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Primmulla

My Game of Thrones detox

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Hello all,

I have noticed that there was a person here who was taking a detox from eating sweets, so maybe I can post also my non-game-related detox here. It would last 90 days just as Cam suggested about gaming detox. I would like to detox myself from the "Game of Thrones" franchise, I do not have HBO subscription but I read two volumes of the novels and I followed the plot of the series via various websites and forums dedicated to the franchise. This franchise had a much worse influence on my life that any game, as it lead me into sinful thoughts, which was not the case with games. As for gaming detox, I completed the 90-day period this January, and after considering everything, reading your journals, I concluded that I was never really addicted to games. I can moderate my gaming quite well, and it does not have any adverse influence on my life. I still play sometimes, though I do not enjoy it as much as I used to when I began gaming, maybe because I simply got bored by the game and its newness and hence attraction has worn off. I hope it is OK with you since you claim that there is nothing wrong with gaming itself if it does not have negative influence on our lives as a whole. I concluded that GoT has much more adverse effects in my life, and yesterday I decided to quit it, I have already blocked all the sites I was frequenting using Leechblock, together with keywords such as "game of thrones" and its Polish equivalent. I had some trouble with the Leechblock as it started to blocking this forum as well as my favourite Tolkien forum, where there was a thread discussing the series. I also could not access YouTube, where I used to watch many GoT-related video. Now I am marking all GoT-themed videos on YouTube as "not interested," it is quite a lot of work, but soon I would be free of them. I guess it is useful to "explain" to YouTube why I do not want to see videos like that since the algorithm may work better if I use this option. So this is the second day of my detox, but I have already had a dream (or nightmare) in which I was browsing these websites :( Never again! I hope that I would not have these cravings after the 90-day detox, once I took a similar detox with Harry Potter, though I do not remember how long it lasted, but afterwards I was no longer interested in this franchise. The problem is, I haven't finished the GoT books and so I have not reached closure with the series, and maybe this is what keeps me returning to it in spite of being appalled by the content of the books. It was different with Harry because when I started the detox I had already read all the volumes, so in fact this franchise did not have much more to offer me.

So far, I am participating in a course on Shakespeare and another teaching Italian, these take my thoughts away a bit. I also do my Duolingo, Memrise and Khan Academy every day so as not to lose the streak. I guess I can interpolate Cam's ideas about quitting games to use them in the context of the TV series. Though I would not avoid gaming, it is helps me to stay away from GoT.

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It's good for you to find other addiction, even better that you're willing to fight with it. Looking forward for your progress. Keep it going!

PS. Interesting, that 90 days works with different addiction.

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I may be hated by everyone here because of confessing to returning to gaming, and maybe this is why there are almost no replies to my post, but I would continue with my diary. The thing is I simply chose stuff which is less harmful in the long run, and the GoT franchise harms me much more than games ever did. I do not know if it can be called proper addiction, but I tried to get rid of it several times and failed, the thing is I am absolutely repulsed by everything what happens in the GoT books, even more so by the television series, but every time the first episode of the new season is available to the general public and not only to HBO subscribers, I go along and watch it, even though I know I would have huge pricks of conscience afterwards. If this is not harmful, I don't know what is. I also know that watching or reading it is considered sinful and I do it in spite of this awareness. I really need to quit this destructive franchise once and for all.

The problem is I have such huge cravings and everything seems to bring some association with GoT, for instance I have a liquid soap with a stag on it and it immediately brings a certain sigil to my mind. The same thing is with an image of a blue rose and a bear on my toilet paper ;) When I start whistling a tune, it turns out that it is the main theme from the series :( Even images of wolves and dragons bring back memories of the books, so I should avoid them. When I was browsing the Shakespeare subreddit, I came across a link to a BBC series "Hollow Crown," and I wanted to watch it, but stopped myself because it was called "The War of The Roses" and this is what GoT is also based upon. Anyway, I should not watch British series, since they are not available in Poland and I would have to use VPN to access them which equals stealing. I have a long list of vocabulary which I wrote down from the English edition of GoT books, but I believe it would not be a good idea to put it down in the glossary as it may be a trigger, I would do it after my detox is complete.

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Hi Primmulla,

I don't think you are hated here.  I was a little confused about your post. 

It seems that this is more of a conviction and obsession, rather than addiction.  I thought addiction was a pattern of behavior that interferes with one's life, to the extent that you are no longer looking after for example: neglecting personal care, job responsibilities, disruption in sleep patterns, aggressive and harmful behavior to oneself and others, etc.  Those are only some examples of how addiction can affect one's mental and physical health. 

Now, that doesn't mean your case is less important.

I just think that you've had obsessive tendencies for learning about subject matter or popular fiction/shows in the past, so why would that be different with GoT?  And also, your obsession with Harry Potter waned.....over time.  Right? 

The only difference between the Harry Potter fixation and GoT is that your religious conviction is what is driving your reasoning to abstain from GoT.  And that's fine.  Who am I to judge what you believe?

I don't know if I have solutions for you other than what you're already attempting to do, which is to eliminate all triggers from your sight and ears.  But, to be the devil's advocate, what if you see those triggers outside of your house?  You can't really run away from all the triggers, as advertising for GoT is practically everywhere.  Perhaps what you can focus on is accepting that you will have these strange, or what you call, "sinful thoughts" from time to time, but the important thing is that you're not acting upon them.  In other words, be kind to yourself.  It's human nature to err, even within our thoughts.  I am not religious, but I can only imagine the intense moral conviction that you must face every time you expose yourself to a trigger for GoT. 

Forgive yourself first, and then perhaps you can move forwards?

SIncerely,

Danni

 

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Hi Primmulla,

I don't think you are hated here.  I was a little confused about your post. 

It seems that this is more of a conviction and obsession, rather than addiction.  I thought addiction was a pattern of behavior that interferes with one's life, to the extent that you are no longer looking after for example: neglecting personal care, job responsibilities, disruption in sleep patterns, aggressive and harmful behavior to oneself and others, etc.  Those are only some examples of how addiction can affect one's mental and physical health. 

Now, that doesn't mean your case is less important.

I just think that you've had obsessive tendencies for learning about subject matter or popular fiction/shows in the past, so why would that be different with GoT?  And also, your obsession with Harry Potter waned.....over time.  Right? 

The only difference between the Harry Potter fixation and GoT is that your religious conviction is what is driving your reasoning to abstain from GoT.  And that's fine.  Who am I to judge what you believe?

I don't know if I have solutions for you other than what you're already attempting to do, which is to eliminate all triggers from your sight and ears.  But, to be the devil's advocate, what if you see those triggers outside of your house?  You can't really run away from all the triggers, as advertising for GoT is practically everywhere.  Perhaps what you can focus on is accepting that you will have these strange, or what you call, "sinful thoughts" from time to time, but the important thing is that you're not acting upon them.  In other words, be kind to yourself.  It's human nature to err, even within our thoughts.  I am not religious, but I can only imagine the intense moral conviction that you must face every time you expose yourself to a trigger for GoT. 

Forgive yourself first, and then perhaps you can move forwards?

SIncerely,

Danni

 

Danni, thank you for you thoughtful and kind message, it is really very supportive and you are a great help :)

If the addiction is defined as you described above, it seems that I have never been addicted to anything, be it games or other stuff, since nothing has ever affected my life in such a negative way. I believe you are right about its being obsession rather than addiction. I have observed that there are several stages in my fascination by various popular books or movies, first there is "falling in love" stage when I begin to be interested in something, followed by a "honeymoon" when it is most like an obsession, and I want to read and watch as much as possible about this new fandom (this usually includes not only the original books/movies but also fanfiction, fanart, fanfilms if there are any), and after this "honeymoon" things can go two different ways: either there is "integration": something becomes a part of my sense of self, I identify as a fan of X, but no longer have to read about X every day, in fact there are often quite long breaks, but X is something which I return to and which continues to give me joy. So far, this happened only with Tolkien. Or alternatively, there can be a "divorce" in which case I totally lose my interest in X and rarely return to it, and X becomes indifferent to me. Sometimes it happens naturally, I simply get bored with it, as it happened with Hunger Games, or I force this process by forbidding myself to read anything about it for an indefinite period of time. I do it mainly when there is something morally unsavoury with the given fandom, for instance with matters discussed in books/films as with GoT, or when the show/book itself is OK but due to problems with availability of it in Poland I used to download it from the Internet or watch on foreign TV channels through VPN. And usually after this detox, my interest in the franchise seriously decreases, to the point where it no longer plays any role in my life, and I have no need to read further on this subject or watch a new season. This is the case with Harry Potter, of course I sometimes read news and articles about it, but I don't care e.g. about watching the upcoming "Fantastic beasts" film, perhaps it would be cool to see it, but if I would never see it, it would not be any problem for me, since I no longer care about it. With Tolkien, I re-read the books and re-watch the films from time to time, and I cannot imagine a future in which I would never read Tolkien again, though currently I am not reading anything by him and it is OK with me. My interest in Tolkien waxes and wanes, but I identify myself as a Tolkien fan. I guess I did not manage to explain it clearly and it is quite difficult to follow, but this is how I feel. Thank you for you patience.

As for GoT, it is lucky that this show is available only on a paid channel to which I do not have access :) I have to be wary only when I am online as there are no adverts for the show in traditional media, I saw one or two in Polish television but it was before the new season started airing, so I do not think I am in any danger of encountering GoT there. The only problem now is my friend, who is currently very keen on the show and before I decided to start this detox, we discussed GoT in our e-mails (she is my pen-friend) and now I do not know how to explain it to her that I do not want to talk about it any more (since she is not very religious). I guess I have to go back to discussing Tolkien, as she is also Tolkien fan and this is how we became friends.

As for the journal, it is hard for me to be consistent with it, I do not think that writing about myself is worth the time, but I believe I owed a reply to Danni for her help. Danni, thanks once again for your support :) There are always more interesting things to do than writing a journal, for instance the course on Shakespeare or the Italian exercises. Though this brings me an idea for a new entry tomorrow, maybe I would find the time to write about writing, and why I do not write in spite of wanting to be a writer ;) Goodnight everyone :)

 

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Mm... So.

Blocking google keyword related to game of thrones, maybe?

followed by blocking sites you can access. A lot can be done with this.

 

Do you want to quit cold turkey or do you want to limit your access to GoT content?

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Mm... So.

Blocking google keyword related to game of thrones, maybe?

followed by blocking sites you can access. A lot can be done with this.

 

Do you want to quit cold turkey or do you want to limit your access to GoT content?

Hello, my aim is to take a detox from GoT so that I will totally lose interest in this franchise and have no need to follow the series or the books anymore. As for blocking, I have already done it, as I mention in the first post, and so far, it works all right. During the day, I usually have no cravings, though I still get dreams about GoT.

And now to the post about writing which I promised yesterday.

When I was a little girl, I wanted to become a writer :) In fact, I wrote a lot of poems and short stories as a child and a teenager, not to mentioned numerous "unfinished tales" which were meant to turn into novels but never did. However, with time I started to write less and less. Ideas and inspiration used to come to me in most inappropriate moments, for instance when I was studying for a test or late at night, when I should have been sleeping. There was also the time when school was more and more intense, there were more subjects to learn and I had less free time. Also, though good grades at school had always been important for me, it was then when I had to spend much more time studying, as I wanted to get best grades also when I was not particularly talented at a given subject, such as maths or physics. And I came to the conclusion that I was in fact not a very good writer, so it would be better to spend my time studying rather than writing. And when these ideas and inspiration came, I pushed them away, until they ceased to appear. I was a very good student so maybe there was no need to give up my writing, but I had high demands of myself, and during my time as a pupil and later to some extent as a student, the only thing I was interested in were school subjects, homework and grades. I had virtually no interests outside of school curriculum. And do not talk to me about delaying gratification, for this is what I was constantly doing from the day I started school. I did not watch interesting films when I had classes on the next day, during school year I usually read little outside of the curriculum, for reading books could take my mind away from studying. My parents never demanded of me to excel in every school subject, but I demanded it from myself and nobody could stop me from making these demands. And writing went to the margins of my life together with our pleasures. The Muse was offended by this treatment and stopped to visit me.

I had a huge writing revival during my extramural studies, when I had to commute to Krakow every two weeks, watching the changing landscape and listening to music during an hour and a half long journeys provided me with a lot of inspiration for writing short haiku-like poems, which my Mum enjoys very much. I wrote a batch of poems almost after every journey to the university. However, when I graduated and I no longer had to take such long commutes, the inspiration went dry. I still write poems sometimes, when I see something which strikes me as especially beautiful etc. but this happens very rarely in comparison to the frequency I wrote during my studies, I usually write a couple of times a year, I may write more poems during one month, but this month is followed by a couple of other months when I do not manage to write anything. Now I want to write more because I want to give my Mum some poems for Mother's Day, which is celebrated on May 26 in Poland. I wrote a little more and I also started to use writing prompts, which helped me a lot. The problem is I am mostly inspired by nature, but now I am suffering from severe allergy and cannot take walks outside as I am allergic to the pollen of many plants. I have a terrible cough and can hardly speak, when I try to speak I am almost choking. So, this also clips the wings of my Muse :(

I read a lot of creative writing websites, e-books with writing prompts etc. and they usually say how important it is to write every day. I guess they are right, yet in spite of this I still cannot make myself do this exercise and write every day. My attitude to writing has not really changed, I still consider it a bit of a waste of time, and believe that I am not very talented and because I have no idea what to write about, there is no point in trying to write anything, since it would be worthless anyway, reading or learning something new is a better and more enjoyable way of using my time than writing when I do not have any inspiration. The result of this approach is that I do not get anything written (but what to write about, if I do not have any ideas). When I have a lot of work, I do not write anything, but even on a free day I prefer to read somebody else's texts instead of trying to create my own. Maybe I really should not bother writing?

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Mm... So.

Blocking google keyword related to game of thrones, maybe?

followed by blocking sites you can access. A lot can be done with this.

 

Do you want to quit cold turkey or do you want to limit your access to GoT content?

Hello, my aim is to take a detox from GoT so that I will totally lose interest in this franchise and have no need to follow the series or the books anymore. As for blocking, I have already done it, as I mention in the first post, and so far, it works all right. During the day, I usually have no cravings, though I still get dreams about GoT.

And now to the post about writing which I promised yesterday.

When I was a little girl, I wanted to become a writer :) In fact, I wrote a lot of poems and short stories as a child and a teenager, not to mentioned numerous "unfinished tales" which were meant to turn into novels but never did. However, with time I started to write less and less. Ideas and inspiration used to come to me in most inappropriate moments, for instance when I was studying for a test or late at night, when I should have been sleeping. There was also the time when school was more and more intense, there were more subjects to learn and I had less free time. Also, though good grades at school had always been important for me, it was then when I had to spend much more time studying, as I wanted to get best grades also when I was not particularly talented at a given subject, such as maths or physics. And I came to the conclusion that I was in fact not a very good writer, so it would be better to spend my time studying rather than writing. And when these ideas and inspiration came, I pushed them away, until they ceased to appear. I was a very good student so maybe there was no need to give up my writing, but I had high demands of myself, and during my time as a pupil and later to some extent as a student, the only thing I was interested in were school subjects, homework and grades. I had virtually no interests outside of school curriculum. And do not talk to me about delaying gratification, for this is what I was constantly doing from the day I started school. I did not watch interesting films when I had classes on the next day, during school year I usually read little outside of the curriculum, for reading books could take my mind away from studying. My parents never demanded of me to excel in every school subject, but I demanded it from myself and nobody could stop me from making these demands. And writing went to the margins of my life together with our pleasures. The Muse was offended by this treatment and stopped to visit me.

I had a huge writing revival during my extramural studies, when I had to commute to Krakow every two weeks, watching the changing landscape and listening to music during an hour and a half long journeys provided me with a lot of inspiration for writing short haiku-like poems, which my Mum enjoys very much. I wrote a batch of poems almost after every journey to the university. However, when I graduated and I no longer had to take such long commutes, the inspiration went dry. I still write poems sometimes, when I see something which strikes me as especially beautiful etc. but this happens very rarely in comparison to the frequency I wrote during my studies, I usually write a couple of times a year, I may write more poems during one month, but this month is followed by a couple of other months when I do not manage to write anything. Now I want to write more because I want to give my Mum some poems for Mother's Day, which is celebrated on May 26 in Poland. I wrote a little more and I also started to use writing prompts, which helped me a lot. The problem is I am mostly inspired by nature, but now I am suffering from severe allergy and cannot take walks outside as I am allergic to the pollen of many plants. I have a terrible cough and can hardly speak, when I try to speak I am almost choking. So, this also clips the wings of my Muse :(

I read a lot of creative writing websites, e-books with writing prompts etc. and they usually say how important it is to write every day. I guess they are right, yet in spite of this I still cannot make myself do this exercise and write every day. My attitude to writing has not really changed, I still consider it a bit of a waste of time, and believe that I am not very talented and because I have no idea what to write about, there is no point in trying to write anything, since it would be worthless anyway, reading or learning something new is a better and more enjoyable way of using my time than writing when I do not have any inspiration. The result of this approach is that I do not get anything written (but what to write about, if I do not have any ideas). When I have a lot of work, I do not write anything, but even on a free day I prefer to read somebody else's texts instead of trying to create my own. Maybe I really should not bother writing?

Eh... even the reddit one?

How about making it into a ritual? Try it for 90 days, at the same time each day, at the same location? Like making a habit, make a cue for writing time. Make sure you're conscious enough for the task.

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You're welcome, Primmulla!


I was worried that what I typed wouldn't help you out much, but it sounds like it did, and I am greatly relieved.  Your struggle is no less than anyone else, and you never know who else struggles with the same circumstance.  I don't believe anyone is ever finished with self-growth.  We change over time, and we're always going to be learning about ourselves, and also other people, and how we relate to others, and how we relate to our environment.  You have to do what's best for you, and I believe you're the captain of your own ship, in other words.

Great to have you on this forum, your support to others (from other posts I've read) have been genuinely helpful.

Sincerely,

Danni

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You're welcome, Primmulla!


I was worried that what I typed wouldn't help you out much, but it sounds like it did, and I am greatly relieved.  Your struggle is no less than anyone else, and you never know who else struggles with the same circumstance.  I don't believe anyone is ever finished with self-growth.  We change over time, and we're always going to be learning about ourselves, and also other people, and how we relate to others, and how we relate to our environment.  You have to do what's best for you, and I believe you're the captain of your own ship, in other words.

Great to have you on this forum, your support to others (from other posts I've read) have been genuinely helpful.

Sincerely,

Danni

Hello Danni, it is nice to hear from you, and I am glad to read that my posts might have helped someone on this forum. This is one of the reason I am not very consistent with my own journal, I consider it more worthwhile to try and give some advice to other people who are struggling more than I ever did than to concentrate on writing about myself. I am not as addicted as other people, perhaps I am not really addicted as I have never spent 10 hours a day playing games (and I cannot really imagine how it is possible to play for so long), so I guess if I can help other people on the forums with something I was good at, such as study methods, it is a better thing to do that to try and write something in the journal.

Anyway, yesterday I devoted more time to my writing, I am happy because I wrote two new poems for my Mum to give her on Mother's Day, and I also quite spontaneously enrolled in a fiction writing course (while my main focus is poetry). I also reflected on my attitude to my own writing and concluded that I consider it so worthless that I do not spend time on it, though I could easily find the time if I wanted. The problem is I believe I have no talent and so time spent writing will be wasted, because I would never achieve any high level no matter how long I write. I also perceived writing as self-indulgent activity, because in writing I express my own thoughts, emotions etc. and in this way this is an activity concentrated on myself. And whereas forum posts may indeed help someone, this is not the case with a short story or a poem, where there is no easy, direct correlation between the written text and helping another person, it might be of some aid to someone, but not to the extent that "physical" help such as cooking or cleaning a house are. So it seemed to me that by writing I am not doing something for other people, but rather concentrate on myself and my own sense of self. And because I was sure that I have no talent, I believed that by devoting time to writing I would be self-indulgent and without the hope of creating quality content.

Yesterday, I was browsing my Kindle library for books on creative writing, I remembered that I downloaded some when there was a promotion on Writer's Digest and the books were available for free. I opened each of them and read through the table of contents and first chapters to find out which one may be the right one for me at the moment. I came across one by Barbara Baig, in which the author claims that you do not need to have some mysterious quality called "talent" to write, you only need to practice the skills a writer needs to use, such as coming up with the ideas to write about and connecting to your readers, which she calls "content skills," and these can be acquired by systematic practice of writing exercises. I have not reached the part of the book with the actual exercises yet, and I am still sceptical, but I do agree with some of the author's notions. For instance, I guess she is right in that at school we do not really learn how to write, and as all our writing is to be assessed and graded by teachers,  writing is actually a source of stress since everyone wants to do well and get the best grade, and as the writer says, stress is not good for the learning process and can in fact hinder the acquisition of knowledge and skill. She uses the comparison with pianists who practice a lot before they even attempt to perform in public, so writers should practice doing writing exercises before they try and write a piece they want to share with others (a publishable story or a poem is the writer's equivalent of a public performance). So far, it seems convincing, but I haven't read about the exercises yet ;) I guess it may be boring for other people on the forum, so it is time to end this post. Or maybe someone has already tried this method? Here is a link to a booklet that explains this technique, if someone is interested: http://www.wherewriterslearn.com/files/BaigMastery_Path.pdf

I am writing about it because I am not sure whether I would continue to keep this journal, I would like to concentrate on reading this book and doing the writing exercises, so perhaps it would not be possible to post here every day if I want to do the writing practice. I guess it is a different kind of writing than here on the forum, and preparing such posts may not qualify as writing practice ;)  so I may not be able to post here on busy days. Though I may share some interesting insights I get from the book and elsewhere. As for GoT, I see a lot of improvement as I do not really have any cravings and the dreams about the series ceased ( I hope for good), and I am less and less curious about what happens in a new episode, which makes me close to attaining my goal of losing interest in the franchise (so that I would not have to avoid GoT because I would simply be indifferent to it). The only problem is that I still haven't written back to my friend with whom I was discussing the series. Any advice on that?

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Hello guys and girls,

it seems that I would be able to keep posting to my journal, after all. I have just read what the first writing exercise is about, and it is freewriting, I simply have to write for ten minutes. It does not specify whether it has to be fiction writing such as a short story or a poem, so I guess posts in this journal may do as well. I remember we used to do a similar exercise at the university in which we had to write a daily journal, though this was more of an exercise in the use of English than freewriting. The similarity was that subject matter was not important, but grammatical correctness and vocabulary etc. counted, unlike in freewriting where it is OK to make a lot of mistakes and correct them later. I am not following this rule very closely;) It also says one is not going to show the writing to anyone, but I interpreted this rule in such as way that it is not obligatory to show it to someone, but the author can do it if they want to. So maybe these exercises can form a basis of my journal posts here.

I am not very happy with what I did yesterday, I did not read any chapters from the writing book, though I read the author’s blog and other writing-related articles. But I did not write anything, apart from the posts on the forum here. It is so addictive to write here, when I log on the forum I cannot resist checking all the new posts to find out if the people whom I follow posted anything or whether I can help someone with their problems. I had a terrible nightmare yesterday (nothing games or GoT related, though), and it really helped me when I started to read the forum and look for solutions to other people’s troubles. I guess it made me understand my own issues are not so great, after all.

Cam, thanks for asking about cravings, I guess it is not difficult to have few cravings if you are not really addicted in the first place ;) The ones related to GoT have almost totally disappeared, now I feel I am OK with never knowing how the series is going to end, which was my main problem since this desire made me return to it again and again in spite of problems caused by doing this. Maybe it helped a bit that I deleted a small 12 megabytes folder with things I gathered about the series, these included some scans of newspaper articles I made for my pen pal, a scholarly article, a song and some colouring pages ;) Now I feel like I reached some kind of closure with the series, since I no longer have these materials. But I did think a bit about the books' author in connection with his skill of building convincing characters, which is undoubted, but all the same not enough to justify breaking the detox and losing my progress :) As far as  games are concerned, I play sometimes, though due to the repetitive nature of the gameplay I am usually quickly bored, and I consider many other activities (such as MOOC courses, Italian lessons, writing exercises etc.) much more interesting and worthwhile than gaming. There is no "ban" on games as such, unlike in the case of GoT, and I am "allowed" to play if I want, but I actually do not want very often ;) So games are now reserved for days when I feel bad such as when I am sick or having a period ;) and it is hard to do anything productive anyway. I do my Duolingo, Memrise and Khan Academy everyday, so it is no longer anything I have to struggle to do, now I am looking for new challenges and maybe the writing exercises would prove to be so. 

Today I was rather productive, as I got a text to translate, so work :) and I managed to do it faster than usually, I use a software called Focus Booster to motivate me, so that I turn it on when I start the translation, and when the FB is on, I concentrate on the translation and do not browse any websites not directly related to the translation task, even productive one such as Duolingo. The timer in FB is set up as 25 minutes, and this is what I use for translation, but I changed it to 10 minutes for freewriting. I also completed the quiz on the legal course and got all answers correct on the first try. It seems to me that detoxing from GoT made me more productive and focused, because I do not spend time checking the blogs and various websites to find out the recaps and reviews of the episodes. I generally avoid pop culture news sites, which I used to frequent before, most of them are blocked by my Leechblock anyway, as they contain the forbidden GoT keyword. I had to add this forum to exceptions to be able to write here at all. Anyway, I do not have Leechblock on my other computer (a slow PC), and I am not tempted to check the GoT related websites there even though it is technically possible. So I guess I am slowly getting cured of this obsession. And I am very strongly motivated to abstain from it.

No idea why the above is in italics, I copied and pasted a part of it from a Word document I used for my freewriting. It is strange because I did not use italics in Word. And it suddenly disappeared when I began this paragraph but not when I started others.

Here is the blog post by Barbara Baig about the freewriting exercise, if someone is interested: http://www.wherewriterslearn.com/blog.htm?post=956182

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I am still wondering whether to use the freewriting sessions to create posts for this forum. Yesterday, I finally found the time to read the chapter in the book on writing, where the exercise is described in more detail. It turns out that I broke a lot of rules ;) I was not supposed to correct my mistakes as I was writing, yet I could not really resist going back and correcting typos, I could not bear to see these little wiggly snakes under words. I also stopped to think what to write next, and during the freewriting exercise one is not allowed to stop writing even for a moment. You may write totally stupid sentences, but you have to keep writing. And it is also not advisable to look at what you have already written. I have made all these mistakes ;) In part because I wanted to be able to post it here on the forum without having to do much editing, and mainly because I am really critical of what I write. Baig would say that my critical faculty is much stronger than my creative faculty, and the exercise is intended to free the creative faculty from the constant control of the critical one. The problem is I am very critical of what I do, particularly of what I am supposed to be good at. I am not so judgemental towards other people, which is perhaps a good thing :) But this makes me very critical towards my own writing, also because of my studies, as I studied to be an English teacher and so I am conditioned to look for errors and mistakes in my own writings and these of others.

Today freewriting session did not go well, I was rather in a hurry as I was waiting for the broadcast of the Pope's Angelus Domini, and my computer booted very slowly. So I was worried that I would have to interrupt my freewriting in order to go and watch the broadcast. I was writing so fast that my hands hurt, I wanted to cram as many words as possible in this short period of time and also to express all my feelings and reflections I had after reading the book yesterday. I tried not to look at the screen and made a terrible amount of typos, some of them would prevent others from understanding the text if it was to be "published" as it was. I wrote very nervously and it was not a very pleasant experience. I guess the problem is with writing on the computer, I type much slower than I write by hand, hence the frequent typos when I wanted to write very quickly. So perhaps the best solution will be to switch to pen and paper, it would be much faster and I would not have to worry about typos since it is impossible to do them when you are writing by hand ;) I usually did most of my creative writing on paper, so maybe writing the computer is blocking some of my ideas and inspirations. For me, computers are not the Muse's best friends, and I guess I will stick to that. This may mean fewer posts here, because now the writing practice is a priority for me. 

I am not very happy today because I planned chilling out with a book and working on my writing, and had to do a translation instead :( Now I would like to turn the computer off, but I still have my Duolingo etc. to complete. I noticed also that I could not concentrate on my translation today, I made frequent breaks and could not work consistently, whereas yesterday I had a razor sharp focus and finished the text very quickly. Maybe it is because I stayed late last night to read the writing book, or maybe because I planned rest and relaxation for today and could not implement it. Also, the computer could not recognise my favourite mouse and I had to use a different mouse instead, I had problems with it since when I wanted to select a text, it selected either part of it or some random letters :( However, I connected the old mouse to another USB port and now it works like a charm. I guess the problems with the mouse made me really nervous, since I cannot work quickly with the laptop's touchpad and I had a lot to do today.  I managed to finish the translation though, and now I am dreaming about reading and practising my writing :)

As for GoT, I thought it was all over, but I had a nightmare about it last night :( My Mum watched a programme in which they said that nightmares express our deepest fears, which is true in my case, since I am really afraid of relapsing to GoT. It was only a dream, I did not do anything bad, though it seems to me that it might have contributed to my mood today.

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Writing-wise, today was rather a productive day, I completed my freewriting practice (on paper), and read one full chapter from the book on writing. The author emphasises the importance of collecting, that is, writing down anything that we find interesting, for instance, something we observed, a conversation we overheard, an idea that comes to our mind. And this has to be written down, because otherwise we will most certainly forget what we noticed. It happened a lot of time to me, when I had almost a complete short poem in my mind and I did not write it down - of course I forgot it and never been able to recover the poem. It was so stupid of me. I needn't have lost all these poems in such a silly way. They should have survived :( We can also collect material from previous freewriting sessions, copying or writing down a sentence etc. that particularly strikes us. I do not have enough written to do it yet, though.

 

Another exercise was to reflect on our writing practice, and instinctively I have already been doing it before I read about it (in fact, my journal posts may become just that: reflections on writing practice). Today I was doing my practice on paper, and it was much more effective and more pleasant. The only problem is timing, I do not want to keep looking at the clock when I am writing, which would doubtlessly derail me from writing. I downloaded an app which is supposed to help in Pomodoro technique, but it took me some time to set it up and in spite of that, it did not give me a sound when the time was up. I want to buy a Pomodoro timer, so that I would not have use technology to time my writing. So far, I am not writing anything particularly creative, only random things about myself and my life, what happened in my family etc. but today I was describing my dream writing practice. I definitely prefer to use pen and paper for my creative work, I guess it is safer this way because paper would not crash and destroy my work :) When I began writing this, my laptop froze for a couple of minutes and I was nervous that I may lose what I had already written, as well as angry at not being able to write on ;) I don't trust computers with something as important as writing, particularly since my PC ate a chapter of my master thesis, I took every possible precaution such as autosaving the file as I was working on it, using online backup and so on, and in spite of all this, the file was irretrievable. I had to rewrite it from memory, I just began this chapter when the PC devoured it, so it was not much, but I had had difficult time with finding ideas for the chapter and when I finally did know what to write, the computer destroyed it. I continued to write the rest of the thesis on paper and to type it onto the computer afterwards.

 

During the practice today, I noticed that my hands hurt again, as I wanted to write as much as possible during these ten minutes. Now I think it was wrong, because it is not a competition to write as many words as possible in ten minutes ;) I also put too much emphasis on not stopping moving my hands even for a moment, which also contributed to their hurting. When I was reading the book on writing today, the author says that the most important thing is to concentrate on the content of what we are writing and not about grammar or spelling or finding "right” words to express it, and the fact of stopping writing for a few seconds to take a breath should not be a great crime against this exercise ;)

 

It is becoming more and more pleasant as I keep to it (it is only a third day), and I would definitely recommend it to everyone even if they do not want to be writers, it really helps in introspection and examining our feelings and thoughts, which definitely aids understanding ourselves and what we want from our lives. It also strengthens our focus, in the same way as concentrated reading does, because we have to think about what to put on the page and not let our mind wander. So, two good qualities for all who are recovering from gaming :) Try it out and you would not regret it. You don't have to show your writing to anyone, so in this way you could use it to give vent to some negative emotions as well. You can even throw the page away after writing it all down. And let the bad feelings disappear with it.

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Good job on 3 days in a row! Keep going :)

Today is the fourth day and the writing exercise has already become the highlight of my day, I started to count the days in Chains.cc, not in order to add daily writing practice to my "chores" (Baig warned against it), but to track how long I am doing this. It is not long, but it seems like something I have been doing for ages :) The fact is, I loved writing and it was my favourite pastime, apart from reading, before the dawn of computers and the Internet. Now, thanks to the book by Barbara Baig, I rediscovered the joy of writing and came to the conclusion that it may not be such a waste of time, as I believed it to be in my earliest post on writing here. Now it has taken precedence over other activities and changed my attitude to computers and the Net much more than the detox did. Baig states that overuse of media (not only Internet but "traditional" media like TV) makes us less imaginative, which is detrimental for writing. I discovered that I do not need the Internet as much as I used to, of course I did not stop to use it. Maybe my Internet use has not really decreased as far as time is concerned, but I use it in a much more productive way, reading the blog by Barbara Baig and other writing advice. Soon I would start to read stories again, writers need to read a lot and analyse the works of other writers to learn writing techniques. At least, I would not have to feel guilty about reading too much :)

I definitely find abstaining from all kinds of pop culture news websites very good thing. I am much calmer and peaceful and I try to find inspiration within myself and the outside world, instead of being bombarded by stimuli from various websites. I read the book on writing using my Kindle, and I love the minimalist interface of this device, only letters and me, full concentration. I wish Internet looked like this. It seems that I am getting tired by the Internet and its plethora of pictures, films, floating adds, even its very colourfulness. It does not help focus or introspection. Instead, we are constantly over-stimulated. As with the case of pop culture news sites such as Hypable or Tor, I was bombarded with news about "must see" series and tempted to try and catch up with the episodes if they are so good. Now that I do not follow these sites, I have no temptation to download the series (and anyway, watching TV series is not very beneficial for writers, as these use images and do not teach how to construct characters on the page). I am dreaming about digital detox or some kind of "writer's sabbatical" when I can fully concentrate on my writing and do not have to keep any translation deadlines ;) and the only electronic device I use is the Kindle with books on writing. I started to enjoy just doing nothing in particular and observing either the surroundings or my thoughts and feelings. Online courses are great, but now they seem to me a hindrance keeping me from writing, as I need to meet certain deadlines in the courses and would have to study them on the computer as they contain videos (and anyway, I try not to print things unless they are really necessary, printer ink is rather expensive in Poland). Also, Duolingo, Memrise and Khan Academy have become obstacles rather than help, mainly due to their "streak" mechanism. It is definitely a motivator, and encourages to keep on learning even on days when you do not feel like doing it, which is very important in language learning, as it has to be consistent to be effective. However, recently I feel that these services are a crippling influence in such as way as they create a kind of "leash" binding me to the Internet. On days when I do not really need to use the computer, I have to turn it on in order to complete the lessons and avoid losing my streak. I have almost a year-long streak on Duolingo and it would be a pity to lose it, so I feel "forced" to turn the computer on, the lesson may be short, but later I may be tempted to browse some websites and waste much more time. 

So let's end this post and get back to reading and writing :) Four days may not be long, but I already got some ideas about a fantasy story, of course, as it is pointed out in the blog by Baig, there is a lot of work between the first idea and finished text, but I was not able to have any new ideas for quite a long time, so this is definitely a good sight and it shows that the exercises are working.

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Writing-wise, the day was OK, I made my first freewriting practice in which I tried to work on my fantasy story rather than note down random thoughts. It seems it is time to start on some more advanced exercises, at least I am bored by freewriting about just anything.(Freewriting on a given subject is called focused freewriting - we still have to care more about contents than grammar and choosing the "right" word, but we have to write within a particular (freely chosen by us!) subject matter.

I am not sure whether I would be able to write an entry today, the weather in Poland is very stormy today, and I would have to turn the computer off when there is a thunderstorm to prevent it from breaking down. I have much more important things to do on the computer than writing posts here, no matter how enjoyable it is, such as my translations and Duolingo et consortes. Hope I will be able to write more soon :)

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Today, I was quite successful with my writing, though I started my practice later than usually. It is a holiday in Poland today, the feast of Corpus Christi, so I've been to the church. And today's freewriting went quite well, too, in fact I wrote longer than 10 minutes, as I had a lot of ideas about my fantasy story and I managed to write an entire scene, inspired by a writing prompt I read in one of my newsletters. I thought it may be good to do more writing today, as I may have less free time tomorrow.

Today, it is also Mother's Day in Poland, and this time I could give my Mum a lot of poems, I always try and write her some haiku, as she enjoys these, but I did not managed to write much for her birthday earlier this month. Now I was successful and she was happy about the present. This also motivates me to work harder on my writing.

A couple of days ago I finished reading the blog by Barbara Baig, and I continue to study her book on writing, which includes more exercises for writers. I started watching lectures by Brandon Sanderson, who is a fantasy author as it is a genre I want to write in, too. But I have not read anything by this writer before, so I checked his website and it turned out that he made an entire novel available for free on this website. It is quite useful for aspiring writers, as each chapter has annotations in which the author explains how he came up with ideas for this particular chapter. The only drawback is that it has to be read on the computer, and cannot be downloaded to my Kindle, but maybe that is why it is free.

I try to abstain from gaming but also films and TV series, as Baig wrote that these can destroy imagination, so I am afraid of "scaring" my story ideas away. Though I have some doubts about this theory, as one day I accidentally came across a short documentary about history on TV, and it occurred to me that what was shown in the film may be a good setting for my fantasy story. Other ideas for the story sprung from this source, I am not sure whether I would be writing this story at all, if I was not "inspired" by the film. I don't really know what to think about it, though I would definitely follow the exercises described in Barbara Baig's book. And I am not going to give up writing again :)

 

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I guess I would have to switch to weekly recaps with my journal here :( The weather is Poland is quite stormy now, and I have quite a lot to do as far as translation is concerned. I cannot neglect translations, language lessons and my writing in order to post new entries here. I am not addicted to games and the reason I am still posting here and checking the forum for new posts is that I started to like the people on this forum and to care for you guys :) So it is like a community of friends for me now, and I feel a bit guilty when I am not posting any updates. 

I am glad that I did a longer writing practice yesterday, as today turned out quite busy, but at the same time, it is a bit problematic, as I noted down everything I came up with and now I am a bit stuck with my fantasy story and I don't know what happens next in it ;)I guess I would have to think more about it, for the time being I can write the beginning of the story, as what I wrote yesterday was an important event in its middle. Or maybe I would write about something totally unrelated to this story. It really does not matter, the important thing is to keep writing. 

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the reason I am still posting here and checking the forum for new posts is that I started to like the people on this forum and to care for you guys :) So it is like a community of friends for me now

I'm happy you feel this way! That is what we are trying to cultivate here. The positive side of it :)

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Another stormy and "unreliable" day, hot weather which does not make one particularly productive. The writing practice was the highlight of the day again, I managed to write another scene from my fantasy story, earlier in the plot that the one with wolves. I downloaded a pomodoro app to my smartphone so that I can easily write on paper without having to check my watch every minute or so, but it does not work very well (e.g. it does not give me a sound signal when the 10 minutes are up), so I usually write through the "break" which makes a total of about 20 minutes. When I have some ideas, I don't stop writing as soon as 10 minutes are over, of course, but note down everything what comes to my mind at the time. Today, it went better than yesterday with the story, the weather is not making me very productive, but I did not have any translations to complete, so I could work on the story in peace, without any stress.

I am wondering what to do with the Sanderson book, whether I should continue reading it since some elements there are reminiscent of GoT. I did not browse any GoT websites, of course, but I checked which episode will be aired this Sunday, and so how many of them still remain. I guess that when the series is over, there would be less news about it on general websites devoted to fantasy, and I would no longer be blocked from Tor.com, I need to go back to using this website as it publishes fantasy short stories on which I can model my writing. But I would have to avoid it until after the end of the series. This is a bit problematic as many articles on writing fantasy mention George R.R. Martin or GoT :(

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