Let’s Talk with Debra H Goldstein

Wasting Time
by Debra H. Goldstein

I waste a lot of time playing Solitaire, Spider Solitaire, FreeCell, Pyramid, and TriPeaks. These games came with my laptop and I consciously chose not to disable them.

Sometimes I tell myself, I’ll play one game of solitaire and if my score is over 6 points, whatever I’m thinking about – whether I will have a good writing day, whether people will like my work, whether I will address anything on my to-do list – will be answered in the affirmative. Five points is close but will take some extra work. Anything less is a resounding “no.”

I do the same thing with Spider Solitaire, with one exception. Instead of measuring my private response in terms of “yes” or “no,” I see whether it takes me more than four minutes to resolve the deck. Over four minutes is a failure. Closer to three is a real winner.

Occasionally, I tell myself I need to write, but I don’t think I can be successful at it until I’ve played and won one of each of the five games.

If I figure two to five minutes per game balanced against each level of expertise the games tell me I’ve achieved, I probably have wasted more than the time it would take me to write 1000 words a day for several weeks. Intellectually, I understand what I’m not accomplishing, but I can’t seem to help myself. The card games take control of me.

Or do they? My first instinct is to announce they are a complete waste of time; but, in reality, I use these moments for working out sticky points in my work in progress, thinking about how my characters should and will behave in different situations, and observing the people around me. Once the issue is resolved, my writing flows.

What about you? Do you waste time doing something that seems completely illogical to your writing career or to your life? Is it?

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