I participate in a dozen different “daily” websites. And by “participate”, I mean that I get a daily reminder and wish fervently that I had time to actually do something about it.
There’s 750words.com which taunts me with my inability to write something every day. I signed up for the June challenge – write 750 words every day in June. I missed June 1, and so the incentive has largely evaporated.
There’s http://dailyshoot.com/ which gives me great ideas for photos I’ll never take, and shows me photos by hundreds of other photographers that I’ll never be able to measure up to, due at least in part to their willingness to spend thousands of dollars on a hobby that is, to me, well, just a hobby.
There’s http://www.dailymugshot.com/ which is a neat idea, but usually by the time I remember to do it, my laptop is already “docked” and connected to the large screen, and so the laptop camera is no longer accessible. So I get maybe 2 photos a week on that site. It’s fascinating to watch your face change over the course of a few months. Fascinating, and a little eerie. Am I really getting old that fast?
There are a plethora of daily/weekly/whatever poetry sites or general writing sites that give a prompt and encourage you to write something based on that prompt. I even run one of these sites – http://weekendwordsmith.blogspot.com/ – and haven’t posted anything to it in months.
Most mornings I have two hours between getting up and going to work. I get up that early because we have to get our son to the bus stop. Today, however, is the last day of school, and I’ll probably not be getting up quite that early during the summer. But even then, that time seems to vanish into nothing. That nothing consists largely of reading the news, blogs, twitter, facebook, and other things that I could probably do just fine without. And a lot of email. Email is the largest time-sink in my life. I get hundreds of email messages a day. And that’s way down from the thousands of messages a day I used to get. I’ve jettisoned dozens of mailing lists that I never so much as looked at. I’ve retained only the ones that I thing that I really should be on – mostly relating to various aspects of the Apache Software Foundation – and I still can’t read even as much as a quarter of the email that I receive. I frankly don’t know how anybody manages to read all the traffic on the the board and members and incubator mailing lists, much less respond to so much of it. Do they not have jobs? Do they never sleep?
Then there are the more passive daily things. Word of the day. The other word of the day. Yet another word of the day. The day’s comic strips. The day’s FailBlog, The daily Sci Fi at http://www.365tomorrows.com/ and the daily (or twice-daily, or thrice-daily) posting at http://www.wired.com/geekdad/.
And by the time 9 rolls around, I’ve accomplished nothing of consequence. I’ve consumed another two hours of drivel, and produced nothing.
I’ve really got to stop this.
Of course, what I’ve done in writing this is probably grossly counter-productive – I’ve introduced you, my loyal reader, to more sites that will suck your time away. On the other hand, I wrote it on the 750 Words website, so I at least wrote my 750 words for today.
This summer, I intend to cut back on my input, and increase my output. I’m going to drop some of the sites that I try frantically to follow, but don’t get much out of, and devote more time to producing – whether that’s finally writing the novel I’ve been working on for five years, or finishing the project to rewrite the mod_rewrite documentation, or get around to writing my book on Open Source documentation, I’ve got to stop wasting quite so much time drinking in worthless drivel – or even valuable drivel – and more time creating.
If I might be forgiven for quoting something from one of my own poems – completely out of context, I might add:
All we can do to combat this idiocy
is to create as much beauty
as we possibly can in the brief moment we are here,
So, in the hour I have before work, I need to try to write something worthwhile, even if nobody ever reads it.