To Write Or Not To Write

Rainbow "Inauguration aka WTF" Sweater, knitted by Azzure Alexander 

Rainbow "Inauguration aka WTF" Sweater, knitted by Azzure Alexander 

Sometimes, the poetry and stories flood out of you, uncontainable, bursting, and you’re behind your laptop feeling like the most brilliant scientist, sparks flying from the top of your head. But other times, the words are lurking in the back of your mind, and you know what you need to do, but instead, you suddenly realize your apartment needs some Swiffer-love, that curtain you bought months ago should probably go up, and perhaps it’s time to finally check out that new music video your favorite artist just released. Yes, writers, sometimes you want to do anything but write. We all look for distractions to keep ourselves from writing. A few NYU-CWP students and Washington Square Review staff members share their guilty distractions:

"Distraction usually comes into play when I'm revising. The moment I decide to return to a poem is often followed by realizations that my desk is cluttered, my plants need water, and I should really be brushing my dog's teeth everyday."

  • Holly Mitchell, Poetry

"So I never intend to distract myself from writing—especially when I know I need to get work done—but sometimes I'll be like, "Oh I should look up how to properly hold a sword on YouTube (I write about the medieval times a lot).” Then, eight hours later, I'll find I'm watching a video on balloons or why the ending of The Sopranos sucked. Did I ever watch The Sopranos? No. But I'll watch a twenty minute video about the show anyway. Falling into a YouTube black hole is my biggest distraction!"

  • Katie Bockino, Fiction

"Writing Washington Square interviews, checking Facebook and emails, reading books that are not required for class, texting other writers who are also procrastinating and seeing if they want to get a drink."

  • Hannah Gilham, Fiction

"I started knitting about a year and a half ago. Partly because I wanted to try a type of object-focused meditation (I’m a yoga teacher so I have to keep up zen appearance and I have crazy anxiety—but don't we all?), but mostly because the prices of an oversized sweater are absolutely ridiculous (and I do love a frumpy cardigan). I thought I could do it so I did and I realized how much I enjoy making things. It's relaxing and addicting and it helps me feel productive in my many hours of procrastination. It's a nice contrast to writing something that only exists in my head."

  • Azzure Alexander, Fiction

"Sometimes I am tired of words. I just want to move."

  • Alexandria Hall, Poetry

But we all know that in the end, despite our efforts, we just can't get away. It's all we have. 

"Writing used to be my distraction from my undergrad studies, but now it’s my distraction from the absurd reality of life."

  • Adham Mahmoud, Fiction


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