Thursday, August 22, 2013

One Problem With Being a Writer

One problem with being a writer is learning to focus on what you should be doing, rather than what you might prefer to be doing, at any given moment. There are simply too many distractions when you are not tied down by the narrow restrictions of a 9 to 5 regimented job.

If I look out the office window I see grass begging to be cut, or a garden that is taking matters into its own leafy hands and deciding to run wild. Behind me I have a stack of unread magazines muttering that there are important secrets within waiting to be revealed. Difficult as this may be to believe, but there is even the occasional TV show that I might want to watch, to improve my mind, of course.

Even when I sit down at the keyboard and promise I will put in an hour allowing the creative juices to flow, should I be doing what I know needs taking care of, or what I might prefer? I have a good start on those extra chapters for the first draft of We’re Not in Kansas but is that really the best use of my time? I have some marketing ideas I should be pushing to promote my latest novel, The Queen’s Pawn, and I also have two new novellas drafted in the Housetrap Chronicles series. At the very least I should set Kansas aside as a long range project and polish my Chronicles tales for submission. But the devil I know who is sitting on my left shoulder is whispering, "you know how they turn out, Kansas is at least partially unknown country, and therefore more fun." Bad devil!

Then there is that writer’s conference coming up in a month. I’m on four panels. Maybe I should be giving some thought to what I’m going to be saying. But then, that’s still a long way off. What happens with all this indecision? I cleverly solve the problem by sitting down and creating next month’s post for The Writer’s Vineyard. Bad devil!

 Authors who write at home, unsupervised, need to learn how to focus on what is really important. They need to learn how to manage their time. They need to be aware of how to prioritize and focus on what they should be doing, and not on what they would prefer to be doing. As a long-time amateur photographer I am familiar with the concept of focusing and know how important it is in that field of endeavor. Self promotion is key to this modern world of writing. I must promise myself I will do some marketing today before I dive into the well of creativity and abuse some more of my unsuspecting characters.

I wonder if we have any fresh coffee? I’ve only had one cup today and I hear another calling...


The Dark Lady - February 2012
Housetrap - December 2012
Knight’s Bridge - March 2013
The Queen’s Pawn - April 2013
Dial M for Mudder - July 2013  
House on Hollow Hill - Sept 2013


Big Mike said...

You're spot on regarding distractions. They seem to drive the images right out of your mind.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Distractions work both ways. Sometimes my husband wanders into the "sanctuary" and asks; "Are we going to have dinner anytime tonight?"

Poor devil!

Big Mike said...

JP, you're so bad.


Ute Carbone said...

Boy, have you got my number. I'm writing this because I should be working on my WIP. Hey, is that a squirrel outside my window??

joyce said...

Thanks for reminding me I need to focus on writing. I was considering taking a nap. Hey, only ten minutes!

Rita Bay said...

Great point on time management. It's always a balance. I won't describe but what was outside my window in my yard yesterday. The County's Animal Control Tech said he didn't have a clue but he took it back to the Shelter for second and third opinions. Good thing I'm not squeamish. Wonder if there's a story in that? Rita

Liz Fountain said...

Discipline is important in practicing any art form. Usually the toughest thing to discipline is our own minds. I was in a workshop recently where we writers talked about what gets in our way, and several mentioned the distractions of kids, chores, spouses, day jobs, etc. The facilitator said "It's not the noise in your house you need to quiet; it's the noise in your mind."

True (and tough) enough!