More Writing; Less Other Stuff

Writing. What do you do every day that doesn't contribute to your writing - and can you eliminate it?
 I do not watch TV every day. But when I watch TV, I am watching. T. V. Don't talk to me, don't ask me anything, don't bother me, don't stand in front of the TV to get my attention. Basically, I turn into a monster when I watch TV. You may address me during commercial breaks, with caution. I also like to watch hours at the time. I can't just watch an hour of television. It turns into a four or five hour couch fest, sometimes involving ice cream. Now, like I said before, I don't watch TV everyday, but it's a seriously prohibitive activity for me. As in, it prohibits any other activity.

Can I eliminate this distraction that keeps me from spending time with words? Yup. Just last night on the way home from work, Kenny and I decided that we would cancel our TV service for the next year. It's going to be such a relief, really. Our last day with the TV is Saturday!

I also spend an enormous amount of time reading. I read books, (I read 5 last month, I think), I read a multitude of blogs, I read articles and magazines. Basically, I'll read whatever I can get my hands on. Now, one of the dangers of reading is that no one is going to tell a writer to stop reading. But there are seasons of reading and writing. Any writer will acknowledge that you have to fill up, then produce, then refill. I think to create good art, you have to be consuming good art.  However, my reading season has expired. It has now become a substitution for writing. I use the fact that I am reading beautiful, thought-provoking, fabulous stuff as a justification. Consider: who is going to judge me for reading Bronte's Villette or Wharton's Age of Innocence? Who would deny me my Kurt Vonnegut or Graham Greene or Dave Eggers or Mary Oliver? No one. However, there is a time for everything.

Can I eliminate reading? Nope. And I don't know that it's an option. It's built into me. I come equipped with a psychological need to read. Parts of me start to wither and shrink when I'm not reading. But it is time to eliminate reading as an excuse for writing. I'm going to set a time to do each and not allow my reading to substitute for writing. As Solomon wrote so long ago:

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hat,
a time for war and a time for peace."

I'd like to add a time for reading and a time for writing to the list.

This post is part of reverb10 and was written in response to the daily prompt. Why don't you join me in reflecting on 2010 and deciding what you want from 2011? 


December is Here

I am beyond thrilled that it's December 1st. I love the holiday season and this year, I'm going home for Christmas! It's been a while since I spent a Christmas at home, and this will be the first time Kenny experiences Christmas American/Buckley style. There are so many things that I need to get done, that I need to accomplish, that I need to finish before we fly out on the 18th.

But instead of falling into the frenzy of the season, I'm going to attempt to mindfully reflect on what this year has been for me and what I want next year to be. That's where reverb10 comes in. If you don't know what that is, go here and check it out. I'll wait.....

2010 in one word.


I made excuses for all my faults (after seeing just how base I could be). I look back on all my "plans" and "schedules" and I see that I succeeded at almost nothing. In August, I set a goal to vlog everyday. And I did. So, I felt a renewed sense of discipline and personal potential. But it seemed to die after that. And vlogging? It was an amazing experience and I'm thankful for the community I got to be a part of. But I didn't allow that experience to seep into any other parts of my life. I didn't carry that motivation into any other work.

I think before December is over, I'll have accomplished one other goal I've set (crafting a serious present for a special someone. Shhhh!), but that's about it. Kenny and I actually talk about this year as one we'd rather forget. Nothing terrible happened to us. Actually, it was an okay year. But nothing great happened either. And the sad thing is, it could have. It so could have. There were a million great things just waiting for me to move, to get started, to have some initiative, to get up. I've battled with a lot of self-revelation, self-loathing, and self-indulgence this year, in that order.

One word for 2011.


I want to live next year to the fullest. I want to look back at the end of the year and not be able to tally up all the things I put my mind to and accomplished. Even small things will be taken seriously. Because that's where all important things start; a germ. A seed so tiny you can't imagine anything of worth being contained within it. I want to see the fullness of possibilities. I want to be fully disciplined and fully determined to make every second of the year count. I don't want to keep looking at other people's lives and wishing mine away. I want to be full of appreciation for what I have been given, for what I am able to do. Even if 2011 finds me as lost and unmoored as 2010, I don't want it to be an excuse for not creating something out of that experience. Whatever and wherever I find myself, I want to make something out of it. Not everything has to be perfect or 100% brilliant. It just has to be earnest and attempted. That's what I want for next year. That's what I want for every year.

What about you? What's your word for 2010? 2011?
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