I’ve noticed that many writers subscribe to the “Any time you’re not writing, you’re wasting time” mentality. I disagree. Take posting on message boards, for instance. You’re interacting with people. You’re learning about all the little idiosyncrasies that make those people who they are. How can you create convincing characters if you don’t get to know other people, whether online or in “real life.” Will living in a bubble, closed off from human interaction enable you to write a better book? I think not. Your characters will all be variations on the same person. Namely, yourself. Who wants to read that? You’ve got to step outside your own mind and write about other people from their point of view, and the only way to do that is to engage them in conversation.