Thursday, November 1, 2012

Why it’s Good to Embrace Distractions

Distractions are a writer’s best excuse to avoid the scene that’s causing trouble, the editing that’s causing frustration, the character who won’t do what he’s supposed to do. Because of this, we tend to treat distractions as a bad thing. We beat ourselves up over not remaining focussed on our writing.

However, distractions can be good for the creative mind because, if we are more open to them and view them more as opportunities, then we can gain so much more from the experience.

Distractions can be serendipitous events that inspire us to take a different route in the plot.They can trigger whole new ideas for stories, they can give us a deeper understanding of the world around us.

Distractions can give us a new experience from which to draw.

Note: We still need to be wary of the Solitaire distractions, the internet distractions, the ones where we say we’ll just spend five minutes check our email and an hour later we’re still there.

Do you get impatient with distractions? What’s your greatest distraction?

Annoucement!!
My short story, Birthright, will be published in the Make Believe anthology in a month! Eek! My goodness, that came up fast. I’m super excited and would love to celebrate the launch with all my friends. If you’d like to join me on 3rd December, launch day, and share the exciting news, please sign up below.

Flower Photo: I took this photo of my newest addition in the garden. Does it make a nice distraction? ;)




57 comments:

  1. December 3 - you know I'm there!!
    Some might view watching a movie as distraction, but that's where I get my best ideas. Same with my guitar playing. The first fills me with ideas, the second empties my mind so I can focus on one idea.

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    1. What a great combination! And yes, movies give me great ideas too.

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  2. Distractions can be productive. My idea for my current WIP came from getting distracted from writing a previous novel by listening to a Tom Waits song. So long as you don't let these things happen too often so you end up not seeing things through, distractions can sure be helpful!

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  3. I'm pretty lenient with myself when it comes to distractions--I figure my brain kind of needs it. I get hyperfocused sometimes and forget everything else but writing exists, so I think I need times of distraction to balance!

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    1. lol, yeah I suffer from that hyperfocus too. My hubby teases me about it.

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  4. Sometimes distractions give our minds the freedom to wander far enough afield to find the solution. If we try to keep our minds pinned to one spot we'll never find anything new or interesting.

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  5. I'd have to agree, there are certain distractions that are timely, help to pull us from digging into a rut then inspiring us with something unexpected, if we open our minds to it.

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  6. I find it hard to allow myself to submit to distractions, but when I do, and I step away from a troubling scene, chapter, edit, or whatever, I find that my mind clears and when I come back to it later I (usually) have a better hold on it. Some of my best distractions are mundane ones - painting the house, cleaning, grocery shopping, things that don't require a lot of thought and I can turn up the music and just let my mind wander. Although another really good distraction is playing with my kids--their minds work in mysterious ways. I always come away with new ideas after playing make-believe with them!

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    1. Yes!! Kids are truly amazing. I love the way their inquisitive minds work. So full of imagination.

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  7. I meant to say CONGRATULATIONS on Birthright! How exciting! Count me in on the 3rd. :)

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  8. Congrats on Birthright!

    I'm going through a difficult distraction this week. I'm drawing on the pain of loss.

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    1. Every experience, every emotion, even something as terrible as loss, can make us better writers.
      Hugs.

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  9. ah, yes, you have spring down there and thus the flower....

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    1. It's a sneezy spring too! lol. But the flowers are gorgeous so I had to share.

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  10. Congratulations!!!! And yes, I think an open mind and distractions help with creativity as well. :)

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  11. Love your flower :)

    I signed up for the 12-3 Launch Day promotion. I still love the cover!

    I agree some distractions can be good. However, most of October was loaded up with distractions for me that came from outside sources and over which I had zero control. That wasn't good at all.

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    1. Yep, it was the same for me... and November doesn't look much better. Eek! But it's all good. That's part of living.

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  12. Distractions can be good because they give our hard working writer brains a break. And can even cause creative inspiration for when we do get back to writing!

    Jai

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  13. Well, for the observant writer, all distractions are "research." I'm learning about the culture and habits of my fellow humans, while browsing the latest celebrity news and gossip. Ha! Or maybe I'm just procrastinating because I don't want to have to go deep and write about emotions I don't want to feel at the moment. *Sigh* Could be that too. :)

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    1. lol, Luanne. I think we are masters of justifying certain distractions even when we know they aren't so good. Good luck with delving into those emotions.

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  14. I try to enjoy and not feel guilty about distractions because if I'm wasting time I might as well enjoy it and relax a bit.

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  15. I think maybe our minds need to process sometimes. I'd rather work a little slower and have less to do on the backend [polished draft phase] than the other way around. So, I do sometimes stop and mull the story over.

    Yeah, on publication coming up. That's exciting, Lynda! Count me in. :)

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  16. Thank you!! Thank you to everyone who has signed up so far. You are all AWESOME!!!!!

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  17. Oy, I'm reading this blog instead of doing my programming homework... how's that for a distraction?

    You are insightful as always.

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  18. So true. I think that naps are definitely my biggest distraction, but I always feel so much more motivated afterwards. ;)

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    1. oh, naps don't count. Naps are necessary ;)

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  19. Distractions really can be good - in life, in writing. It's the unexpected that usually springboards the exciting! :)

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  20. I'm glad you didn't mention the Scrabble game I keep playing on my iPhone. That doesn't count, right???

    Can't wait to host you on my blog!

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    1. of course it doesn't count!! But only because it's on your iPhone ;)

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  21. Hi Lynda,

    I completely agree with you. It's hard not to be distracted by life and the distractions give us content and insight we can use to write.

    For me, I'm more likely to be distracted because of some sort of fear of facing the creative or writing task than I am by things going around myself. I realize that I'm distracted and this leads me to address the issue, which usually involves writing about it. And usually it gives me some pretty cool ideas!

    Congrats on your short story going into the anthology!

    -Ashley

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  22. Most troublesome distraction = the Internet. Other than that, yes, they can be a good thing - allows the mind time to mull over that awkward scene ready for the next writing session.

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  23. You're back!

    This past weekend, I shopped for a flapper costume as my distraction when I needed to unbend and it really worked!

    Gorgeous photo, Lynnie. That blossom is lit from within, just like you.

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  24. I have to watch for those distractions and keep them in check. I don't spend too much time on the Internet, and I try not to do anything else when I am supposed to work on a project, write, research etc. But some distractions are necessary, simply to give my brain a rest, when I forget!

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  25. always loved that cover! and my friend kelly said is in it too! looking forward to it!

    and i like distractions in the plot, look over there so i can sneak by...

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  26. Love the cover. Congrats. I will wait for a few days before I sign up as I may be travelling.

    Distractions were my best friend last month.

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  27. That's incredibly exciting about the anthology! Also, I am very happy to embrace my distractions--sometimes a little too happy, lol!

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  28. Congrats on your story! Distractions are idea starters . . .

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  29. Facebook is my big distraction. I need to do my thing and then get off. It steals so much of my time!

    Congratulations on your anthology release!

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  30. Hi, Lynda,
    Boy do I know about checking this and that and still being there an hour later. Congrats on the release.

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  31. Congrats! And count me in. Distractions aren't too much of a problem. Except for TV. Yeah, that's a problem. And books. Even bigger problem. And snacking! Oy! Guess I do have a problem after all!

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  32. Eeek! How exciting the time is getting closer!! :o) Great points about distractions. I need 'em sometimes; otherwise I sit here in front of my computer until it's counterproductive!

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  33. Congratulations on your story! :)

    My biggest distraction, when actually having started writing, is Google Search. I'll look up something relatively non-essential and get carried away hunting through the results.

    Love the flower picture.

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  34. I signed up. :)

    At times I hate the feeling of being distracted, because I feel unproductive, yet I need those moments.

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  35. I'm trying to embrace the distractions to jog my brain instead of getting locked up in frustration. Heading over to sign up for the big day. Congrats.

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  36. My biggest distraction is reading news articles on the Internet. I spend way too much time reading random articles on topics that range from the presidential election to murder trials to the case of the guy who sued his wife because their baby was ugly (he thought his wife cheated on him, but it turns out she had a bunch of plastic surgery so the baby looked like the way she looked before the surgery).

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  37. Congrats! to you and best wishes for Make Believe. I'll have you spotlighted as my Author of the Week that week.

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  38. I don't get impatient with distractions, but I do feel guilty about them sometimes. They can work both ways: both get you off track, and, like you said, give you new ideas. I suppose really, many of my distractions (art, gardening, etc.) do give me time to mull things over. But I'm guilty of the other kind, too: checking email, FB, etc.

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  39. I'm starting a blog tour on that day too...let me know if I can tweet, FB, etc to help promote!!!

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  40. Congrats on your short story - that's awesome!!

    and I love it when bloggers/writers I look up to tell me it's okay to let oneself be distracted sometimes :)

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  41. THANK YOU to everyone who has signed up so far. I've said it before, but I'll say it again, YOU ARE ALL AWESOME!!!!

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