Spiraling vortex of negativity and other items on my To Don’t list:
The other day I shared my writerly To Do list. Now I’m going to show you my writerly To Don’t list.
Don’t get robbed by the Time Burglars:
I love this phrase: Time Burglars (not to be confused with the Hamburgler!). We all have 24 hours in a day but we let time burglars steel some of that time from us and from our writing.
I’m not including family and friends because they are time refreshers. Time spent living and loving life can only enhance your writing and the human experience. You have to live life to write about life.
And I’m not talking about the much-ballyhooed ones like TV and pulling weeds. We all know we watch too much TV and Don’t Pull Weeds - just don't. To quote Miss Marples: “A weed is only a plant in a place you don’t want it to be.”
Don’t sleep in: Sleep as a time burglar? Hmmmm, you could always wake up a half hour early and write, or better yet, turn off the TV, get some more sleep and then wake up half an hour earlier to write. Do I do this? Are you whack? Of course not. I can barely drag my literary butt out of bed when the alarm goes off. Find what works for you.
Don’t waste pockets of time: Use your time at lunch to write. Eric Walters gave me some great advice. When he was a teacher he used to write during recess and lunch. He said always carry a notebook with you and even if you can only write one scene in 20 minutes, you’re that much further ahead. Sharon Siamon also gave me some great advice: cultivate a cranky personality, then people will leave you alone and you can write!
Don’t get sucked into spiraling vortexes of negativity: we all know to get negative people out of our lives. ‘Nuf said. Getting sucked into someone else’s spiraling vortex of negativity does nothing to help you as a writer.
Don’t Gossip: This is an emotionally useless time burglar of gargantuan time burgling proportions. It’s a lot of wasted emotional energy. Listen and observe with the writer’s eyes and ears how people gossip and the patterns of their dialogue, and try to ascertain their motivation. But don’t participate (see spiraling votext of negativity).
Don’t be unhealthy: I’m talking emotionally and physically. Eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, and human contact are important to being emotionally and physically healthy. Being refreshed and alert will help your writing.
What are your time burglars?
P.S.: Coronation Street and Bollywood movies are the opposite of media related time burglars. Watch, or read, something out of your usual genre to be aware of different genres and their devices, and to see what you can learn. (Spoiler alert for Canadian watchers of Coronation Street as the episodes are a bit behind the times in the colonies).