The Perils of Podcasts

Megan Norris Jones

Ignore the title of this post for a minute, and let me tell you one thing. I LOVE podcasts. I love how they let me keep up with the news, dive deep into interesting topics, learn new things—all while completing the mundane tasks of everyday life. In short, podcasts can make laundry fun. Need I say more?

Yes, unfortunately there is more to say. I’ve realized lately that podcasts don’t actually make boring things interesting. They give me something interesting to think about while I’m doing boring things. Which is great. The nerd in me rejoices at so much easily accessible knowledge. But while my mind is constantly stimulated by waves of new ideas, that onslaught of information is crowding out something priceless: my own ideas.

I used to daydream. It’s where my stories came from. I didn’t need a podcast whispering stories in my ear because I created my own. In my enthusiasm for podcasts and audiobooks, I’ve let my daydreaming habit wither, and my stories are suffering as a result.

A few weeks ago I wrote about strategies for balancing the busy holidays with your writing routine. I decided to go with option 3: switch to a different part of the writing process. This month all the scraps of time I normally squirreled away for writing were swallowed by extra projects and events. I thought I was going to have to take a break from writing altogether, but then I realized that there was some time I could reclaim. I still had to wash the dishes and do the laundry—and wrap the presents and bake the cakes and—you get the idea. I might have been busy, but I still had time to daydream.

So I’m taking a break from my current round of revisions to dream up a new story idea. And do you know what? It’s so much fun! Entire people are coming to life in my mind, and a story is slowly growing around them. When January comes around, I will be able to return to my writing routine with new ideas, enthusiasm, and my own stories filling my head. That will be a truly Happy New Year.

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