#reverb10 prompt day 2: What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

I read. I love to read. And when I read, especially online, it’s so easy to get engrossed and sucked into the winding rabbit hole of clicking link after link. Eliminating the reading doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. A lot of times I get ideas from reading, or come across a new person who I find inspiring. Lately I have been trying to set some ground rules for reading. So for example, when I started reading Women Food and God, I would allow myself to read a certain number of pages and then write about what I just read — so the reading functioned as a writing prompt. Also. Reading online is not allowed until the end of the day when my brain is too fried for much of anything else. Eliminate reading? I don’t think so. More like structure it.

I chat. Not as in person to person, or even voice to voice. OK, sometimes to myself, yes, but I mean online chatting. I do this mostly with my boyfriend on-and-off during the day. There are days I’m able to keep it to a minimum — I won’t get online until the afternoon, or after I’ve completed x,y,z (ahem…my writing quota for the day). It’s just hard, because sometimes there are things I think to ask him during the day that I probably will forget if I have to wait until the end of the day when I see him. And sometimes I want him to read something for me real quick. Also we are partners on this fun project and so sometimes I have to run stuff by him when it comes up. Do you see what I mean? Eliminating this one would be hard, too. Whaa. But I can certainly try to limit it. I think.

I putz. This word I will use for all-encompassing tasks like trying to figure out how to embed a PayPal button onto a website, or emptying the dishwasher, or refreshing my coffee, or changing up the music on the iPod, or picking up dust-bunnies from the hardwood floor, or making sure all the event dates are current and publicized, or keeping track of folks I’ve emailed and need to follow up with. I guess those are the necessary-but-evil ancillary tasks of running a business multiple businesses. So I can’t really eliminate these completely either, but I’m working on batching.

I doubt. It’s no secret that I’ve been battling mild depression this year. So the thing that most gets in the way of writing is myself. The single most unproductive behavior I engage in is doubting my God-given abilities. It’s why I read, chat and putz around instead of write. Those other things let me trick myself into thinking that I “don’t have time” to write. Or that “there are more important, pressing matters to take care of first.” First. That word keeps me from writing because there are so many other things I need to do first. And then if I never get to the writing, oh well, no one would want to read what I write anyway and there’s hundreds of other writers out there writing about the same stuff and writing better than I could too and anyway there’s always tomorrow. And the whole cycle starts all over again.

How can I eliminate the doubting? For starters, I write. And then take a deep breath and realize that this is a question I’ll be attempting to answer for the rest of my life.

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