Republished for those of you who didn’t know me then. Plus, since the first posting I’ve completed and published three books. Two more are near completion.
I am writing this morning.
I made sure everything was done in advance. I showered, shaved, dressed. I spent an hour with my Father-God. Then I ate. All this before my preset writing time which begins and 8AM and runs until 12-1PM. I even had Scrivener opened to the book I am working on and my Ideas binder opened as well. Then it started–as always! Distraction!!
Of course, it wasn’t the usual distraction. It never is. No, I saw a moth. Naturally, I could not allow it to keep fluttering around the window. So I grabbed my electronic insect swatter and zapped him into oblivion. Then I was getting ready to put the swatter back when it occurred to me that I hadn’t checked the batteries since last year (I don’t use the swatter during the winters in NH; I specify the state only because if you’re from Florida, you might consider it odd that I don’t use the swatter in the winter. NH bugs hide or come out in the summer.). Anyhow.
I checked the battery compartment and all seemed well. No leakage. So I put the electronic swatter back where I keep it close under my computer desk. Then I realized I needed to relieve myself of some of my morning coffee. So it was off to the loo. When I returned, I thought I was ready to begin. So I sharpened two pencils that didn’t need sharpening. And now I’m writing. And if you’ve gotten this far . . . You’re reading.
What’s with that? Why do we procrastinate? Fluff the nest? Circle around like a dog, five times to finally give in to the need, then plop down? I don’t have answers to this question. I hope you do because I expect you to comment and give us your best shot at what’s really going on.
Is it our natural curiosity? If it were just me that experienced this pre-writing distraction, I wouldn’t be writing this to ask you about it. I’d simply assume I’m weird, keep it to myself (except at readings), and that’s the end of the matter. But, I’ve read enough in the craft to know that this is a universal, systemic behavior. No, a plague.
I’m not alone. Others have spoken or written about this. But I’ve not really been satisfied with an answer that hits the bullseye. Why do writers/authors have to balance the checkbook, sort through old work, sharpen pencils, adjust the chair or organize the desktop before they begin to put words to paper/screen?
Is it fear? Are we afraid that when we finally do sit to face the blank sheet/screen, we won’t have anything to say? Are we afraid to get into the flow. I LOVE being in the flow . . . So it can’t be that. So what is it? Once we know its source, we can either get past it (or as CK writes–Work it).
QUESTION: What is writers’ distraction?
A HELPFUL RESOURCE: This week I received word that Jerry Jenkins, author of Writing for the Soul–and someone well known to many other faith based writers through the “Christian Writers’ Guild”–has tackled this topic in a recent post. I went to his site where he has written an excellent post: “How to Overcome Writer’s Block Once and For All: My Surprising Solution.” I included the link to the post as an added resource for us all. I’m sure it will be helpful. Though he invites you to join his mentoring group, it is not a requirement to read the post and other helpful resources on his new site.
HONESTY DISCLOSURE: The link above is not an affiliate link, but I may receive a small, premium for including his post in my list of resources on this page. It in no way affects you or your reading of his post.
© 2013, David C. Alves
- The Keys to Worry Free Writing (thewritersadvice.com)
- How it happens (bechereremily.wordpress.com)
- Confession: I’m a distracted writer (mimosamorningswriters.wordpress.com)
- Distractions- Work Your Distractions (catherinekanewrites.wordpress.com)
- Cloud-Based Environment Reduces Distractions For Aspiring Writers (psfk.com)
- ✎ 15 Wallpapers for Writers (plottingbunnies.wordpress.com)
Morning ramblings go great with coffee or tea. Just grab a cup. Nice and hot. Then sit down with your laptop or desktop, open and password-save a document, then start writing. Or if it’s a beautiful day, just head out to your favorite spot with a pad and pencil. But don’t plan and think it all through. That defeats the spontaneity of the activity. How do you start? Just DO IT!
It’s OK to begin the way I did when I first started morning ramblings. Here’s my first paragraph:
The idea of morning ramblings is to write with no direction other than to express what is pent-up or to put down whatever needs to be there. Not that I have a plan, I just want to let writing express whatever is there. Later I can play the editor. Right now, this is just to write and flow.
I really want to finish my manuscript and get on with life. I’m not sure why I’m dragging my feet. Is it merely poor planning, lack of interest, or something else? I don’t feel disinterested. I still have a passion for the ministry that this book can have in people’s lives. But every time I think I’m approaching the end of it, there’s something else to do–a footnote, a resource I forgot to list, a quote I want to add.
The writing is completed (I think). But references need placing; syntax needs cleaning up and polishing. And if I had the time, I’d use my thesaurus over word choices.
I’m also unhappy with changes in perceived audience. One minute I’m talking to folks in my congregation, the next I’m talking to other pastors or seminary
professors. Yet in my intro, I make it clear that this is not an academic work. I wish I’d get it straight. I also am plagued by curiosity as to whether this is all unique to me or whether other writers experience the same thing, and have learned what they’re dealing with and how to push through it.
I suppose I could be closer to the end of my work on the manuscript if I were working on it instead of this morning rambling, but then again, everyone needs to vent from time to time. What better place to do that than here? Well in my memoir, but that is on the shelf for a couple of years more too.
There you have it. Now . . . back to completing what I started. Hopefully I can submit it to the waiting editors by next week?
[I was referring in this rambling to my first book, We’re the ‘sons of God’ . . .So What? (Featured on the right; available at Amazon.com)]
That’s what it’s all about . . . whatever you want it to be. Some of them might even turn into a post for your blog, and actually help someone. [By the way, this was a morning rambling that turned into a blog. So you never know.] But don’t write with that in mind. Just write!