Distractions · editing · reading · Reflection · Writing Process

What Takes You Away From Your Writing?


I started this blog in August 2009. Since then, I’ve made it a point to post at least once a week… sometimes more. Keeping a blog up-to-date is vital for sharing your wares and the inner workings of your great and talented soul (as well as how well you use excessive verbiage).

These last two weeks, however, I’ve been a blogging sinner. Nary a post on the horizon. No Twitter updates announcing a new blog post. My subscribers have forgotten me by now. And here I sit, feeling the dire need to play catch-up and explain my reasons for missing the target. However, I don’t have to… because most writers know about the attraction to distraction.

There’s dishes to do. Laundry to fold. Children to play with. Shopping. Bill paying (not a very fun distraction, mind you). Eating (one of the more pleasant distractions). Reading (a necessary part of being a writer, but also a distraction). Other distractions of note are Glee (seems everyone who writes loves this show. I’ve watched one episode because I know I’ll get sucked in and have to endure LOST syndrome, only with singing teenagers.).

Some of the more constructive distractions include editing and proofreading. For heaven’s sakes, you’ve got to do these things as a writer. Unfortunately, they take you away from barfing out prose on the page. You have to actually think harder and with more logic about what you wrote, clean it up and read it again. This is time-consuming. While I LOVE editing and can’t get enough of it (yep, you knew I was crazy, right?), I know it’s a big distraction.

Thoughtful family and friends are really pains in the neck as you sit behind the keyboard. “What are you doing, mama?” “Are you working?” “Are you farting around online?” “When will you be done?” “You should really go to bed.” Okay, who here isn’t annoyed when they hear these things… even from a loved one (ESPECIALLY from a loved one!)? The constant bombardment of questions derails your train of thought, leaving you to pick-up and start that paragraph over — until you’re asked the next question.

Finally, your own thoughts and feelings get in the way of writing. Your desires for the perfect story, and doubts about whether anyone would want to read it, can stop the writing flow in its tracks. I’ve stood in front of my desk more times than I care to admit, ready to throw in the towel and set it on fire. Thirty-thousand words into a manuscript, I grind my teeth and find myself doing anything but writing because I know it sucks! Times like these require tough measures. You need a sponsor to carry you through — someone to call upon to encourage you, take a look at what you’ve written, and help you hobble to the finish line. Get your beta readers in a row, take that chapter to the critique meeting, and if you have an agent, by all means run the story idea by her. These people are your advocates and they believe in you, so don’t allow doubt to distract you from your calling.

There! I wrote a post. Finally. It feels great. Even though I was asked a dozen questions while I wrote this, I didn’t allow the distractions to keep me from finishing my thoughts. And that, my friends, is called stickativity!

*need to switch the laundry over to the dryer now*

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4 thoughts on “What Takes You Away From Your Writing?

  1. Never forget the universal truth that the instant you gain momentum on a WIP, someone in your immediate orbit will have a crisis of epic proportions. You know you’re a little too involved in your work when you hear about a sick relative and think “He had better not die before I finish this draft!”

    1. Isn’t that how it is? Frustrating! It’s as if your friends and family sense your eagerness for solitude! Maybe we should pretend we’re going to do something else. Reverse psychology? LOL!

      – Julie

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