This year has been one of change and adaptation. We moved home at the beginning of 2015 and that meant certain changes were inevitable, of course. It also meant many distractions took my mind off my writing. The house and garden needed, and continue to need, attention to make this our home rather than a house we’ve moved into. I trained for the Great North Run, taking up a lot of my time and energy. I joined an art group as a way of exercising my visual creativity. And I acted as taxi driver for my wife and, more recently, my daughter. I also joined a new writing group, since it’s no longer practical for me to make the journey to Hornsea, now over 200 miles distant! I’m still in touch with the old gang there via the wonders of the electronic net we all subscribe to, but I now attend a new group here in the Forest.
All this has impacted on my pattern of work for my writing. I don’t resent this, but I’ve reached the point where I can now make new changes to help me prioritise my time and spend more of it writing rather than engaging in peripheral roles and activities.
Timing, they say, is everything. It’s only partly coincidental that I came across a couple of features online that have both stimulated and motivated my change of direction now. One post discussed the physical damage that multitasking can inflict on our brains. You can access that piece here, and I strongly suggest you read it, for your own brain health. Like all addictions, our reliance on online networking can be destructive. The other post appeared on a website I visit frequently; a guest piece by Renee Vaughn on the inimitable John Yeoman’s blog at Writers’ Village, which you can access here. Have a look, and maybe join the discussion. John and Renee will both welcome your comments.
The outcome is that I’ve decided, as from tomorrow, to return to my old habit of writing first thing, as soon as I rise from the arms of Morpheus. That way, I tap into the most creative part of my day and frequently produce streams of words that actually show promise and even sometimes make sense.
All networking and associated technical jobs that surround my writing will then be allocated an hour a day, after I’ve finished writing. Writing includes, of course, my blog posts and reviews. Anything else that doesn’t get done in that hour won’t get done. That means it will take me a while to institute the much-lauded writer’s email list, which I’m currently trying to launch via MailChimp. It also means my trial of Scrivener, the recommended software for writers, will have to be tried on the hoof. Friends tell me the software is worth the effort but the online manual, a guide in PDF format some 546 pages in length, seems daunting to say the least. I shall, nevertheless attempt to employ the program in my next writing project and hope I can pick up the necessary knowledge as I go along.
I hope friends and readers will understand my changes in activity. I’m determined to break the addiction that networking has become and to return to creating via the written word.
It may be worth examining your own activities to discover whether you’re similarly addicted to what may well be harmful habits. It won’t be easy. But no shift from habit is easy. Whether it’s worthwhile, only time will tell. Good luck to those who choose to make the necessary changes.