What do you do when the garbage needs emptying, the litter box needs cleaning, and the bills need paying?

You’re two weeks overdrawn and the only thing you got going for you is a few fleeting moments of relaxation time.

For most aspiring or beginning writers, the perils of reality always like to set in and rear their ugly little heads at the most unsettling times. How do you kill the distraction demons?

After my slump, I did a whole lot of real life reorganizing. I just ended a three year committed relationship and now it was time to move on. Truth was, I forgot why I even started writing to begin with.

Sure, it’s nice to get lost in the limelight and the big dreams of winning a million dollar contract, writing the next breakout bestseller, and finally being able to quit your day job and be a real writer.

Money had never been  a strong point of mine. Truth is, I can’t balance a checkbook without needing a calculator. I have a full time public service job that I most certainly didn’t take for the salary.

Did I dream of being a rich successful author? I’d be lying if I said no. I’m sure there are a lot of other people out there with similar aspirations. But, the visible minority are not the whole of the matter. For every Amanda Hocking and Stephen King, there are a million other Tobias Buckells, and Daniel Abrahams.

There was a while where I thought I was the most awesome person in the world and New York would be knocking down my door to get me to sign on the dotted line. I got so lost in the chance that I might win something, that I forgot to do anything. I would lounge around, plucking grapes off the vine and discussing with myself whether or not the Muse was planning to come over for a drink.

And then I thought about reality and the whole writing life seemed to slide off into oblivion. I let the rest of the world distract me that I forgot to make time for me. And that made me forget why I started writing when I was in 7th Grade.

It was because I liked it.

It made me happy. I told stories that I wanted to read.

It wasn’t to seek some sort of gratification or a self-fulfilling prophecy of making a million dollars. It was because I was having fun.

So? What’s the best way to kill the distraction demon? Don’t forget that you’re having fun.

If you’re finding yourself lounging around, waiting for the Muse to come visit, go out and find her. We think of writing as a passive activity: Sitting at the desk, relaxing on the couch, laying in your bed while you balance a laptop on your legs and plug away at a keyboard.

But there’s so much more to it than passively listening to yourself bang away on keys. Go out on an adventure, watch the sunset, climb a mountain, or hike a trail. Have yourself an adventure and let your mind wander. Think back to the simpler times when distractions weren’t an issue and all you could do was run and play.

Read a book. Work on something or anything else. The more you work to quiet the voice that says “you can’t”, the better chances you have of hearing the one that says “I believe in you.”


4 responses on “Distractions

  1. Brandon M Lindsay

    I bet this is a post I’m going to re-read in the future. Sometimes we do just need to remind ourselves. Great post.

  2. Colette

    I’m a little late on this, but I wanted to say, Great comments. Sometimes I think there’s no Muse to be found, but if I stick my butt in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard it seems to find me.

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