Save Tonight

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about ways to avoid wasting time. This one hits pretty close to home for me, because I often go to bed thinking that I should’ve done more with my hours. It’s more frustration than regret; did I really have to spend that time on a gaming podcast? Did I really have to go on that epic Wikipedia binge covering the history of Japan’s emperors?

…Not necessarily. But it was still fascinating!

Anyway, I fare much better when I know there’s a deadline looming. I try to get stuff done reasonable early, so I know I’ve got all my bases covered. However, I’ve found that I thrive more under pressure. Some of my best reviews were written in a single sitting in the early morning hours, without so much as a thought towards editing. Doubt is a big factor in writing; it keeps you critical of your work, but it can be utterly paralyzing if left unchecked. So, I just let myself get to the point of not caring, and just write. Get the words on the screen, and sort out the mess later. The results are usually better than I’d expect, and there are many triumphant see-that-wasn’t-so-bad-after-all moments after it’s edited. All writers – if not all people – have some kind of an inner critic. If I can get mine to stay quiet long enough, the words can flow out of my fingers unabated.

I also try to keep my workspace clean. It’s easier to concentrate if my desk isn’t cluttered with stuff. I usually just have my laptop and some tea. If I’m covering a video game or a book, I’ll have it somewhere within reach. Not only does it make referencing easier, but it serves as a physical reminder of what I’m supposed to be doing. If it’s the holiday season and companies send me five or six AAA titles within a week, they’ll all be stacked at the end of the desk in the order they arrived. Also, I turn on some background noise. Not music; I don’t want to go through the trouble of creating a playlist that could alter my mood and screw everything up. Instead, I put on a movie. Something familiar that I’ve seen dozens of times – 2001: A Space Odyssey and Jurassic Park come to mind – that can fill the silences and keep me grounded. Most importantly, I close off the Internet; unless I need to look up something pertinent to my work, I avoid going online and its potential distractions.

Speaking of which, I’ve got another review in the works. Have a good night!