Two weeks ago, my first novel sold. I've had other projects since I first wrote that sucker, including some magazine pieces and two additional novels, one of which I'm trying to finish. I'm on sabbatical from my "real" job (as a professor of communication/writing), so theoretically I have tons of time. Only I find that the days just slip away from me. What occupies my time? Well, there's talking to my mom on the phone, checking my work email, exercising, cleaning every now and then, cooking dinner, reading, shopping occasionally, etc. Yet if I add all that up, it doesn't take more than a couple of hours a day. And I have about fourteen other waking hours. What gives?
I'll tell you what gives. I've discovered my great time suck: the Internet. I don't really accomplish anything when I'm immersed in it, nor do I get great joy out of mindlessly surfing, reading bits of news stories, visiting blogs, checking Facebook to see what's up with that one person I've never even met in real life. In fact, I feel worse after spending an hour or more just doing nothing. Think of all I could have done away from my computer! I could have cured cancer by now!
I've discovered a way to beat this Web addiction, though. I use a timer and force myself to write for twenty minutes. No interruptions allowed. (If my husband comes running into my office to tell me that his office clock ticks too loudly and we need to buy a new one immediately, I pause the timer. Exceptions are allowed for emergencies.) At the end of twenty minutes, I get ten minutes of random zone-out surfing. I still waste a lot of time this way, but I am productive. By the end of this sabbatical, I should have a nice stack of writing completely done.
- Christine Seifert
- I am a native North Dakotan, a professor at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a YA writer. My first book, The Predicteds, is due out from Sourcebooks Fire in September. I'm represented by Alyssa Eisner Henkin of Trident Media Group. When I'm not writing or teaching writing, I'm an avid reader and an enthusiastic listener of podcasts (especially podcasts about books). I'm a fan of taking long walks on sunny days, browsing through the library on Saturday afternoons, and watching embarrassingly bad TV at any time. My favorite color is lunch.