Thursday, January 10, 2008

Podcasts, the gym, and other distractions

Why am I not writing as much as I want to? Well, here are a few reasons:


Yes, I may be the last person in the Western World, but finally I too am the proud owner of a cute little just-bigger-than-an-aspirin iPod Nano 3G. I resisted for so long, but then succumbed because I realised that working out in the new gym I just joined (more on that later) would be a lot more bearable with my own music rather than the booming soundtrack the gym favours. Little did I know that it wouldn't be music that I would be listening to but... Podcasts. How amazing they are! In a few days I have found the BBC Radio 5 Book Panel with Simon Mayo, Guardian Books Podcast, the NewYorker Fiction podcasts, Radio 4 Front Row Highlights,, the NY Times Book update, the NewScientist podcast,
, Ny Times Talks, and the The BBC World service World Book Club!

Heaven... There I am on the treadmill, pounding away, an interview with Phillip Pullman going on in my head, or giggling to Simon Mayo and friends reviewing a book about Genghis Khan, or Jumpa Lahiri reading and discussing a William Trevor short story that was published in the NewYorker thirty years ago.

The thing is, I pretend that this is all research. It's book talk, isn't it? Writers, readers, reviews.... But when does it become all research and no writing? This is dangerous stuff, this podcasting business. Will the novelty wear off?

The Gym

This is also dangerous, and not because I might pull something. No... it's dangerous because that little voice in my head says, Oh no, you can't write now, you have to go and get fit, nothing more important than that. Well, actually, there is something that is just as important to me. Going to the gym might make me feel good, boost my mood, take a few cms off the hips, but it wears me out, doesn't exactly ready me for a good hour or two's writing. It's distraction, wrapped up as something else.

Yes, writing this blog is also distraction, but I only allowed myself to do it after I had written the beginning of something new (that I then deleted by mistake but actually was quite happy about, since it wasn't going anywhere, but it served its purpose by getting the juices flowing), edited one story and submitted it, and started rewriting another story as a flash (love doing this... it really helps). Discipline. I need more of it.

What stops you from writing?

OK, back to it.


Anne Brooke said...

I've got an iPod - I just don't use it. The battery ran down - possibly!! and we never recharged it. I also never turn on my mobile, and we don't have a microwave or a dishwasher.

We're so old-fashioned!



Sam Hilliard said...

I'm wrestling with the gym versus writing dilemma as well. For now working out is ahead by a bit. Too much lard clinging to the frame from Russia still...