Do you feel guilty while wasting time during your writing day?
I’ve just read the results of a survey where workers across many different occupations indicated that the average worker wasted 1.7 hours per day while they were at work. That’s 102 minutes every day. And for that to be an average, some were wasting far more – some as much as 3 or more hours per day. While employers might find these results staggering, many respondents indicated that boredom and not having enough to do were high on their lists of reasons. That must give employers some room for creative thinking, planning and changes to the work day and environment. You can read a report of the survey here.
Do you find yourself wasting time during your writing day?
I do. I check my email, Facebook, Twitter and favourite websites several times during the day. Generally this is a waste of precious writing time. I’ve learned to… let me correct that… I’m learning to limit how many times each day I access my email and social networking sites. I’ve streamlined my email in-box so emails now go into categorized folders. Some need to be dealt with quickly, others can wait and some newsletters may get read if I have time.
Unless it is research, or the distraction moves your writing project along, it is wasted time. But when I do read my emails or check those social networking sites I am trying not to be too guilty about it. Writing is a lonely occupation and I need some contact with the outside world each day. I find some of my Facebook friends, for example, quite stimulating and they are also very encouraging. I need that. They cheer me on – and I cheer them on with their WIP.
It’s all about priorities I guess.
Quite often I get readers of this blog leaving questions in the comments section. That is great and I appreciate the feedback and try to help people with their writing problems.
Occasionally I also get readers leaving ideas from which I can benefit too. This is also great. Louise was one such reader today. Here is what she wrote:
You’ve just solved my problem! I have lots of short stories written – but with no ending! I get ideas for stories but then they sort of fizzle out.
Just for fun, I am going to create my own ‘final sentences’ and maybe something will click and maybe, they’ll trigger more ideas for short stories!
It must be a little discouraging to have lots of unfinished stories. Please, please, please don’t throw them away. They could well be the seeds of longer works later.
Another suggestion is to leave an unfinished story filed away for a few weeks or even months, then come back to it with almost “fresh” eyes and ears. You read that correctly – EARS. Read the unfinished story out loud – better yet – get someone you trust to read it to you. That story will have been ticking away in your subconscious for ages and might well be ready to mature into a complete story. The creative mind can be quite amazing at times.
Another suggestion: a commonly used technique is to ask the simple question: “What happens next?” or even “What if…?”
And how about “interviewing” your main character? You might be surprised what that character will say, or come up with.
You could also ask yourself the question: “What does the main character really want? What motivates her? How will he get what he wants? And what or who is hindering fulfilling those wants or desires? These could be triggers to get you writing again.
Hope this all helps.
Related article: Short story endings