Thursday, February 20, 2014

Distractions…good or evil?

Here's an example of how I get distracted by the Internet when I’m trying to write: I look up the spelling of the name Aguero, or some other character/place I’ve just invented, to make sure I've got it right. Then somehow, from there the Web takes me to a photo of a beautiful clear-blue swimming hole in Spain. Now that's a mystery. I have to stop and locate where on planet Earth this gorgeous place is, because—who knows? If I sell enough books maybe I can go there someday. As my mother is fond of saying, "One can dream…"

There are programs, like Freedom ( oxymoron if there ever was one--which will cut off Internet access for as long as you specify. I tried to use it once and ended up ignoring it. Who wants to be told what they can't do? I've also utilized tricks like using a timer, or setting up rewards (chocolate, champagne, etc.) if I don't deviate from my Word screen for certain periods of time. Backfires. Every time.

Returning to the beautiful swimming hole, I find myself looking at (aka lurking) a complete stranger's vacation photos. A family frolics at the water's edge. The wife is a lot younger than the husband, but the kids are somewhere in the middle. That gives me pause. Are the children his from a former marriage? A combo? I squint at the screen. Can't tell by the color of their hair...

If she's not his second wife, she started giving birth at age twelve. Are they rich or poor? How do they get along? And why is there a bottle of wine on the rock in broad daylight? Are the kids drinking? Well, it is Europe after all. Are the man and the woman planning to sneak away? What if somebody slips, hits their head and drowns during a romantic interlude? 

And that's how my brain works. I guess it's not all bad. A wandering mind can be a good thing if a story comes out of it, so I try not to fight it. I try to be kind to myself and that brings a freedom of its own. Sometimes giving in is the best answer. 

What distracts you? What do you do about it? Do you have the attention span of a flea, or can you focus on one thing for hours on end? 

Let me know! I'm curious…