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)
A pastor friend of mine from Nova Scotia shared his approach to preaching, teaching, and writing. He decided to not speak “against” anything. Instead he speaks and writes “for” what is biblical and good. This keeps him positive and lets people draw their own conclusions about how the positive message should inform their values and opinions (I think it keeps him out of the line of fire too, although he might disagree).
I’m beginning to think that I’ll adopt a version of that philosophy, but I’d like YOUR opinion. I shared with another friend in ministry and he said that Jesus often spoke out against things, especially injustice and sin. Who could do better than to follow the model of Jesus? Except that his approach led him to amass a huge crowd of enemies among the unrepentent and the religious heirarchy. Ultimately his values and worldview took him to the cross, where he absorbed their evil and took the penalty that their sins deserved. By the way, Jesus did this willingly. According to his own testimony, as the Son of God, he had at his disposal tens of thousands of powerful spiritual beings (angels, Cherubim, Seraphim, etc) who could have wiped out everyone around him and rescued him, but he surrendered willingly. Ponder that sometime.
I’m not sure, if Jesus walked today, that anyone would even listen to him. Well, they might listen, but I KNOW they wouldn’t HEAR. I’m certain, beyond a shadow of doubt, that he would be labeled a bigot, intolerant, noninclusive (he called the Syrophonecian woman a “dog”–meaning Gentile), he could get physical at times (as in the temple courts when he overturned the seller’s tables). No, he would not really be taken seriously. He would be viewed as unruly and narrow-minded, judgmental, holier-than-thou.
Perhaps that’s why we–as true disciples of Jesus–were invited to “go outside the city” and take our stand there, with Him. We are not taken seriously in this culture. No one’s listening to the warnings of implosion. No one, including the church, wants to hear messages or writings that confront our sin, hypocrisy (pretending to have virtues but acting opposite to them), or waywardness. We want positive, feel-good, affirm-my-sin-and-opinion, messages.
So . . . that leads me to my new approach. I’m not settled upon it yet. I know I’m called to write and speak plainly so that people can take warning, turn and be saved. But what do I do in an evil culture that’s not really listening? I think I should do what God does . . . I will speak ONLY to those who are really listening–that would be believers who want to grow and know intimate fellowship with Jesus. I will also speak to genuine seekers. And I will speak only what the Lord gives me to speak. That would be values aligned to his Word, the Bible. If people want to argue, they can argue with God. He who has ears to hear, let him/her hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
2 Timothy 4:3 (ESV)
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
QUESTIONS: What do you think?