Monday Distractions

Yes, it’s Monday again, and yes, I’m late with today’s blog post, but I was distracted by three things this morning, and it’s all Jan Drexler‘s fault. (Of course, my short attention span might have had something to do with it, too.)

First, was her Facebook post sharing an opportunity to query a particular publishing house. It caught my attention and I had to go investigate.

Then I came across her meatloaf recipe on Yankee-Belle Cafe’s website. Meatloaf is a favourite around here, but hers looked and sounded like something special so I had to take time to copy out the recipe. At the end she also posted a link to this beautiful song with graphics that took me right back into my morning devotions.

So here I am, an hour later, still without a blog post, and it’s time to get on to other things. Sorry! Maybe you’ll check out the links, get distracted yourself, and forget my shortcomings.

I’ll leave you with some shenanigans by two of my other Monday morning distractions. (Did someone say, “Squirrel”?)

This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

[Psalm 118:24]

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I Can’t Write with Surround Sound

If you’re a parent, I’ll bet you can’t count the number of times you’ve told your youngsters to turn off the television, or the computer, or the iPod, and do their homework. And they’ve likely responded with a withering, “I am doing my homework.” Despite our skepticism, if the assignments are completed we don’t argue too strenuously.

There’s an ongoing conversation among writers about the value of music versus silence for effective writing. I’m sure you have an opinion. So does New York Times Bestselling novelist A.J. Hartley. In his post, “The Writer as Multi-tasker” on the Magical Words blog, he advocates silence.

“The short version,” he says, “is that decent productivity and multitasking don’t go together… Turn the music off… Turn the e-mail alerts off… Do one thing at once… Stay on task… You can work with music on? Good for you. Imagine how much more you’ll get done and how much better your work will be when you turn it off…  Writing is about you and the words. Everything else is distraction.”

In commenting on the post Daniel R. Davis says, “Oh, believe me, I can’t listen to music with lyrics at all while writing or trying to focus on anything else. I’m too much of a showboating singer not to sing along, which is incredibly distracting.  So I can relate as far as that goes. However, I’ve found that good, low volume instrumental music through headphones has the same effect on me as a music score in a film does, staying at that subconscious level where it evokes emotion without becoming distracting and that emotion helps to drive the scene forward.”

Personally, most of my writing is done in silence. I’m not able to concentrate in a coffee shop full of people or with music playing in the background unless it’s an instrumental classic played so quietly I’m not consciously aware of it. And if I’m not aware of it I can’t see the point of having it on at all.

So, what’s your opinion? Do you need sound or silence while writing? And if sound, what kind?

Distractions


You know how it is. Good intentions get you started and then distractions interrupt. You hold out against them for a while, but eventually you figure, hey, just give in and get them out of your system.

Wednesday it was the outdoors beckoning. Welcome sunshine urged us outside. DH decided to put up the Christmas lights and I couldn’t resist a bit of long-overdue fall gardening followed by a wander down to the marsh.

Thursday morning was for Remembering, while the afternoon was for baking. In our family November 11th is also the traditional day for baking Christmas fruitcakes. You just can’t ignore a tradition.

Christmas fruit cakes

Even when I settle down to write, distractions come peering in the window, begging for attention.

Raccoon at the window

So, you see, it’s easy to rationalize why my NaNoWriMo efforts aren’t staying quite in line with the daily average required. I should be in excess of 21,600 words as I start in to write again this morning. My 17,800 fall considerably short of that.

It’s those darned distractions.

Are you a disciplined writer and make your daily word count goal without any excuses, or do distractions sometimes de-rail you? What kind of distractions tempt you the most?