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  • Francine Beaton

Distractions, distractions, distractions


I know we all are feeling fidgety, irritated, distracted, and just out of sorts at the moment. We are living in uncertain times, and there are a lot of things weighing on our minds. We worry. We are scared. That's understandable as we are dealing with something we never had to do before.



Yeah, I worry too. I worry about my husband, stuck on an oil rig in Egypt, not knowing when he will be able to come home as all borders in Egypt, and South Africa are closed.

I worry about my daughter living in Melbourne, also in lockdown. I mean, she's my baby. She's far away, and she has a compromised immune system. When will I be able to see her again?

I worry about my mother-in-law in a retirement home in Scotland. I worry about... Okay, you get the drift. I worry. So do you. But, these distractions are unusual. These worries have amplified in recent weeks, but luckily we don't always have to deal with it. Well, I hope not!

But, under normal circumstances, what distractions keep you from achieving your writing goals? I must confess, my biggest distraction is social media. I get obsessed and check Facebook and Instagram the whole time. It's even worse now because the only way to communicate with my author groups is through social media. But I do it all the time. Facebook and Instagram are bad enough on its own but don't let me start on Pinterest! I get sidetracked by everything!

Maybe I should now make a resolution: as soon as I settle down in my new home, with my new study (or writing nook), I'm going to set aside a time each day to interact on social media. Maybe the half an hour before lunch or before the end of my workday. (I have a set time when I break in the evening to spend with my family.)

Other distractions? I used to find that noise is a distraction, but having been a nomad for the last seven months, I can now work anywhere. I may sound like Dr Seuss, but I've learned to write on planes, trains and automobiles. In busses. In airports. In hotel lobbies. In the park. In the forest. Next to the sea. In a plane. Or I had, until one day! I concentrated hard on the scene I was writing, really immersing myself, giggling when it was funny, snorted when my character snorted and... You get the drift. Until I leaned back to find that the man next to me was reading everything I've written! With a big smile on his face. Maybe he too enjoyed the scene, but I can tell you: I never had a better travelling companion. For the rest of the trip, he was so attentive, taking my tray away (I guess so I can continue writing), taking my bag from the overhead locker, passing me drinks. You name it, he did it. In hindsight, he would make a perfect hero as he had the looks and the physique for it. And he was a silver fox, just like the character I had been writing.

But you see, there I got sidetracked again, which is another major distraction for me. What I wanted to say that was that noise didn't bother me as much anymore, nor am I constantly people-watching.


What else? Maybe too many projects or ideas. That's another item on my resolution list I guess I can add.


Or what about the time I spend helping other people instead of focusing on my own work? I know, I like to help people but I have to remember a lesson from my school days. In my Business Economics Class (or Accounting, I can't remember), was a sign: Time is Money. I should remember that. I'm not talking about the time spent helping members of my writing tribe to decide on a cover or hash out an idea. I'm talking about the hours I spent on creating artwork for someone I've never met. Spending time to edit someone else's work for free. Giving advice about social media and marketing and all the other stuff. It won't say I won't keep on doing that, but I need to plan better to fit those projects into my own writing schedule.

And, of course, the procrastination projects. If you know me, if I do dishes instead of writing, I'm procrastinating. Procrastination on its own can be a distraction as you concentrate so much on finding ways to procrastinate, you could've finished the project a long time ago.

For each of us, it might be different. We need to identify what is keeping us back from our writing. What do you find distracting?

Until next time

Francine

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