Writing Priorities

- Or Yet Another Excuse for Procrastination -

I have been thinking recently about how ‘new technologies’ – computers, tablets, cell phones, etc. – have affected my writing. The conclusion I have come to is this; computers and the like have made it so much easier and so much harder to sit down and write, and the difficulty of the task is directly tied to how interested I am in what I am writing.

As an example, over the summer, I wrote a 2000+ word essay on a pair of episodes in the podcast Welcome to Night Vale (if you venture off to read that, be warned; it is long and also has Spoilers). I was not required to write this essay – I just felt like it. ‘Incoherent Babbling’ was composed in about 2 hours, possibly 3 due to locating quotes.

By contrast, in freshman year I had to write a 500 – 750 word essay on the Scientific Revolution. That particular essay took me 4 hours to write.

I’m not proud of that, but it’s a good example of how inspiration or drive affects my ability to procrastinate. In the first example, I utilized the internet in order to locate quotes and discuss the topic with a few friends of mine. By contrast, in the latter example, I spent much of those 4 hours on Facebook, Tumblr, and YouTube, doing anything I could to avoid writing an essay that, frankly, bored me.

The problem lies when I am uninspired, but still need to write, like when I am working on a novel or a short story, and get distracted by videos of cats for three hours. New technologies have made it so much easier to do research for more creative pursuits, but they have also created the perfect procrastination tool. “One more Reddit post” or “Just one more video” are phrases I frequently tell myself when procrastinating, until I run out of time and have to do a rush job on whatever I am working on.

It’s a habit, and a bad one. But I am working on it.