Friday, 16 April 2010

strapped myself to my desk


In a bid to curb my time-wasting-online habit I set myself a simple challenge: to sit at my desk, with the laptop on, plugged into the internet, and not use it for an hour (not use the internet, I mean). I opened up a word file of a story I've been enjoying tapping out and I tapped out and tapped about for a full hour, and when I wasn't tapping the keys I was writing out ideas in my notebook that was by my side.

Sometimes I have to really remind myself that writers should actually WRITE.

It worked, though I did have an urge to fact-check something, and thought of several facebook status updates that could make me sound cool/interesting, and decided I wanted to read all the book reviews of a book I read a few months ago right now. I didn't.

Maybe short concentrated bursts like that work for me. Lately, when I've set time aside to write, I haven't been that focused even though I've really wanted to be. Stupid really, the way I can actively NOT do the thing I really want to do.

I wrote 850 words, and drafted out a couple of ideas that could become pieces of writing at some point. Felt good, productive, useful.

Other stuff
Found this great place for flash fiction: Spilt Milk Magazine I like what they say they in their submissions guidelines:

We like people who can do unusual and arresting things with words, and who can do it well. We are swayed by tone more than content, and if you mesh the subtle and surreal into one seamless wonder, we’d love for you to send us a little something.

We do not like randomness for its own sake. We do not like self-consciously witty anecdotes, forced quirkiness, emotional outbursts, exclamation marks, or anything which smacks of trying-too-hard. We are less keen on things that rhyme, and squirm at the sight of words dotted around a page. Our eyes are lazy.

That said, we also like to be surprised by old things done well, or new things done with old things, so if you have written something that makes you feel oddly proud and excited, it’s always worth hitting us with something chancy.

I've sent something, so fingers are crossed. Have a read of Issue 2, which you can get here. I especially enjoyed this flash from Jane Roberts, Skinplicity/Skinplex.

I'm tres happy to be hosting a great post from Jenn Ashworth on Monday as part of my 'How you write' series. I'm halfway through Jenn's novel, A Kind of Intimacy, and it's so good.

Have a good weekend, y'all.


Jon Paul said...

I totally have the internet/focus problem. I get up early to write each morning (6:00-8:00) and I have a rule: no checking email, FB, or blog stuff. Just writing.

If I break that rule, then the whole day is lost. And I hate to report it does happen sometimes.

Looking forward to Jenn's post.

Rachel Fenton said...

All good! (Oops - very uncool use of exclamation mark!) (and again - clearly I am not meant to submit to that mag! Aaargh, it's a disease....

Rachel Fenton said...

PS Good luck with your submission :)

Elisabeth said...

I'm new to your blog, Teresa. I too struggle with this 'bad' online habit. How productive or otherwise is it. I find it both fuels my writing and impedes it. But it is great fun, however unsettling it can be. It's good to meet you here.

Teresa Stenson said...

Hello Jon - it's funny the demands we put on ourselves. Actually I shouldn't say 'we' as that's a bit presumptious. What I mean is from your comment, how you said the day is lost if you break that rule, I know what you mean, I sometimes feel like I've delved too much into 'other stuff', non-writing 'stuff', procrasination, etc, to do anything creative with the rest of my day. Which is a bit daft of me, I should be easier on myself, and harder too. What a trick to master. Thanks for commenting - glas you're looking forward to Jenn's post.

Rachel - ha, thanks!

Elisabeth - hello, and nice to meet you here too. I think, for me, I just have to force myself to stop the aimless browsing. Check emails, update blogs, read news, all that stuff is okay, but not if I'm doing it more than a couple of times a day. I have to remind myself it's in my power to not do it, then I feel a bit stupid.