How to waste time

We went to the library on Saturday. I hung around to hear Markus Zusak speak (it was as good as everyone keeps saying). But before that, it was a family outing to pick a few books.

Cameron decided it would be fun to get some Waldo books. Have you seen these books lately? They’ve been around forever, right? No big deal, right? You just find a guy in a striped shirt. Who cares?

Who cares? Yeah right.

The next day at church we broke one out.

Did you know now that you don’t just have to find Waldo, no no no no. You have to find Waldo, Wenda, The Wizard, Odlaw, the dog’s TAIL, a pair of binoculars, a camera, a scroll, a key and a dog bone IN EVERY PAGE!!! Now of course you don’t HAVE to find all those things but they are there and how can you not resist trying, at least trying, to find them (all of them-dumb binoculars).

This was a problem for me during church.

It was also a problem for me after church. It was a problem for me when my kids wanted to look at the books. It was a problem for me when Cam said, really? Then took the book and found the stupid wizard in like two seconds thus starting a Find Waldo and Friends competition that didn’t go well on my end.

Today, two days after the books were brought to my house, I have officially outlawed myself from looking at them.

I also wonder why I spend so much time doing nothing important.

They always say we have two things in life: Time and Choice.

I am the one who decides how my life is going to look, how I choose to use the minutes in a day. Should I spend my kids “quiet time” (new experiment around here) looking for Wenda? Or should I perhaps, work on my new novel I want to be writing but am not writing? Should I use the time after everyone is in bed to work on a revision, or should I read blogs about making my own wallpaper with a sharpie? Should I spend my thinking time during drives/walks/ etc. working through writing problems/characters etc.? Or should I think about whether Jennifer Aniston will ever truly be happy in love? It’s up to me, ya know?

Markus Zusak talked about how writing has to be either number one or number two on our priority list. Otherwise. Well. Otherwise it will never happen. I KNOW this is true and I also know that I have a hard time sometimes getting it up there in the top five. My hope is that I can be more disciplined than I have been. Especially before this new little baby enters our house and makes things that much more fun.

Marathon next weekend? The 7-9th? what do you think? Can we make a priority for three days? I’m up for it.  Who else is? I am going to give out a SWEET prize for whoever wins. SWEET as in maybe some starburst jelly beans? Those things are magical.

18 Comments

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18 responses to “How to waste time

  1. i’ve been trying to figure out how i waste time (not hard) and how to fix it (shouldn’t be hard, but it is. as in, i know how to fix it, but keep wandering back to the time wasters instead of avoiding). my friend dressed up with her husband as wenda and waldo for halloween last year. and from the amount of people who loved their costumes i’d say that a lot of people get sucked into those books too.

    i’m in for the marathon. trying to figure out sitters right now. i so need this. it will kick off my month long rush to finish the novel. thank you thank you.

  2. I’m so relieved to hear that published authors don’t always have writing as their top one or two priority. When I read the quote yesterday, I felt pretty lousy. I have to put my job before my writing (or else my kids don’t eat). But I am working on moving writing up higher on my priority list … just not that high (yet).

    I’m definitely up for a writing marathon. But I will NOT be bribing my students to join this year. 🙂

  3. jen

    Thanks Ann Dee! Now I know what to get you for your Bday!

  4. Oy. I’m a Pro Timewaster. Yep.

    Hmmm, maybe I spend so much time reading crafty blogs because I’m looking for a tutorial on how to make more time? I should be able to whip some up with maybe a glue gun, a couple mismatched socks and a toilet paper tube. *sigh*

    Count me in for the marathon. I’m trying to crank out this draft….and speaking of, I have about 12 minutes before my boys leap off the bus and rocket themselves back into my day. I better write. 🙂

  5. Toni Pilcher

    I’ll do the marathon! And I will even hide my Waldo books to prove my dedication. 🙂

  6. Craft blogs are the devil’s time-waster, aren’t they?

    I read recently that Jonathen Franzen put super glue over his ethernet plug so he wouldn’t waste time on the computer. And Victor Hugo gave strict instructions to his butler not to bring him clothes until he had put in a morning of writing, so he wouldn’t be tempted to go out and socialize. I’ve never thought of writing in the nude, but it seems like a very French thing to do.

    I would love a post on how you serious writers actually DO buckle down and write. Especially with little kids–so, so tricky…

    • I wish I dared cut off the internet. I need to. The crafty blogs and the news. They get me every time.
      I also wish I had a butler and I wish I wrote naked.

      I will try to find some serious writers to tell you about buckling down with little kids. Carol is a good example. Ally Condie is too. She is hard core amazing. I am . . . . um not.

  7. ANNDEE! It was so good to see YOU at the workshop! I learned a lot. thank you so much!

    And you know, life and nothing should be priorities sometimes, too… ’cause without those, would you have anything to write about?! I mean, really?! 🙂

  8. 1. Jennifer Aniston will find love but probably in her 50s.

    2. Should I spend our quiet time catching up on sleep or cleaning my disgusting fridge?

    3. Making writing a #1 or #2 priority as a mother would be difficult — you guys are all doing great.

    4. I had to ban Tod from Waldo about a year ago. He started forgetting to go to work. Have you found the REAL Waldo on the page of ALL Waldos? He’s the one missing a shoe. HINT: He’s wearing striped socks. Don’t waste precious time looking for flesh…

    • 1. Why in her 50s?
      2. Sleep
      3. I agree.
      4. Ummm, I skip the REAL Waldo one because that gives me a headache . . . a big one. Did you find him or Tod? Seems like you know just a little bit too much.

  9. Rachel

    I love reading your posts Ann Dee. And I truly appreciate all your insights. I’m so glad you were my teacher at BYU a few years ago 🙂

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