Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Distractions--What's a Writer to Do?

Distractions are aplenty. Right now as I write, men are outside my window trimming the hedge just below my balcony. Motors revving, slashing away wayward branches. Noise pollution at its finest. What's a writer to do?

I've always been easily distracted by outside noise. Guess that comes from being alone so much. I never had to learn to tune out noisy kids. But could even the mom of half a dozen boisterous youngsters tune out a machine that sounds like a rocket? Do those men wear ear plugs? If they don't, they'll be needing a sign language interpreter soon.

But my distractions aren't always noise when it comes to being pulled away from my writing. The phone rings. It's a friend needing to talk over something burdening her heart. Or my mind wanders to something I'm curious about and the next thing I know, I'm Googling for information. Or new email comes in. Now that's a biggie. I have a feature in my Outlook that causes a mini view of the email to show up for a second in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. That's something I thought would be great. If it was something that could wait, I could keep on writing. But, alas, more emails draw me in than don't. Working at home can also be a distraction. My eyes sweep the room and I see dust on the coffee table, a book left out that needs putting away, dirty windows needing cleaning, etc. A dirty window is probably the one thing that doesn't get me out of my chair. :-)

What keeps me on task with all these distractions? The goals I set for myself. Currently, I have the ACFW conference looming. I need to have MFB ready for pitching, as well as a roughed up synopsis of my women's fiction which is still in mothballs. Not to mention there are responsibilities as an ACFW board member that need to be accomplished. In fact I just thought of one that's due today. The motors have stopped and I have no more excuses--at least not until the phone rings!


Todd said...

Hi Pam, Distractions are a hassle for me, too. I need almost complete silence to do my writing.

I live on a major highway. Traffic is zooming by today as a result of a detour.

My dad and I are currently roommates. He's got the TV on in the other room. It's not loud. It's just there and it's enough to distract me.

Also my dad has health issues that require a lot of visits to doctors. I'm the one who takes him. One of those visits can take all afternoon at times.

Friends of mine have their lives falling down around them at present and I seem to be the rock that keeps them afloat. So they call me and count on me to be there for them.

A lot of my writing gets done late at night due to these kinds of things.

One of the things I'm doing is learning to treat my writing like a job. Even though I'm as yet unpublished, some day I will be and then I'll have to write. Daily most likely. So I've learned to keep my time writing precious to me. If there's a genuine emergency, the writing can wait. If someone just want to chat or play Super Mario Smash Brothers, it can wait. There's writing to be done.

L.L. Barkat said...

Ah, sweet silence. :)

It'd be great if we all could live on Walden Pond. (But, I guess that would increase the noise pollution there!)