Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Fine Art of Procrastination

I have never considered myself a disciplined writer. When I'm on, I "fly", when I'm not, I procrastinate. Technology has been a significant enabler to my exquisitely honed skills in this regard.

I discovered the internet when I was still in Sydney circa 1997-98 and soon thereafter the joy of chat rooms. The feature script The Tangled Web was born from many personal experiences, suitably exaggerated for dramatic effect. Just when I thought I had escaped the tedium of chat, along comes MySpace followed a little while later by the ultimate procrastination device, Facebook. Thankfully, I regard Twitter as the first sign of the Apocalypse and have resisted its facile brevity.

But there's just no getting around it - I have an addiction. And like any addiction it, at times, cripples my productivity and creativity. I suspect it is because all of the above are writers' mediums. Online, the power of language and the written word allows me to be an extrovert whereas in real life I am anything but.

I have struggled with this over the years much to my friends' amusement and my dismay. Internet addiction is a growing phenomena but not as well understood as more traditional forms. Tonight I deactivated my Facebook account (not the first time, perhaps for the last) as I've not been focussing on my writing projects while I'm on holidays. And that makes me angry and stressed.

Part of me laments all the talented and interesting friends I've "abandoned" but that's mostly the addiction speaking. I need to do this for me to get back on track with the things I am most passionate about - namely my writing.

Someone suggested I only log in for an hour a day as a "treat". That reminded me of the great scene from The West Wing below where Leo McGarry explains what it means to be an alcoholic. John Spencer won an Emmy, in large part for his performance in this episode. I know exactly what Leo means ...

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