Since I’m in the midst of a deadline this week, have a new release I’m promoting (THE MARINE NEXT DOOR) and the AC broke in the 90+ heat this weekend (ugh!) and I'm waiting for the repairman, I'm going to just blog a list today. But I hope you'll add to it or share other questions or comments.
One thing that the deadline pressure does to me is that it makes me particularly vulnerable to being distracted by what I call “shiny objects”. When my brain is really focusing on accomplishing a certain task, I can get a lot done in a short amount of time. However, my brain cells and body do have their limits, and when I start pushing too hard for too long, my subconscious mind tries to divert my attention. Usually, it just means I need to take a break. But sometimes, it’s because writing a book is hard work—a lot of worthwhile things in life are hard work—and, well, when things are that challenging, I don’t always want to do them.
So, in no particular order, here are 20 shiny objects that have distracted me recently.
1. The next story on my agenda to write. It’s not due until July, but I’ve already got a good start, and those characters are really talking to me. (The grass is always greener on the next project, eh?)
2. Sampling new flavors of tea. Mom introduced me to acai berry/blueberry green tea. I’m loving it.
3. Going to the window to see what the dog is barking at. Spring brings lots of squirrels, rabbits, and meter readers into the yard, and Maggie keeps track of all of them.
4. Brushing the dog. Apparently, Maggie got into some stickers and dead leaves while on morning patrol, and her curly hair is like Velcro.
5. Ordering those slats you put under the cushions of a sagging piece of furniture so that a sumo wrestler can sit on them. Been wanting to do that for a while.
6. Looking at the shiny silver charm my writers’ group (Prairieland Romance Writers) gave me for selling my 50th book. Think about how fortunate I am to have such good friends.
7. Flipping through a jewelry catalog to find a new charm bracelet.
8. Deciding whether to have baby Swiss cheese or mozzarella cheese sticks with my lunch. Maybe I’ll eat the leftover pasta, instead.
9. Rearranging the photographs on the piano now that I’ve added a new one of my son from his trip to Rome. (I’m looking at the piano as I’m eating my lunch)
10. Doing the laundry. This is a chore where I can see big results without nearly as much time and effort as, say, dusting and vacuuming require, so I feel good about accomplishing a task (but I probably don’t need to wash everything in one day).
11. Watching the birds go after the dandelion seeds in my back yard.
12. Let Maggie out back to see her flush 20 or so robins and starlings and mourning doves and chicadees and one plover.
13. Pull up a few dandelions while the ground is soft from recent rains.
14. Move my son home from college. Spend time deciding where to put all his stuff!
15. Go look at my brand new (awesome!) cover for my August Intrigue on Amazon.
16. Check the sales rank and scout out reviews for my current release, THE MARINE NEXT DOOR, since I’m already on Amazon.
17. Decide I need more Pepsi to complete my major writing job today, so take Maggie for ride to nearby convenience story to get a fountain refill.
18. Re-read through the scene I wrote yesterday and finetune it. Too much narrative—needs more dialogue.
19. Touch my late dad’s glasses case that I keep on my writing desk, and think about how much I miss him and how lucky I was to have had him in my life.
20. Give myself a stern talk about how I’ve just wasted an entire hour when I need to be writing. Decide to get Chinese take-out for dinner so I can use that prep time to write longer this evening.
So… What distracts you when you’re under pressure to get a project done?
I’ll give away a signed copy of my brand new release, THE MARINE NEXT DOOR, to one lucky poster.
Here’s to staying focused,