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The Distraction Queen's Crown

The Distraction Queen’s Crown

I met the author of a book-in-progress a few days ago and she talked about her desire to appeal to readers that were closet fantasizers (is that really a proper word?).  Her novel was about an adult woman who lived in a fairy tale world where naughty and erotic were part of her daily experiences.  At first I thought, “Oh what fun that would be!” and visions of the next big Fifty Shades of Grey danced about in my head.  We all know what kind of creative spontaneous combustion flowed out of writer E.L. James’ mid-life crisis for that trilogy!

My discussion with the new novelist moved from the fun part of writing such a dare-to-be-bare project to how much hard work it is.  And how much time it takes.  And how painfully easy it is to be distracted away from the challenge.

86px-White_Tailed_SquirrelWe humans, writers in particular, are like self-disciplined performance dogs – until a squirrel darts across the road in front of us.  And then we are off on the chase- word counts, pages, deadlines, grumpy editors and undeveloped characters left spinning in our forgotten whirlwind of dust as we pursue the latest thing (or rodent) that snatches our attention away.

I am my own worst enemy when it comes to distraction and I have attended countless lectures on how to focus and I have read mountains of articles on the very same thing.  The truth of it is, is that writing is VERY HARD work!  And when you have stopped laughing, let me tell you that the next time someone says to me, “Must be nice to sit at home in your bathrobe all day and write – like a permanent vacation really”, the next thing I’ll be writing is my parole plea, begging for an early release from my assault with a weapon charge!

I know why I’m distracted.  Two reasons:

•    Its bloody hard work and I know that if I really focus and get 25 pages cranked out today, I will be a silent, empty shell of a human being by bedtime.  It’s very draining and I’d like to at least feel I’ve got the energy to eat a nice dinner with my husband, go for a walk and then sneak in 30 minutes of an old Will and Grace episode, before drooling onto the couch pillows, deep in a sleep coma.

The Sleep Coma

The Sleep Coma

•    The second reason is that I just KNOW someone will want something from me just as I’m in top gear, racing toward the end of an absolutely AWESOME article, the contents likely destined for a genius designation by a renowned editor of a major publication.  And my bubble of wonderfully creative inspiration will be popped like an over-inflated balloon.  And writers, you know that space in time can never be reset once it’s been upset.

So there are my two excuses for procrastinating in my writing.  And here are my two solutions:

•    It’s bloody hard work?  So what! I’ve done some pretty crappy work in my lifetime which includes digging latrines when I was in the army.  So I just need to remind myself of that when sitting in my comfy chair and the only tool I need to dig with is my imagination.  It doesn’t matter that I’ll be mentally drained at the end of the day.  When I was digging latrines all day a hundred years ago, tired included a very sore body, calluses and my dignity beaten like a rented donkey.

•    Interruptions will NOT be tolerated people!  The closed door with the Do Not Disturb sign on it is to be respected as if it was a grenade with the pin half way out.  Dare to knock. Or even worse; just crack open the door unannounced and the pin will fall out completely. I guarantee that it won’t be my direction that the door pops off its hinges.  I need to be very clear that my living (and my soul-feeding love) depends on my crazy alone time behind that door.

So here I sit, reassured that I have successfully dethroned the Distraction Queen, her crown doing a fast wobble-roll down the street as she chases after it with indignation.  And I am alone in my writer’s bubble, latrine-digging gloves on and pin set on the grenade.  No excuses this time your Highness.

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