The Distraction of Other Writing


Anyone following or occasionally checking in on this blog will know that I’ve been blogging according to a simple rule: post something every day. Four weeks in, this has not been so difficult because I’ve been writing for more than twenty years and I have a lot of previously written material (some published, some unpublished) from novels, to articles, to book reviews, to poems. And the whole idea of this blog is to house all my writing in one place so that if anyone wants to read it, it’s all right here.

However, I’ve now spent a lot of time learning how to blog, setting up the blog, writing blog posts with brand new material, searching out old material and scheduling posts so that they appear each day at the same time. And I’ve spent exactly no time writing the novel that I am currently in the middle of constructing. This writing is distracting me from that writing. In fact, it’s more than distracting me. It’s making me ignore my novel-in-progress completely.

Which got me thinking. Does it matter that I’m distracted from writing my novel and spending all my time on the blog? Isn’t the important thing that I’m writing, regardless of what it is that I’m writing?

I have a little reminder in my phone and the alarm comes on at seven o’clock every night asking, “Have you written 1,000 words today?” 1,000 words is the arbitrary target I have set as a good day’s worth of writing. Often when I am focused on writing my novel, the answer is invariably, “No.” I either haven’t made it to the target or I haven’t written anything at all. But over the last few weeks, focused on the blog, the answer has invariably been, “Yes.” Okay, it’s not the writing that I was intending to do but I am writing nonetheless. And what makes one kind of writing any more important that another kind? Really, the answer is that the only thing that makes one kind of writing any more important that another kind is the (again) arbitrary priority I assign it in my head.

In my head (not always the greatest of places to be) I don’t really associate the blog with the possibility of being able to support myself financially with my writing. It’s great for awareness but lousy for monetary returns. In contrast, I think of my novels as having the potential to propel me from writer with a second job to writer who doesn’t need to have a second job. So, logically, shouldn’t I spend more (or all) of my time working on the writing with the best chance of providing me with what I want? Of course, awareness of my novels may help with this, making the blog important as well and round and round I go in my head (I told you it wasn’t a fun place to be).

All these musings are really just a procrastinating lead in to this: I am finishing my current second job at the end of February to become just a writer again (Kermit arms!). And while I would like to continue posting something every day (and I have pre-scheduled a post every second day for March and April), there may very likely come a time I might choose to post something weekly instead and spend the majority of my writing time on my novel in the unlikely but highly motivating event that it in some way contributes to not having to get a second job again. (Fat chance!)

Wish me luck!


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