writing
Books on writing are helpful, but I don’t think they can teach you how to create. They can show you common mistakes you are likely to make, and offer tips on how to avoid them, but to write good fiction you have to feel with your own heart and think with your own head. You have to find the answers yourself.
2. Speaking about your book
Mentioning it in passing to friends you want to impress is okay. But any lengthy discussions on it will waste your energy. It’s better to spent that time writing your book. For this reason I have my doubts about the effectiveness of writing groups. Maybe they are good for helping you edit your book, but otherwise I have my doubts.
3. Reading fiction
When I began studying English I used to read for hours, and then if I had any time left, I wrote. Now I do the opposite. Every writer is first a reader, but after a point, you read to sustain your writing. You should still read as much as possible, but do it with discrimination, for bad writing is contagious. Do it after you reach your daily word count.
4. Watching television
A bad habit hard to get rid of. But once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. I don’t have a TV in my room. I only watch major sporting events like the final of the Champions League. I watch films on my laptop.
Manifests itself in many forms, from an obsessive drive to rename and rearrange story files on the laptop just before starting to write, to dreaming about hatted women in Spain. The more excited I am about a story or writing project, and the more I want it done, the more I tend to procrastinate. The only cure for it I’ve found so far is to write in the morning, immediately after I wake up, before anything can distract me.
6. Using social media
I’m not on Facebook, but I am here on WordPress, and this takes me usually at least 30 minutes of my time every day. Sometimes much more. It’s important to use your blog as a channel to talk about your writing. Not necessarily for publishing your work, for I have my doubts about online publishing. But for introducing readers to your work, and for speaking about literary topics in a way that helps you improve your writing, but this with moderation, and only after your daily writing session are done.
7. Watching porn
Arguable a male-only problem. I have not watched porn for two years and a half, and I don’t ever plan to. For a young irreligious, shiftless young man like me I believe this is an outstanding achievement.
What distracts you from writing, other than reading my blog?