May 29

Fighting My Email Addiction to Save My Writing

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Fighting My Email Addiction to Save My Writing | In the Garden of Eva
Friend of the blog, Eva Langston, talks about a painful subject: finding oneself constantly checking email, social media and the rest.

She even started to worry she was damaging her writing by her “addiction.” (On second thoughts, are the scare quotes even necessary?)

I don’t know anyone who feels fully comfortable with their interaction with their devices. And I like how Eva’s post insightfully points out the way that “checking email” is connected to feeling stuck or scared in a piece of writing. A moment of fear sends one’s mind away from the scene, the prose, scurrying to the safe pleasure of checking for updates and emails…

… do you know how often I check my email? I’d guess five or more times an hour. I’m no better than the old people. In fact, I’m a lot worse.

Because it’s not just my email. I also waste time checking facebook and Twitter. Thank god I don’t have Instagram or understand Snapchat — otherwise I’d probably be checking those, too.

What happens is this: I’ll be trying to write. I’ll get a little stuck on something, so I’ll take a quick break and check my email. Or I’ll write a page of my novel then have the random compulsion to scroll through facebook for a minute.

It’s gotten to be such a habit that I feel like I can’t focus on something for longer than fifteen minutes without “needing” to check email or facebook. I feel like I’m developing ADD the way I skip from one distraction to the next.

Email and facebook offer the sort of instant gratification that writing a novel does not. I can post a picture on facebook then check back in fifteen minutes to see if I’ve gotten any “likes” or comments. Or I can simply open my email inbox and new messages have appeared. Sure, most of them are junk, but there’s always the chance that there will be some good news in there – like an email from one of the agents I’m waiting to hear back from.

Basically, having email and facebook is like having an always-available slot machine at my disposal. And it doesn’t cost any money to pull the lever. It only costs time.

I like her solution a great deal: avoid email until noon. I’ve tried this one myself, some time ago, and it works very well, even if, in practice, noon often turns into 11.30am…

Read the whole post: Fighting My Email Addiction to Save My Writing | In the Garden of Eva


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