Thursday, December 17, 2009

All is Calm. All is... Wait... Calm?

As I sat down to write today, I kept getting distracted by the cacophony streaming through the baby monitor. No nap again today? You've got to be kidding me! You're not even two! Where in the world do you store all that energy?

That got me thinking, "A dangerous pastime, I know". (Love Disney's Beauty and the Beast!) What can I do to not get so distracted? Really, E is safe and sound upstairs and I can hear him so I know. I really shouldn't be letting him keep me from concentrating on my revisions. He's happy (very happy - yelling "Oh! Oh! Oh!" at the moment in his little singsong voice) and I need the release that my novel brings. It's sort of a longing that I shove to the side more often than not and it's time to just sit down and focus.

Then it hit me, I just needed to say it out loud. E is okay, where he is supposed to be right now, so focus. Am I the only one who tries to make things too complicated? How do you all focus when life (or child, dog, work, husband watching TV in the background) gets really loud?

I think as we sit down to write, there are a few things we need to remember to do first. Here's my list:
1. Turn off the phone. If you miss a few calls, the world is not going to end.
2. Don't worry. If you have to, write what is worrying you down on a piece of paper and push it aside. That way you don't have to worry about forgetting the things you are worried about. You can have worry time after writing time. Yes, I'm serious. ;)
3. Don't answer the door! If you know someone is coming around such and such a time, the pizza delivery guy or whoever, wait to start writing after they've left so your mind isn't clutter with thoughts of gooey cheese and spicy pepperoni. That leads me to number four.
4. Eat, drink and use the bathroom BEFORE you sit down to write. Seriously, I'm not turning this car around!
5. Write well rested. I am a believer in the magical, mystical power of sleep. Now I just need to find some. I wonder if it got lost in the pile of dishes on the counter...

Now before you think I've gone nuts, these are actually for me, not you. Yes, I need the reminders. So really, what do you do to help yourself focus?


  1. LOL at number three! I tried that today, while I was showering, and then working on projects -- unfortunately J answered it for me and invited them in -- it was my visiting teachers, but still, I had other stuff to do! *sigh*

  2. I can commiserate with the whole baby not napping business--although mine doesn't happily chat, more like bloody murder scream, so there is no concentrating during that!

    Which is why I do most of my writing at night. And believe it or not, I write best when I am so tired I can barely think. I love that time because the writing seems magical, as though someone else is doing it for me!

  3. It's been so long since my babies were napping and I wasn't writing then so ... Yikes! I guess the main thing on that subject would be for you to recognize that he's happy, so you should be happy too!. Turn down the monitor (not off!) so you can just hear him, but can also work, lol.

    As for me, my favorite time to write is just after school. So the boys are running in and out of the house with their friends. I like to put on my headphones so I can write without distractions. Totally wouldn't work for you, lol.

    Good luck to you Nisa!

  4. Oh Amanda, that is too funny! It's a good thing it was just your VTs!

    Lisa and Laura, he got to that about five minutes after I'd finished writing this post. Haha!

    When I'm tired, I can't string coherent sentences together so I find it very cool and amusing that you write best then. I love it!

    Ali, no, that wouldn't work out so well. I can't even imagine having my boys in school, let alone coming home from it with friends... So odd! Can't they just stay little? lol

  5. Nisa, I'm like you, get myself mentally and physically ready and shut everything else out. It's not always easy, but it is doable.

  6. You're definitely not the only one. I'm the type of person who has to have all of my work done and everything neatly put away before I can concentrate on writing.

    It really is so hard to unplug and pull away from the distractions. Great tips!

    I learned a long time ago, however, that headphones (not earbuds, but the big, bulky headphones) do wonders when I'm trying to tune out the world. But my kids aren't real small anymore.

  7. Great suggestions! I'm having a terrible time focusing right now. Ugh. I want my writing groove back!

  8. Number four and five are priceless! And if you find your sleep can you let me know if I left mine there too? It feels like I'm running on fumes.

  9. Eileen, determination and plain, old stubborn! :D

    Kat, yeah, headphones might not be such a great idea for me yet... Glad I'm not the only one that hates having things hang over me while I write!

    Angie, I think it has something to do with the fact that Christmas is 6 days away. I bet you'll get your focus back soon after that!

    T. Anne, I will definitely keep an eye out. We shall be victorious in that department. Eventually...


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