15 June

A Writer's Wandering Eye - Kill the Distractions!


Writer distractions — they are everywhere. 

Writers know this. Why, you ask? Because writers have a permanently piqued imagination. They can see wonder in everything; big or small, loud or mute, from the mundane to the extraordinary. I once wrote a flash fiction piece on a dust bunny!

So, how do you put horse blinders on a feral writer beast who needs to get shiny idea No.1 finished before hugging shiny idea No. 2?

Hm... *sipping a cold coffee... geez, I hate cold coffee!*

I believe the final solution to this problem sits just south of Noah's ark and north of the burial spot of Jimmy Hoffa. But I'm nothing if not energized about tackling the impossible... as I spread out my arms to stem today's Pacific tide...

Fun Fact No.1: Distractions won't catch a writer's eye if they enjoy what they're currently doing. And that enjoyment must stem from seeing the Big Picture in terms of their writing career, and dropping one's need for daily rewards along the way.

Fun Fact No.2: Past the honeymoon phase of one's current WIP... the distractions pop up and wink at you as your current WIP love demands high concentration and bucket loads of work. Picture a husband being pecked at by a whiny, demanding wife, and then spots a lithe, sexy waitress with a come-hither smile. That's a sickly sweet erotic romance book for another day, but maybe you get my point.

Fun Fact No. 3: You decided to enter into marriage with your current WIP. Remember when you first encountered that sweet new idea and you two romanced the heck out of that brand-new relationship? Well, buddy, divorce is not an option. And momentary affairs with other come-hither WIPs will only get you into incomplete WIP Hell, with alimony payments you can't afford.

What's a wee wordy weaver supposed to do???

1) First, make a list of all the places you've written where distractions ignited your wandering eye, then, strike them off your future writing locale list. Oftentimes, new writers fear being alone or lonely, so they purposely venture into distraction territory; coffee houses, cocktail lounges, their parents' backyard, all of which hold a plethora of distractions; overhearing a juicy conversation, amusingly watching a slurring drunk, or the umpteen tray of cookies your mom brought out to you in the backyard which came with a parent-kid conversation that just won't quit.

2) Second, accept that a writer must learn to be content with being alone with only their WIP for company, for specific stretches at a time — each writing session. New writers fear being alone and lonely more than anything else. This comes from being unsure that what they're doing — writing a book — will be a rewarding activity for them, as they still doubt their own aptitude in the métier.

Which brings us to,

3) Third, accept that with any difficult endeavor, much time, with little to no outside accolades, must be spent to raise one's skill level in the literary arts. Look at it as a new actor in Hollywood having to take umpteen lousy bit parts with zero accolades before a great role gets offered and rewards for their work follow. If I could have a nickle for every restaurant server cum hopeful Academy Award winner in Southern California....

And, finally,

4) Fourth, make a list of boring, hum-drum places where you can concentrate on your WIP, where you have done so in the past, and adopt those Go-To writing session locales. Accept that the sooner you get serious about learning this craft and focusing on getting that first draft finished, the sooner the edits will follow, and the book gets done. The longer you postpone, the longer you'll be stuck in Draft Hell, and the less maturity gained in your writing skill, which will continue to feed your doubts and birth further distractions. The time you waste worrying about not writing could be used to, say, oh, I dunno, actually write! Wow. Mind. Blown.

I write in a sitting room I fashioned out of the corner of my dining room, which holds a big picture window and an easy chair and side table. It faces into my secluded backyard, and I write alone with no TV or music or any noise whatsoever... until my writing session for the day is done. Then, I leave that work locale and live my life, knowing I showed up for work and got closer to achieving my writing dreams.

  • Patience.
  • Perseverance.
  • A non-distracting Place.

Find yours, stay there, and make your WIP marriage last until your baby book is born. 

We writers are all in this together...

No comments: