Category Archives: reading

Therapy…or Just an Excuse to Watch TV?

Hello (waves) and welcome! I’m excited to be participating in this blog hop via Writer Therapy. My blog is kinda like the new kid right now: very shy but desperate to make friends!

I like this idea of “writing therapy”–it makes procrastination (especially my procrastination) seem more acceptable some how. Like I’m doing something instead of avoiding doing what I should be doing (which we all know is putting proverbial–or real if you roll that way–pen to paper and writing like there’s no tomorrow). And if I’m really savvy about my choice of writing therapy, I can actually convince myself that it’s some sort of “homework assignment” meant to help me grow as a writer.

Right?

When I’m not writing, you can find me in one of three places:

  1. On Twitter
  2. Parked in front of the TV watching Netflix via the XBox 360
  3. Reading in bed

I know, I know. At least two of these are Really Bad Forms of Procrastination and should totally earn me a Writer’s Dunce Cap or maybe some sort of Bad Human Award. I’ll admit, freely and up front, that BOTH Twitter and Netflix are two of the largest time sucks. I mean, you start with one episode of Doctor Who or Downton Abbey via Instant Watch and next think you know, it’s 3 o’clock in the morning and you’ve forgotten to feed the cats all day… 

But I digress. Let me start at the bottom of my list with perhaps the most obvious of therapies: reading in bed.

Reading in bed has always, for me, been a way to unwind at the end of the day. It’s a way for me to take all the worries and stresses that accumulated during the day and just not so much forget about them, but rather not focus on them. It’s like Yoga for my mind.

TV is similar, in that it’s really easy to plop down on the couch and just shuffle all my woes to the back of my mind for a few hours. But here’s where TV becomes a bit more instructional. Because TV is meant to be digested in short bursts (the average TV episode is about 50 minutes long and an average movie is about two hours) vs. books, which take hours to read (if read in one sitting) or days/weeks if read a chapter (or two) at a time. In a compact amount of time, one can view an entire story, or nearly an entire story. If one is a savvy viewer/multi-tasker, a few hours in front of the boob tube becomes an opportunity to delve into structures of storytelling!

Last, but not least… Twitter. Raise your hand if you open your Twitter account to “quickly check” Tweets only to find, when you come up for air, that two or three hours have whooshed right on by? (Don’t be shy… raise your hand!).  I’ll admit, I’m a Twitter addict. I currently freelance write form home and it’s really easy to keep Twitter open in a browser (and I do).  But what I’ve done is custom tailored my Twitter feed to include *mostly* writers, agents, editors, publishing houses, and industry insiders. Sure, I have a small smattering of friends and an even smaller smattering of news outlets and  public figures that I follow but I’ve purposefully kept it small… like of the 372 people/entities I follow, about  120 are friends, news entities, or public figures. That means that roughly 250 are book writing and publishing related. I also follow a small number of publishing/writing hashtags like #pubtip, #editortips, #amwriting, #writing, or #writetip for insider tips and, in the case of the last on, chats with writers and agents. There’s an extensive list of hashtags for writers here.

For me, my writing therapies are about maximizing my time. If I’m not physically banging out a story, I’m thinking about the intricacies of structure, character development, or other elements of writing.

Tricky, no?

Currently:

  • Reading: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making, by Catherynne M. Valente; Some Kind of Fairy Tale, by Graham Joyce
  • Watching:  Revenge, Boardwalk Empire, Alias
  • Tweeting: all sorts of stuff! (find me @tinapickles)