Peripheral Writing Tasks

We all have evenings where we don’t feel like working on our main WIP. Sometimes we don’t even feel like stringing two sentences together. But being the neurotic people we are, we can’t always just take that as a day to watch television and recharge. Sometimes we have to convince ourselves that what we’re doing is still somehow contributing to the the whole writing project. Here are just a few of my favorite writing obfuscations:

Reading NetGalley Books – “Hey, I’ve got to review two of these things every week. If I want to spend the evening reading about the coffee drinking habits of bumblebees then that’s just research. Perfectly legit.”

Reorganizing my office – “A writer needs a clean workspace in order to be able to produce the best work. That, and I have no place to put my laptop.”

Talking about my book – “If I’m talking, I’m thinking, and if I’m thinking then I’m obviously talking about some plot point I needed to figure out and not just being neurotic about whether the book is any good and why hasn’t anybody bought it in two days.”

Reading Comic Books from the Library – “Glen Weldon of NPR said these are really good and therefore they can only benefit me as a writer. Plus we have to support our local libraries if we want to keep reader communities alive. And I support mine my checking out a comic no one else wants and renewing it for five months.”

Looking at Facebook – “I need to keep in touch with any of my writer friends by knowing what is going on in their lives. And they know I’ve done it, even if I never write anything or even press the like button. I’m not just looking for something funny to distract me.”

Creating a writing mix – “Music can have a profound effect on the brain and mood and I have to figure out just the right selection of tracks for this chapter.”

Watching YouTube – “I totally mention Big Chuck and Lil John for maybe a third of a page in Chapter 4. I obviously need to watch several hours of their videos to get a real sense for what they are.”

Playing a new video game – “Hey, I’ll probably review this if I ever finish it. Research again.”

Playing around on the internet while watching ‘The Bachelor’ out of the corner of my eye – “Research a third time. Need to understand the frailties of human nature and the things people will do for love. And watching the GOG insomnia sale helps build my patience for watching copies of a game slowly get sold. Obviously a discipline thing.”

Charging and updating my eReaders – “I need just the right assortment of reading material for when I go out in the world. And I need to make sure every device has an up-to-date draft of anything I’ve ever worked on, so I don’t even have to think about which one I should grab.”

Freeing up space on my hard drive – “I obviously need at least 30GB free to write, even though the largest any book has ever been is a couple of megabytes. But I might need space for thousands of fractal images again, copied three times on different devices.”

Watching TV – “If I don’t keep up on today’s pop culture, how can I be in tune with the now when I write?”

What are some of the writer-ish things you do? Why can’t we all just relax?

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