Ranting is Habit-Forming.

It’s been my custom in recent years to read ranty blogs in the morning that I was twittering, responding to and getting irate about. Ranting can become a habit, I’ve discovered (No shit!). It can also affect your health both mental and physical. Ranting becomes a fall-back, cringe moments become more frequent, you find yourself spending time putting together bitchy bile-filled responses to people who aren’t going to take any notice anyhow, and end up just feeding their bile too. It also tends to eat up your time and distract you from the things you should be concentrating on. So now I’m trying to break the habit.

I’ve been getting behind on the science, while the science has been accelerating. I’ve been burning up time on ranty shite that would be better spent writing. So what I’ve done is delete the blogs concerned from my favourites, then estimate how much of this stuff I’ve been reading and supplant it with science and technology articles relevant to what I do. (I’m also seeking blogs and websites on English usage, so if you know of any please let me know)

At first it was difficult. I kept feeling the urge to go back and read something bilious because that’s easy, that’s the guy giving up smoking deciding to have one cigarette, just one. That’s the brain getting hard-wired, the habit. Now I’m finding my interest restoring and increasing. By my estimate, to supplant my previous internet reading required about six medium-sized science articles from the likes of Physorg.com, Science Daily and Science News, but now I’m reading about ten or so.

Of course there have been lapses, but not on the usual subjects. Recent comments I made on J. G Ballard lured a Guardianista into attack mode but I laughed that one off when I tweeted his description of my stuff as ‘pornographically violent space opera’ and it sold me some extra books. And I was tempted back on another blog when, in response to a comment of mine about book piracy, the same guy couldn’t resist comparing me to Jeremy Clarkson and the Daily Mail. That he neglected to drop a ‘Thatcher’ in there was almost astounding. I must resist this kind of temptation.

Really, I’m trying to be a better person…      

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