RHYS BOWEN: Like most writers I will do anything, yes anything, to avoid writing. I will stare at the computer, get up, throw a load in the laundry, dead head the flowers, dust the ornaments, make out to-do lists for the next three months, rather than get down to the scene I’m supposed to be finishing.
And one of the things I do lately is to check out Facebook. I try to avoid the political stuff; it makes me too depressed and it’s hard to tell the fake news. But I’m a sucker for the baby animals, the cute animal friendships. Who knew what noises a baby sloth makes? And when I found out it was really “Oh, is that all?”
But the quizzes. What color is your aura? What were you in a past life? I am especially tempted by the ones that start “Only a genius can get all these right.”
Of course I get them all right. They were easy.
And it turns out there is a reason they were easy… quizzes are a way of hacking into accounts.
Who knew? Does that mean I won’t be able to find out what career is right for me? What sign my ideal mate should be? Does that mean I’ll actually have to sit down and write all day?
So fellow Reds: who else does Facebook quizzes?
And what else do you do to keep you from sitting on a chair and getting on with your writing?
HALLIE EPHRON: The other day I sorted through a 2-foot-high stack of mail accumulated over several years, just to avoid writing. I never do quizzes, but I still love to hang out in Facebook and see what my kids/friends are up to. And I'm sadly addicted to newsfeeds because how much more bizarre can things get?
LUCY BURDETTE: I'm surprised to hear you are a procrastinator, Rhys--as much as you produce! And Hallie, that two foot pile of mail sounds positively awful. I know we will have that in Connecticut waiting for us in April. But meanwhile, it's all about the Facebook addiction for me. I love catching up with friends and fans--and I know I miss 90% of what's been posted. I also like to peruse Pinterest, mostly for recipes to try. And this mostly happens at night when I'm hungry. So if you see a flurry of pins from me, you'll know exactly what's going on!
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I'm seldom on Facebook, which frustrates my friends and family members who use it regularly. What I do to keep from writing? Clean, of course. It's amazing how compelling the dusting can become when you can't think of how to continue a scene. The laundry. Walking the dog. Driving Youngest to school/play rehearsal/archery/mosque/pizza place. To tell the truth, it's not so much that I do things to avoid writing: it's that I have so much to do I have to MAKE time to write. Which, again, is very easy to avoid...
I want to hear more about the quizzes as hacker tools, Rhys. I don't take them, but The Smithie is addicted to the ones on Buzzfeed. Does it matter where you find them? Or all they all suspect?
RHYS: Julia it was on the news this week that Facebook quizzes have become an easy way to hack into accounts, get personal information. I have to say I don't do any quizzes that want my email address or anything else personal about me, but I suppose if they can get into my Facebook account they could find quite a lot.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I don't do quizzes, Rhys, I'm not even tempted, so I guess I'm safe there. But I do procrastinate!! I am way too addicted to news these days, so am planning a "news diet." And I check on Facebook, and make lists, and look at recipes, and clean. To my credit, I've managed to resist daytime televsion, but why is it so hard for writers to sit down and WRITE????
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I love quizzes, and am tempted to do all of them. But not after I saw they get your email and contacts list. So--I don't. Daytime TV, never. Laundry! Closet organization! Cleaning the refrigerator. Stuff I would NEVER otherwise be interested in doing suddenly becomes a necessity. But just in the past few days, I've been intensely wanting to write. I mean, I can't wait. So weird! And I'm sure that will pass. But usually I am so easily distracted that I literally set a timer, and agree with myself not to do anything else--, not email, not Facebook, not getting a diet coke, not anything--until I do my hour. Works for me. And I'm not as addicted to Facebook as I used to be. We should talk about that sometime.
INGRID THOFT: I've never done the quizzes, probably because having a software developer husband has caused me to be highly skeptical about such things. I do peruse Facebook more than I should, and I also find that household chores call my name when the going gets tough on the writing front. One of my favorite forms of procrastination is reading the articles on longform.org. It's an aggregation of the best long form articles on the web, and the content is terrific. I tell myself this form of procrastination isn't so terrible; I'm learning all kinds of things and even possibly doing research! And Rhys, I'm a total sucker for baby animals. Seriously, nothing makes me happier than a picture of a tea cup pig in a tea cup!
JENN: Quiz girl here! It started with the Cosmo quizzes when I was a teen and I'm still an addict. How else can I find out which Greek goddess I am or who my celebrity husband is? LOL. I am less of an FB addict than I used to be - politics has curbed it for me. Because I have multiple deadlines and I do get sucked into the Internet wormhole, I had to install a babysitter on my Mac Book called Waste No Time. I set how many minutes I'm allowed on certain sites and then it blocks them. Period. Because my life is like Julia's - so many gigs of the Hub and the hooligans to coordinate - making the time to write is critical to getting it done. But, like Ingrid and Rhys, I'm a sucker for the cute animals pics. How can you resist a duckling in a raincoat?
RHYS: Waste No Time. Jenn, I am getting it today! I could live with just one baby animal a day, I am sure.
So.... dear readers, time for confession. Who else does all the Facebook quizzes? Who is not even on Facebook?