They’re everywhere you turn, lying in wait for an ambush. No, not the furry nut collectors, the clock robbers… time suckers…chronometrical pick-pockets. We break off finger-nails clawing for every minute of writing time we can hoard, fighting against the forces determined to deprive us of that desperately sought after compositional meter. Still, there’s never enough. Especially this month, with so many NaNo-nites (my own term) hunkered over their respective computers in a race to finish an entire novel in 30 days. How can they possibly cram 50,000 words into 43,200 minutes? Where can they find the time?
But that’s not the really interesting question. Nope. What’s fascinating is that even when we do manage to wrestle away some precious writing time (and yes…I’m including myself in this group), why is it that we are so easily distracted and end up pissing it away? Seriously! Facebook, twitter, blogger, text messaging, random internet surfing, alphabetizing your CD collection, playing bejeweled, re-grouting the shower, cleaning out a closet with boxes older than your eldest child, planning a trip you could never afford, checking the batteries in the smoke-alarms, reorganizing your CD collection to group them by styles of music, cleaning the dust off ceiling-fans no longer being used, preparing to take a long walk, driving to Walmart to buy new socks for walking, cleaning out the car, making room in the garage for the boxes you pulled out of the closet, re-sorting your CD collection again, this time by gender/music style/alphabet.
I think you get my point. I’ll admit, this happens a lot more when I’m revising (oh…the pain!), but it’s a pretty common problem just about any time I’m writing. Is it a writer’s nature to be easily sidetracked, or is it just human nature? Maybe…just maybe, the root cause is more primal. What if it’s a genetic throwback to the times when we were all hunters…and hunted…and survival depended on paying more attention to the world around you? Rationalization at its finest!
In fact, the next time my wife slaps the back of my head and complains, “You weren’t even listening to me”, I think I’m going to reply with, “Did you hear that? It sounded like a bear.”
Those of you wondering what the title of this post has to do with distractions, really need to see the movie UP!