Distractions

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I’m feeling very much the way Faith must have the other day.  I’ve got nothing to say this morning.  I have no idea what to write for this post.

I’ve been thinking about distractions lately, mostly because I seem to be very much aware of all of the things lying around my house that call to me while I’m trying to write.  The slow drain in our bathroom that I’m perfectly willing to ignore all weekend long, but which becomes A Problem That Must Be Dealt With Now once the work week begins again.  The pictures from our trip out West that I did work on over the weekend but have yet to finish processing.  Converage of the Democratic Convention, which is Everywhere right now and which is quite a pull for a political junkie like me.

The deadline for my current WIP is close enough that I’m aware of it, but not so close that I’m in danger of failing to meet it.  That’s not necessarily a good thing.  I work well under tight deadlines.  I get focused, I work efficiently, I ignore the superfluous stuff.  But right now I can safely blow off work for a few days and really not hurt myself.  And that’s dangerous.  Because when it comes right down to it, I WANT to finish this book as soon as I can.  I want to move on to my Shiny New Toy (my next project, for those of you who missed that post a while back), and I can only do that when I finish work on this one.

Meanwhile, I think about that book by Guy Gavriel Kay that I bought recently and haven’t started yet.  I glance at my laptop computer case and think about the cool games I have on my laptop but have kept off my desktop so that I’ll get my work done.  I think about all the really yummy snacks sitting in the pantry.  (Nancy made a trip to Trader Joe’s and the farmers’ market in Atlanta last week.  We have chips and chocolate, crackers and cookies, hummus and exotic cheeses.)

I think this is one reason so many of the legendary writers drank to excess.  It was something to do other than write.  It was a form of procrastination.   They couldn’t check out a friend’s blog or browse through the online catalog at B and H Photo or check for book titles at Amazon.  They didn’t have four dozen television channels at their disposal.  As it is, I’m amazed sometimes that I don’t have a drinking problem or snack myself sick every day.

The same old qualifiers apply here.  I love to write.  I love my job.  I’m very fortunate that I get to do this for a living.  But the fact is, some days I don’t want to write at all, and there are a million things to distract me from my work.  That’s the hardest part of the Put Butt In Chair credo.  My heart is in the right place (the write place?), as is my head.  I know what I ought to be doing.  But it’s so easy to do all that other stuff.  And the irony is that this blog, which is something I’ve committed to do every Monday, is itself a distraction that I’m using right now to avoid the other writing I’m supposed to do.  I’m using a post about distractions to distract myself.  It’s a self-referential diversion.  How very post-modern…..

All right.  Enough of this.  I should go and write.  Although it’s been a while since I played my guitar.  And I can’t help but notice that my music CDs are not very well organized….

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6 comments to Distractions

  • David,
    My muse has acquired a very nice red braided leather whip that perfectly matches his thong, pasties, hat and boots. Shall I send him to snap it over your head. And preen?

    Faith

  • I love how the laundry suddenly becomes so attractive when I’m in my writing chair……

  • Tight deadlines are great for focusing, because they give you an excuse to ignore everything else.

    It’s when they’re far off that things start to unravel. You know you have to do That Main Thing, but you have enough time in your schedule to fit in Those Other Things that also really need doing (business tasks, usually, but sometimes other writing projects).

    When I have the time to multitask, I give myself prioritized to-do lists to make sure everything gets done. Unfortunately, it’s the surest way to get me to do nothing.

  • Thanks for the offer, Faith. I have my own muse, and she’s been kicking my ass up and down the keyboard all day. I think I’ll be fine….

    Yes, Misty: laundry, dishes, yardwork, etc. Poison on the weekends, but quite alluring during the week.

    I like that, Jeri: To-do list as procrastination technique. Fiendishly clever. It offers the veneer of productivity while still pulling us away from the work. Very clever indeed! [Strokes imaginary cat in manner of evil-genius-bad-guy….]

  • What sort of games do you like to play? I myself just traveled to Toronto this past weekend to compete in an international gaming tournament! And met Sean Astin!

  • I don’t do a lot of games that demand much time. It’s mostly puzzles or card games; things of that sort. I do have (a little embarrassed by this actually) a terrific golf simulation game that I love. I enjoy golf in real life, but I’m not very good at it. On the computer I rock.