Wednesday, May 1, 2024

IWSG May 2024 - Distractions

May Question:  How do you deal with distractions when you are writing? Do they derail you?

I always enjoyed teaching etymology to elementary students. I certainly do not have a deep knowledge of the subject, but enough to help a third-grader learn how to break up a word into its Greek or Latin parts.

When I look at the word distractions. I automatically see "dis" or apart, and "tions" for action or process. Then there is "tract." Now I see a flying Winnebago being pulled into Spaceball One by Lord Helmet. Tractor beams are such an interesting element of science fiction. It was orginally coined by an author, E. E. Smith, in 1931 as "attractor beam," then shortened to "tractor beam." Did this science fiction writing chemist from Wisconsin picture a farming tractor when he wrote the word? Invisible John Deeres pulling things around in space...

There, see how easily we were distracted? Am I the only one who can hear the music from the tractor tipping scene in Cars?

But seriously, I like breaking this word down because it serves a purpose in understanding distractions. When I think of my writing as a pull, an invisible tractor beam connecting me to a story or a small seed of inspiration, then it means that things that serve to pull me apart are in essence trying to damage that connection.

Yet, it happens. The problem is, I'm not necessarily an easily distracted person. Which is in fact why I do not write as much as I should. If I were to fully give into that pull, I would have no time for anything else. I would find my job, my responsibilities, even my family to be a complete drain. So I often find distractions on purpose because I can easily pause a streaming episode, or even put down a book (although that's much more difficult). But pausing creation is exhausting and frustrating. So in the evening, while my kids are awake, I avoid writing. I distract myself from that desire because I want to be present for every page of homework, every game of uno, and every dirty dish.

So here is my current contradiction. Writing makes me happy. I get great satisfaction and pleasure from creating. But not writing is far more enjoyable than writing with constant interruption. 

Side note:  I once kept a stopwatch running. At home and at work, I never made it more than 4 minutes without an interruption. 4 minutes was the longest!!! Hardly anything can be accomplished in that time! I cannot decide if this is going to cause dimentia or prevent it. What I do know, is it is exhausting and maddening. 

So how do I deal with distractions while writing? I avoid writing until there are minimal distractions, because distraction is my life and I can't stop my life to write. Accepting that reality was my best personal development of the past few years. 

Book Update:
My first scheduled beta reader has been out of contact for personal reasons so I found two new readers. I'm hoping for some feedback in the next few weeks. In the meantime I'm afraid to work on anything else. I'm not sure what is behind that fear, but I'm sitting with it patiently. It just doesn't seem right to pour my focus into another work yet. Besides, I know how this will go. I'll start a new project and immediately get feedback on the novel and then have to stop the new project to refocus on the old one. Distractions, interruptions, different words, same result.

Want to read what other authors do about distractions? Join the blog hop!

The awesome co-hosts for the May 1 posting of the IWSG are Victoria Marie Lees, Kim Lajevardi, Nancy Gideon, and Cathrina Constantine!