I check my e-mail around ten times a day. Actually, I have two e-mail accounts so that’s twenty checks per day. Then there are the different social networking sites I log onto two or three times a day. I frequently stop what I am doing to read the news online. All in all, I probably spent more time on the internet than I do writing. And even when I am seriously writing, I keep having to go online to look up random facts.
Then, today, the network went down. Yay! Finally I could concentrate on my work without any distractions. Not so. Every ten minutes I had to check if there was a connection. I restarted my computer several times to see if that would help. It didn’t. I tried to work on a short story but I was convinced that I was wasting my time. How could I possibly write anything worth reading if I wasn’t able to consult the online thesaurus or check that there was indeed such a thing as a steel mortuary table?
Thankfully, someone came to fix the problem and the internet was up and running again by lunchtime. At last I was able to get on with my writing! But not until I had checked my e-mail first.
My life is very unstructured at the moment and I think that is impeding my writing. If I define regular working hours for myself I may be more productive. So no more nonsense from now on. I am going to write every morning from 9-12. There will be no checking of e-mails, messing around on the internet or reading of magazines until lunchtime. The internet especially is a huge distraction for me. My intentions are always good: I just want to check the lunar calendar or read how air raid shelters are constructed or find out what the penalty is for speeding (all research for my novel) and next thing you know, an hour has passed and I’ve checked my e-mails twice and read up about all my favourite celebs on Wikipedia and still not found the information I need for my novel. Well, enough is enough. My new motto is going to be: write first, research later.
And another thing: I’m going to set writing goals for myself. By the end of the weekend I want to have written 50 000 words of my novel and by the end of the year I want a complete first draft. It doesn’t have to be good, it doesn’t have to be coherent, but everything has to be there. Also, I have a folder of partially written short stories and I aim to have redrafted and polished two of them by the end of this year. No more messing around!