Friday, August 27, 2010

Are You Wasting Time Reading...?

The complete question reads like this: Are you wasting time reading about writing when you should be writing? This awful question reared its ugly head when I began packing to move house. Ah yes, the joys of moving. I think it’s number two on the list of Most Terrible Things To Happen In Life. Along with death and divorce, moving house is one of the most traumatic experiences known to man, woman, and writer. Of course, there’s always the chance that while packing, as you scrabble among the dust balls under your desk, you might just find a vital piece of paper with a plot link you thought of in the middle of the night, wrote down, but then couldn’t find... There’s also the chance you could find money, the winning lottery ticket, or the missing library book that has accumulated thousands in fines...

However, the worst part of moving is thinking about what you have been doing for the past few months. Is there a link? Yes, for me there is. You see, I can’t move into my beautiful new house yet, the one with a stunning TWO (yes, two) room office. This is an incredible step up as far as office space goes, and I just can’t wait to fill it with books, lost library books, missing pieces of paper, and dust balls (My housekeeper very wisely put a clause in her contract that prevents her from cleaning my current office and I guess it extends to the new one...) How is this connected to what I have (not) been doing for the past few months? Let me explain. Alas, I have to camp out in a rented flat for two months while the current owners make their own moving arrangements. This means no access to the Internet unless I go down the road to an Internet cafe and log on. So, I’ll only be doing that once or twice a week. I decided I should pare down my subscriptions. It was a shock to find out just how much mail I was receiving.

Last week I did not open my email for two days. When I did, there were over 100 messages in my inbox. Apart from the ever-present ‘you have won the UK lottery’ spam mail, I found I had recklessly subscribed to just about anything that had ever presented me with an interesting article. I was receiving mail from all sorts of blogs and newsletters, some with remarkable articles, some with run-of-the-mill stuff. In my eagerness to learn more about honing my writing skills and developing a marketing strategy, I had accumulated so many subscriptions that basically my time on emails had gone from 10-15 minutes every morning to 90 minutes. Unacceptable. I was spending more time reading about writing than actually doing any writing.

I also found that while many of these articles were extremely informative, I had begun to question my writing, my characters, the back story, the inner story, the action, the dialogue, the adjectives, the adverbs ... I had begun to tear my writing apart. So, I had to cut off the source of my addiction and ... unsubscribe! I have, however, kept the few stalwarts that I began with. I expect that once I am settled in my new abode I shall be tempted to start subscribing again. But my resolve is firm: forge ahead with more writing, and not so much reading about writing. I shall leave the ‘fixing’ to my editor!

Here’s my TOP Ten List of best blogs, sites and newsletters about writing and marketing. I just know I will start adding to my list again....

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