The Pen Vs. The Television

I won’t say I’m easily distracted, but I have rather convinced myself that I can multitask when it comes to every activity in life. I do homework with Netflix running and Facebook on. I read books while listening to music and folding laundry. I play Plants Vs. Zombies while I’m cooking dinner. I never do ONE thing at once, and that is a problem when it comes to writing.

Good writing does not come from distracted writing, and my desire to multitask leads me to distracted writing. Let me tell you a story, a story of a distracted writer and of a paper that got turned in with a glaring typo because I typed while watching a television show and didn’t bother to proof before turning the final paper in.

Ursa Major, also known as the Big Dipper.
Ursa Major, also known as the Big Dipper.

I was writing a paper for my Greek Mythology class, talking about how multiple cultures shared a bear myth when it came to the Ursa Major constellation.

Constellation is a funny word, isn’t it? It’s really not one people use all that often, outside of talking about the stars. So when Microsoft word detects that it’s been misspelled, the auto-correct for it is not constellation, oh no.

It’s constipation.

That’s right, I was half-heartily paying attention to my paper as I watched probably a cooking program (I like to cook, what can I say?) and one of my constellations got mistyped and auto-corrected to constipation. Needless to say, the teacher caught that typo and laughed and laughed and laughed.

She told me it was the best typo she had seen in a while. It didn’t drag down my overall grade because we were able to laugh about it, but that’s a really stupid mistake to make, all because I was distracted and couldn’t bother with proofing a short paper before I turned it in.

The moral of the story – check your constellations and make sure they don’t turn into constipation. But seriously, turn off the T.V. while writing! No one is so perfect at multitasking and no paper or project is so unimportant that it doesn’t deserve your full attention. The best writing is never going to be distracted writing, so get rid of those distractions.

– Amanda Riggle


  1. schevusosborne

    I’ve found a lot of success multitasking exercise and writing by throwing a board over the arms of my treadmill and writing while I walk at night. They say walking improves cognition, and I really do seem to pump out some of my best stuff that way. The activity isn’t particularly distracting, so it’s a great dual-purpose expenditure of time.

    I do generally agree, though. I can’t even listen to music while I’m writing, because it drowns out that little voice in my head that my words tend to come from.

    1. melanienicholefigueroa

      That’s interesting! I’ve never thought of writing while on the treadmill. Although, I feel like my penmanship might suffer. :/ Haha.

Tell Us What You Think.