Squirrel!

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!

22 comments

  1. I'm easily distracted too - hence why I'm surfing blogs rather than working ... Oh the irony. :)

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  2. The movie UP had me sobbing uncontrollably within the first 5-10 minutes. (that whole early montage *sobs* kills me. Kills. Me.) But I love the movie (and all the other Disney animated movies...they all make me cry).

    Yeah, usually if my house is spotless and organized, it is not a good sign for my writing. But usually I don't pull out my Advanced Procrastination Methods during a first draft. Revisions is my hotbed of "Hmmm, that cat box needs cleaning" behavior.

    I like your rationale. I think I'll poach. ;)

    Happy weekend!

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  3. Great post, and yes here I am, when I have a zillion other things to do! And I don't know what you had in mind with the title of your post, but I immediately saw the scene in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, where the squirrel jumps out of the Christmas tree. "Squirrel!"

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  4. It takes very little - okay nothing, really - to distract me from writing. I'm in "Focus" boot camp right now with my CP. She's trying to train me to be more productive. Seriously. It's okay for you to laugh now. :-)

    Have a great weekend.

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  5. I slap my fingers for reading your blog! :)

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  6. Shannon's CP here... :D I actually don't get distracted/sidetracked very easily. Hence, why she requested my assistance. Focus is my middle name. (Not really, but it should be.)

    The exception is when my cat sits on the back of my chair and then proceeds to dig her claws into my neck. What the heck's up with that?

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  7. Don't call her a squirrel! A lack of sex is distracting, too.

    I pre-plan my distractions. Tonight it's a movie, followed by a little Fallout.

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  8. I'm liking your analysis. So many minutes, so many words, and how many thoughts and distractions????

    Don't count.

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  9. Funny you should mention smoke detectors. Mine have started tweeting at me cause they need new batteries. And they did this at 2A.M.
    Mary Montague Sikes has stopped by my blog with her blog book tour. Nancy N. R. Williams, fantasy author

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  10. I just read the fine print - now I understand the title!

    If I could only turn off my internet, I think I'd get a lot more writing done. Of course, I'm sure I'd just find something else to waste time on if I couldn't surf the net. Such is life.

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  11. I haven't seen up, but I knew the expression from the trailers - and from our repeated usage at school!! :) I am Definitely Distractable with capital Ds!!!

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  12. Squirrel!

    I was hoping your title referred to Up! And was so happy it did.

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  13. Okay, so what do you call it when you write so you don't have to do housework? Reverse distraction?

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  14. Who has CD's anymore? LOL. J/K Anyhoo, I get very easily distracted, too. But if we didn't pay attention to the world around us, what would we write about???

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  15. So funny. So true. The other day I walked in the door just after 5pm, and got straight to work on dinner -- sort of. I put a frying pan on the stove and turned on the heat. Then I got distracted. And about twelve minutes later as I stood on a step ladder painting a wall (that I had put off for over a week) I wondered what was burning? Yes. It was The empty frying pan.

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  16. Hehehehe

    I haven't seen the movie yet, but I've seen the previews. But yes, I've done a vast amount of procrastination. Doing much better this month though. Hope I can keep up my new skills once November is over. Erm, is the bathroom calling me to scour it?

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  17. What happened to the squirrels? I don't know about in AR, here in IA there doesn't seem to be as many as there were last year???

    I havent's seen the FB movie, but am looking forward to seeing it. :)

    Good luck on Nano...you have 15 more days.

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  18. So...I used to have all this time to write. I did it with abandon at times and then with cutting edits along the way. Something to do with mood? But now, that hubs is home, things in my routine have shifted. I mean ALL routine is out the window and the writing/blogging/researching/editing is taking the biggest hit. As for procrastination or the whole "Something Shiny!" phemon, yes, I suffered from that before said routine went out the window. I blame genetics. I always blame genetics ;)
    I know I've been away but have missed ya and should be (operative) more proactive around these parts.
    And squirrels do ambush!!! I believe they could be a touch evil.

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  19. Dude. Were you spying on me this past week?

    Where's the hidden camera. Fess up.

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  20. I haven't been reading or commenting much recently as I've been trying to edit... thought I'd better get on with some blog visiting at long last though.

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  21. I completely and utterly relate to that. Its really hard keeping focus during those awful revisions...argh! But, someone's gotta do it!

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  22. So so true. What is it about revisions and time wasting?

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