Saturday, May 21, 2011

In which I have a revelation

This is the story of how I realized that one of my very favourite things was ruining my life. OK, that's being kind of dramatic, but it's really not far from the truth. It all started when Iwatched this video by the ever awesome Charlieissocoollike.

So maybe you watched this video and thought, 'Yeah, duh! EVERYONE knows that.' I watched this video and realized that Twitter is evil. Or at least, seriously bad for me. My addiction (and I do think it's an addiction) had become so extreme that I was checking Twitter after every sentence I wrote. This is clearly not a very efficient way of achieving your (measly) word count target of 1000 words a day.

I started the new book on Tuesday and I wrote 1000 words. This took me all day, what with all the Twitter/FB/email/other random internet stuff.

Same deal on Wednesday and Thursday. I wrote some words, but I was flailing. It felt like I'd started the story in the wrong place, I had no idea who the characters were... it. was. all. disjointed. and. a. bit. crap.

Then I watched Charlie and KAPOW! I realized I could shut down Twitter. A miraculous discovery, don't you think? So that's exactly what I did. For a whole hour yesterday morning. I'm not going to lie, I was kind of twitchy at first. (And when I say 'kind of', I mean 'VERY'.) But I persevered and wrote some words. Then I wrote some more. And before I knew it, an hour had passed and I'd written just over 1000 words. Yes, my entire day's word count in a single hour and the story had started to flooooooooow. So I went back on Twitter for half an hour. It was still there. I hadn't missed anything. The world hadn't ended. I went dark for another hour, which resulted in another 1000 words. Two days' work in two hours. Man, I felt like a right muppet. I was all 'So THIS is how writers manage get their work done! Why didn't anyone tell me?!'

That's how I used to write, pre-Twitter. AND MY GOODNESS IT FELT GOOD. I've done the same thing this morning - another 1k down. I might go for another hour soon. It's hopefully the start of a new regime for me. Even if I don't do it every day, at least I know it's possible. And that's enough.

So, thanks Charlie! And thanks to the brilliant Kaz Mahoney, who's hosting the Spring into Summer writing challenge over on her blog. I'm woefully behind on the word count for the challenge, since I started nine days late. But it doesn't matter. It's nice to hang out with people who are trying to churn out the words, just like me.

Writing can be a lonely business, which is probably why lots of us love Twitter so much. We get to hang out with our colleagues with the added bonus of not having to change out of your jammies if you don't want to. But I need to find some balance in my life if I'm going to make a career of this writing malarkey, and this week I feel one step closer to doing exactly that.

If you feel like joining me in the whole 'switching off Twitter to get stuff done' thing, the hashtag is #goingdark. Come... join me on the dark side. You know you want to.

This post was brought to you by The School of the Bleeding Obvious. Thanks for listening.


  1. I don't think I'd be able to survive if Twitter was somehow closed for even a MINUTE. Maybe this is why I keep getting Bs in school. And why my WIP is being neglected. *hides*

  2. Twitter is definitely addictive! Maybe you should treat it like a diet. Like weightwatchers - you have so many points after you've written so many words! Not that I'm particularly strict with the dieting - but you might be more disciplined. Anyway, really loved Entangled. So, stay away from Twitter and give us book No.2. Please. :D

  3. Yes, I know this problem well. I have learned to reward myself with Twitter and to not go on until I had written a chapter each day. But now I have a BIG problem. I have finished the first draft and I have no fricking idea what I'm doing on this edit. It scares me much more than just typing the story as I have been following a chapter by chapter plan. Now I have no plan. No clue how to conquer Mr Plot Hole. Any advice gratefully received! I have lost my way and I am feeling very sorry for myself.

  4. Iffath: Go on, try it... I dare you!

    Lynn: Liking the idea of a points system! So glad you enjoyed ENTANGLED. I'm busy working on book number three now - book two is in the bag.

    Becky: I can understand why you're feeling a little overwhelmed! Have you tried reading the whole ms WITHOUT a red pen in hand? Just reading it like a book (maybe on Kindle)? The answer to Mr Plot Hole might just jump out and surprise you! Sorry you're feeling blue about it. You could always put the ms away and work on something else for a while? The answer might come to you when you're busy thinking about another story... worth a try anyway. Good luck, my dear!

  5. Haha...the school of the bleeding obvious...Oh.So.True. I go to a friend's house to work and I won't let her tell me the internet security code. And I give her my phone.

  6. Keren: I like your style! What next? A straitjacket?! Typing could be tricky...

  7. I'm also rather addicted to my email. And... blogging. (Hence.) I don't actually have a blog (my mom doesn't let me get one) but that's kind of a good thing considering how much I already blog/go on email/go on Goodreads/Youtube.

    Well done, Cat. I know the temptation is difficult to overcome, and I'm glad you're finally taking the first steps toward that... now I'm guilty. I need to get off of the internet!!!

    I love Charlieissocoollike.

    And now I've realized I should delay the time when I decide to get a Twitter account for as long as possible because obviously it's not going to do wonders for my writing life. ;)

  8. Hi Cat, your advice helped. In fact I did the exact opposite. I am good like that. I went in to the garden yesterday afternoon with just my favourite notebook and a green pen. The pen saved the day. I solved one of my three problems and I think it has helped shift some of the thunder cloud over my head. So yay! Thanks!!!!

  9. Well, this is cool. Since the past few (2?) weeks I've really started to LOVE Charlieissocoollike! I put a video of him on my blog, just to spread da word. He's awesome.

    I'm glad you're writing more! Just the feeling of accomplishment feels so good! Keep writing, Cat!! =D

  10. I think we are all twitter addicts. And I agree that things do get done if we switch it off lol but I am afraid I will miss something important like #bookbattleships lol