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? 
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