where the writers are
Do I Need to Read All of this Crap?

As I was doing my morning coffee and baked good--a thoroughly enjoyable if not totally healthy routine--I also spent the usual amount of time reading through the four or five websites I go to every morning. But then I thought: Do I really need to read all of this crap?

I go to the Washington Post (solid website actually with good opinions and new), Salon (kind of trashy left stuff), Slate (annoying contrarians), Conscience of a Liberal (some good info and a lot of smug Krugman), Politico (political garbage), and the NY Times (good opinion and news).

So of the list the WashPo and NY Times stand out as providing good information that is reliable, well presented (though the WashPo site is buggy and heavy), and worth my time. But the rest of it? Nope, just junk that I go through out of some sort of obsessive thought that they will have some story worth absorbing, but they rarely do.

Salon used to be great. They were a real salon with wonderful travel writing (they even put out an excellent book--Wanderlust--of their best travel writing and then almost immediately stopped publishing good material) and a range of other great odds and ends. But then about 7 years ago they turned the place over to a bunch of kids who simply did not have the training or life experience to really write insightful stories. They tried, but what a frustration, though Joan Walsh can be good. They are a bit better now, but not by much.

Then there is Huffpost. Pure junk.

Anyway, the point is that I spend too much time reading junk that isn't very good and I'm not really learning from it. What could I do with that half hour? Over the course of a year that equals about 175 hours I could devote to finishing my novella. That's a lot of time and I have been struggling to find the time. I could also write a blog post or simply go for a walk. All much healthier and more helpful pursuits.

Maybe I need that software that shuts you out from the Internet for a set period of time? That could help. I have turned off notifications when I receive an email and that has been a help too.

Anyway, garbage in garbage out as they say. As of today I am going to try to stop taking it in.