Sunday, December 21, 2008

Writing Without Distractions

Take a look at my picture. The one in the blog sidebar. Yup, Dana Fredsti, that's me. The gal with kittens sprawled on her lap and work, a resigned look on her face.

Writing at my house is never without distractions. I don't have kids, but I do have 10 cats of varying ages and temperaments. I'm also heavily involved in feline rescue and lately there have been emails flying back and forth trying to decide the fate of various cats, who will foster which ones, nursing sick kittens and...well...it's time-consuming and emotionally draining.

Then there's the television. "Surely it won't hurt to have Giant Snake/Crocodile/Shark Movie Festival on Sci-Fi Channel on in the background while I write! White noise!" Except the white noise takes on all sorts of color when bad actors are running away from wretched CGI effects. I'm a sucker for bad movies.

Even more distracting than cats or bad movies, however, is the lure of the Internet, both justifiable (networking enough to keep my face/name/book out there) and frivolous (pick your 'net surfing poison, it's out there). And when the writing is going slowly, it seems like SUCH a good idea to check email. Just one more time... Soon the whole bag of cyber potato chips is gone and several hours frittered away.

Even still, I have never been tempted by the idea of going to a coffee house to write. I've always been perplexed by all those laptop carrying folks I see setting up camp at Starbucks and other less ubiquitous coffee houses. I mean, how the heck could one concentrate out in public? So when my writing partner and pal Cynthia Gentry (we have a non-fiction project due beginning of February) suggested meeting at a Starbucks in Belmont, I was skeptical I would accomplish anything useful. However, knowing Cynthia wrote the majority of her last project at Starbucks (she has a toddler, which makes the need to escape the house understandable), I agreed to give it a go.

Well, dang me if I didn't have an incredibly productive two hour writing session! I had no internet connection, so I couldn't distract myself with email/Facebook/Twitter/email. Sci Fi Channel wasn't an option. I didn't have felines crawling over and around me demanding attention and food. And I had my cell phone turned off. It was amazing, like being cocooned in a plastic bubble (with air holes) surrounding our table.

Mind you, I still prefer writing within the walls of my cozy house by the beach. And when I have a good writing day here, it's generally a great day. But I will no longer poo-poo the idea of retreating my local java establishment with my iMac if I feel the need to remove all distractions.

9 comments:

Dana Fredsti said...

It's back...

Morgan Mandel said...

Distractions - oh, yes, I love them all. Why else am I here instead of working on my book?

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
http://www.morganmandel.com

Jean Henry Mead said...

Ah, email, Facebook and Twitter. I try to limit myself to one five-minute break an hour when I'm writing. I also have a very demanding dog who pushes my elbow into the air with her nose whenever she wants attention, which is often, causing me to write in a foreign language. :)

Dana Fredsti said...

Heh. You two make me feel not so alone here...

Right now one of my cats (the black and white one that's in my lap in my author photo on this site) is sitting between me and my laptop on my lap. I've put her down twice.

Other Lisa said...

Man, my M.O. is...write a couple sentences. Surf the web. Write another couple sentences. Check Twitter. Maybe another sentence...well, you get the idea! I think i was a lot more productive when I had dial-up!

My kittehs are pretty good writing buddies though. I frequently have one on my lap, who is content to just sit there and purr and receive the occasional scritch.

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Kevin R. Tipple said...

My guilty vice, besides those movies on SCI-FI and yes, I watch them too, is all those--Are you the Daddy shows? I put it on for background noise and then find myself watching folks who have no business admitting whatever on nationwide TV.

Dana Fredsti said...

HAH! Kevin, that's a great bad guilty pleasure!

Chester Campbell said...

Enjoyed reading about your distractions, Dana. I decided to start my New Year's resolutions early but I've already broken the first one, which was only work on my new book today. Argh!