Bad Habits

The past week has been weird. I tried to get a lot done but couldn’t. I was sick for several days and I guess that might have cut into the work I had to do. When you’re tired and you ache you don’t really want to jump into work, not even sitting at a computer, but I think it was more than that. For a week I had sort of a mental malaise. I sat in front of my computer, like I was doing work or at the very least thinking about doing work, but I didn’t actually do much. I was so close to the computer that it felt like I was at least attempting to do something, sometimes folding my arms and closing my eyes as if I was concentrating on an idea and how I should attack it, but then at the end of the day I would hit the power button on the MacBook and realize, hey, I didn’t really get anything done today. I repeated this for several days in a row.

Maybe part of the problem is Twitter. I love Twitter, but there’s a danger. In my browser I can keep any page I want open in a permanent tab tucked away in the corner. Instead of opening a new tab to go to a page you visit every day, you just click on the tab and you’re there, like your clock or your calendar or your weather app. It occurred to me that having Twitter constantly open in that permanent tab was a ridiculous, even dangerous thing for a writer.

Having Twitter open on your computer all the time is like being on a diet, only you’ve rigged your ceiling to drop delicious Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups into your lap every seven minutes. Why would you do something like that?

Twitter seems to feed into all of the bad habits that writers already have – procrastination, being easily distracted, promoting work or potential work instead of actually, you know, working – and made it all 500x worse. Twitter is still great, and I’ll keep on using it, but you have to use it wisely. It’s better to make it a destination – something you actually have to take a few moments to get to – and not have its seductions open in front of you all the time.

3 thoughts on “Bad Habits

  1. I’m that way with my email. It’s ALWAYS open and I keep an eye on the number constantly, even when I’m working. When it goes up, I stop what I’m doing and check it. 😦

  2. Totally agree on Twitter. I’ve been on self-imposed Twitter exile for 2 weeks. I’ve slipped a couple times, but for the most part, I’ve stayed away — nothing like the huge gobs of time I once spent on it.

    not only is it a great time-waster, I felt like it was fracturing my ability to concentrate on something for more than a few seconds at a time. This joke, that link, that conversation — very little value added, and a huge cost to time and focus.

    found your blog through USA Today — Great job as the guest blogger.


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