Thursday, December 01, 2011

Distractions Getting You Down? What Are You Afraid Of?

Current Project: Revisions Blindsight
Status: 25% complete

I’ve come to the conclusion that distractions are in the eye, ear, mind, etc., of the beholder.
I’ve also come to the conclusion that insisting on a ‘perfect’ environment for writing is one way to not write. We often view obstacles as roadblocks when we are afraid. After we work through our fears, we view obstacles as problems to be solved. 

Then we find solutions.

So if you find yourself distracted to the point of non-progress, take a step back. What are you afraid of?

Although I can tune out visual distractions fairly easily (like a messy desk), I have a hard time tuning out auditory distractions when they reach a certain decibel level. Since my husband’s hearing is deteriorating, but he likes to watch TV and hates closed captioning, this has been problematic. I don’t like to isolate myself in my office when he’s home in the evenings, but that’s when I write blog posts, catch up on email, etc. 

All summer, while I felt overwhelmed by visiting grandchildren and by the revisions waiting to be done on two manuscripts, I kept asking my DH to turn down the volume, although I knew he wouldn’t be able to hear and would have to turn it up again. Then a few weeks ago I realized that if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve got

Why was I stuck in a ridiculous rut? Why was writing a chore instead of a joy?

Fear. I was afraid that I’d never get the revisions done. I’d missed several deadlines already.

I gave myself permission to take ‘as long as necessary’ to polish my manuscripts. As an unpublished writer, I can do that. So what if I pitched my book at a conference and got a request before it was polished? At least I had a good premise and presented it well.

My sister and I partnered to help us both get our writing back on track. We meet online most mornings for a couple of hours and report our progress to each other. We’ve both made steady progress and our production has increased over time. I’m on track to finish one manuscript by the end of the year.

Writing is a joy again. I’m feeling happier than I have in months.

And, guess what? A few days ago, I bought noise-cancelling headphones to wear when I work at night in the living room. 

(Bonus: they’re great for webinars, too!  And my DH, God bless him, has made an appointment to see if hearing aids have progressed enough to help his unusual pattern of hearing loss. Ten years ago, they hadn’t. But technology has come a long ways in ten years.)


Paty Jager said...

Sarah, That's the way to go! Find what works for you and do it!

I have my butt int eh chair to not only finish Logger in Petticoats but yesterday I received the final galley for Spirit of the Sky so I have to get that checked over today.

Sarah Raplee said...

LOL! Yep, motivations and fears are as variable as people. As writers, we have to become self-aware if we are to be successful.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

When will Spirit in the Sky be released?

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Sarah, your post shows a lot of insight. You and Paty are both right--face our fears and find solutions that work, which will be as individual as each writer. So glad you're back on track and enjoying writing again!

Christine Young said...

I hear you when it comes to auditory distractions. Any noise at all, even favorite music, especially favorite music keeps me from my writing. I have a hard time understanding how the kids at school can work with the noise. But they seem to thrive when listening to their music. I guess we are all just so different.

Sarah Raplee said...

Thanks for the compliment, Genene.

Christine, I am with you one-hundred per cent!