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Excuses

Today Gregg came home and I was playing Minecraft. I love Minecraft, I find it relaxing. I usually listen to podcasts while I’m playing, or catch up on the news.

But then he asked how my writing was going. I was honest, as I always am (even when it hurts) with him. I had been writing earlier and I’d get back to it soon.

Then he hit me with the hard question, after stressing that he wasn’t trying to be judgmental or anything, he was just honestly curious…And I mostly believe him, but the question cut through me a little deeper than any other question he’s asked me.

I’m just curious if you make more excuses to write, or not to write.

Ouch. There I was, playing a game when I knew I should be finishing up that novel I’ve been trying to complete, and he was cutting to the quick of it, yet again. It hurt, but he was entirely right. I had been making excuses just like I usually do, and letting myself get away with it.

Excuses are insidious things. I use to think of them as the things I did to get out of an assignment, like washing dishes, or cleaning the lint trap. ANYTHING to get out of doing something I dreaded. But I love writing, right? So I wouldn’t be making excuses to get out of that. WRONG.

Writing is fun, just like painting or playing music, or making a vase. But when you try to shift from doing art for joy to doing art for a living you realize you have to do this thing all the time instead of just when the mood hits you. You realize it’s not always going to be fun anymore. Sometimes it’s going to be a slough and you’re going to have to do it anyway.

Oh I love my stories. I love creating worlds with fantastic creatures roaming through dark woods, and witches flinging spells across wide oceans, and men being cursed to live as hawks. I love the fact that all of these mystical and magical worlds that lived inside of me for decades now get to be seen by others. And I love that they will live on beyond me.

But that only happens if I actually write them. They only have a life of their own if I put in the work.

And, lets face it, playing a video game is fun. It can be mindless entertainment. It can be a complete distraction from everything else around you, including the art you want to create.

Substitute TV shows, books, train rides, sky diving or whatever in there. If we are using these little distractions as an excuse not to seek out our creative fulfillment then we are just hurting ourselves.

Now…I have a book to go write.

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Posted by on February 23, 2016 in On Writing

 

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Distractions and Productivity

There comes a point in every project, be it a corporate portfolio, a painting, song or book, that your mind starts wandering. Everything seems to be distracting you. The rhythm from the song playing, the TV in the next room, the anticipation of a show on TV. The cat rubbing up against your leg.

How do you get through that? For me, I take a break.

When you are getting that many distractions it’s sometimes just your brain saying “Hey, I’m working hard here, I need a break.”

I understand deadlines, and work ethics. You have to work with those, as well as your brains natural tendencies to overload with too much work. I find taking a ten to fifteen minute break is usually enough to get me back on track. (Unless the distraction is something living that is demanding attention, those are harder to ignore, especially children.)

There has actually been research that taking a break is good for productivity. It gives your mind a chance to wander, and then when you get back on task it is more at ease.

My favorite mini breaks are a quick level of one of my puzzle games. I have a lot to choose from. A quick walk around the house, or taking a break to wash some dishes, grab a cup of coffee, and other similar tasks are also on my list.

I have found that after prolonged time in my chair I NEED to get up and walk around. I’m not as young as I use to be, and the fact that sitting a lot causes premature death, I want to get up and walk around more anyway. Or, like today, write at my standing desk.

All of this has gotten me to here… with “Forgotten Ones” just three chapters of editing away from being finished. It feels so good to accomplish something!

Okay, done with the break, time to get back to the grind.

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2013 in Commentary

 

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Distractions

I’ve got so many distractions right now. Doctors, car repairs, children’s homework, and my own head that keeps running away with worries and possibilities.

One of my biggest distractions? That huge stack of story ideas that I want to finish. Each one wants to be completed, and I don’t have enough time or the mental energy to write all of them right now.

Eventually… over time… I am sure I could finish them all.

But what about “Plants vrs Zombies”? Or “Skyrim”? Or bubble baths with good books? S’mores by the fire? Come on! I NEED these things… right?

All of these distractions piling up, and my stories are forgotten on their little flash drive.

Pick one. Write. Edit. Publish.
Rinse. Repeat.
Just keep swimming….

And remind myself, day after day, that if I finish this and start publishing regularly then maybe, eventually, I won’t have to have that day job anymore. Then I’ll have time for “Skyrim”, “Plants vrs Zombies”, and every episode of the “Walking Dead” that I missed. Till then…

Go Write!

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2013 in On Writing

 

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