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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Distractions

Today is a good day to write. This is the thought I have every morning when I get up and power up the computer. Quickly followed by thoughts such as, I am going to get a lot done today or I’m going to reach my writing goals today.

But then something happens. After the computer is turned on, I decide to “clear the decks” by checking my email. If I do it first thing in the morning while my brain is still waking up, then the day will be clear for me to write. At least that is the intent. Even as I write this, I am tempted to check my email again, just in case I received something important in the two minutes since I checked it last. Or perhaps one of my favorite blogs sent out a new post that I should be reading now. Then there is that list of author questions I should be compiling for the interviews I have lined up, so many authors to follow up with, and shouldn’t I do at least one thing today to promote my own book?

Okay, that’s out of the way. Time to write. I’ve got the document open, the idea in my head, and I’m ready to go. I just have to remember to call the pediatrician to give her permission to release medical information to the orthopedic doctor. Perhaps I should contact the G.I. doctor to give him permission to talk to the orthopedic doctor, too. I have to make a follow up appointment with him for my daughter anyway; I can take care of both things at once. But it’s still so early, no one will be in the office yet. Write a reminder. Okay, good, that’s out of the way. I hope the appointment goes well tomorrow. It’s not every day you have to take your daughter in for a CT scan, after all. Should I be worried that the orthopedic doctor moved up the follow up visit from May 1st to April 27th? Could this mean that he wants to do the surgery sooner, too? I’m not ready for this, everything is happening so fast. How can I concentrate on writing with all of this hanging over my head?

Ah, distractions. All of us are faced with them, in various forms, many times throughout the day. Those little things that, if we let them, will completely take over our minds, pushing everything else out and keeping us from achieving anything that day. I know. I am often the victim of distractions mostly because I allow myself to be. I can’t help it. I’m a worrier – and a thinker. That is a dangerous combination. Especially for a self-proclaimed procrastinator. Put the three together and you have the ingredients for the perfect storm. Because I think too much, mulling things over and over in my mind, and worry about the outcome of everything, I often allow myself to put off other things until a later date.

I’ll do better tomorrow, I decide. I’ll reach that goal of ten pages, or five sets of interview questions, or whatever is on my plate that day. Today, I need to concentrate on tying up all of the loose ends before my daughter’s surgery. Maybe I’ll take the computer with me and work on my book while she’s in surgery. If I’m lucky, the hospital won’t have a wifi connection so I won’t be distracted by the lure of the Internet. But I will be thinking about the surgery, so will I really be able to concentrate on my writing?

The funny thing is, no matter what is conspiring against me at any given time, I always manage to get things done. I don’t know how I do it, I just do. So I have every confidence that I will get the interview questions together and sent out, the bits of promo completed, and maybe a page or two of my WIP written. So what if it’s not the ten-page goal I set for myself? The important thing is to just write, even if I stop at two pages, to push through the distractions and not let them beat me.

So what do you do to get through the distractions? I would love to hear your tips and tricks. Who knows? Maybe I’ll discover a new way to keep myself on track and take one more step toward my writing goals today.


Margay Leah Justice

7 Moonbeams (comments):

Carrie said...

Being a confirmed procrastinator, I know exactly what you mean.

It's hard to get motivated to do some things on some days, on other days, however, we feel like we've put things off long enough and we need to get to it and just get it done (laundry, dishes, paying bills, cleaning, etc.).

I've contemplated a lot as to why procrastinating seems ingrained in my blood. I think I figured out why. I've lost a lot of people I know at a young age and it made me realize how precious life is and how important it is to live it and get enjoyment out of it.

Why do today what we can take care of tomorrow? The dishes aren't going to go anywhere and the laundry will still be in the piles, but the people in our lives will. They will grow up, sprout wings and begin to fly. We don't want to miss that or find other things that offer enjoyment. No regrets or things left unsaid.

When going through stressful times, the mind will need to recharge and sometimes writing may help that other times, it's the distractions that the mind needs.

For me, the reason why I can have difficulty extracting myself from my distractions is that I can be afraid of losing something or missing something. I get through this by just accepting the fact that if I want to do what I need to do, I will miss something somewhere. Maybe it's just as simple as letting go.

Of course, during troubling times, does letting go equate with falling apart?

Carrie said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to say that the Golden Smoochie is still up for grabs!

Molly Daniels said...

Ah, Margay...I do the same thing:) Esp if I've emailed someone back or asked a question. I've even been known to bring my internet down to the bottom, so I'll know if I got any new mail!

Glad I'm not the only one:)

Molly Daniels said...

Yes, Gracen...came out of lurkdom! Happy now? LOL:)

Margay said...

Carrie, I've come to learn that sometimes letting go means letting go of the pressure and just trusting that everything will work out. It's a hard lesson and I still struggle with it every day. As far as procrastination goes, I never stopped to contemplate why I procrastinate except for the fact that it is just something that runs in my family. Hhmm...now I have to re-think that...

Margay

Margay said...

Molly, I do the same thing! I keep my email minimized and if I see that number change, I click right over to see who sent me what. My daughters tell me I shouldn't even open the Internet when I need to get some writing done, but I can't help it. I have to keep it open!

Margay

Carrie said...

Ah, it's that darned movie, "You've Got Mail!"

Congrats on getting the golden smoochie today!