Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fall Fever and Focus...

by Janis Patterson
…or lack of same.

Maybe it’s the change of seasons, but I’m having the hardest time focusing on anything productive writing-wise. For most of my creative life I’ve been able to sit and write and concentrate only on the story at hand.

Now I can’t. I sit, and I write for a while, and then my mind flits away and eventually my body follows it. The dishwasher needs to be emptied. The laundry pile has reached monumental proportions. The dried glue – residue of decades of long-resident cork strips holding up glass – absolutely needs to be scraped off my antique desk right this very minute. The autumn afternoon is bright and still warm enough to make the hot tub irresistibly appealing. I must find something to thaw for dinner. Oh – wait! A key ingredient is missing for that new recipe I simply have to try, so I must rush to the store, where I spend half an hour perusing ingredient labels.

All of the above are not unusual, save for restoring the old desk, but before they always waited patiently for the evening round of chores. It’s always been that I write during the day just as if I went to a regular job in an office elsewhere – except that the money isn’t as good – and do the ‘housewife’ chores in the evening. Now they – and anything else that isn’t writing – seem irresistible.

And before you say it, no, it isn’t writers’ block. My mind simply teems with ideas and plots and twists and turns that I really, really do want to write… but only after I have potted the new chrysanthemum plants. At night, sitting alongside The Husband as we watch TV, in my head I script entire scenes that only need to be written down. They are good, and I’ll get them into pixels first thing in the morning, I promise.

Except I don’t. Instead the hot tub calls, or the laundry, or reorganizing the spice shelf – a chore that has needed to be done for years. An elderly friend whom I haven’t seen in months should be taken to a leisurely lunch, but it’s too much like work to write long-overdue letters to other friends.


Is there such a thing as fall fever? And is there any cure for it? I know the answer to the first question (a definite yes!) and kind of hope there isn’t an immediate answer for the second. I’m enjoying this too much. 

12 comments:

Jacqueline Seewald said...

I think it's healthy to get away from the computer and do other things. Even housework helps. But I like to take walks outdoors when possible or on the treadmill in inclement weather. It all helps the thought processes.

Susan said...

Thanks, Jacqui - I too like an outdoor walk. Not too crazy about housework most of the time, but lately it's been appealing. The only thing that worries me is deciding when my 'break' will end. I'm having too much fun!

Susan, AKA Janis

Kaye George said...

This is my favorite time of year and I have extra energy in the fall. I'm especially thrilled this year, because, for the first time in 30-some years, we're in a climate that actually has fall weather. I DO like to be outdoors now, but with the dark coming sooner, there are plenty of indoor hours. It helps to be a night person, I guess.

Kathleen Kaska said...

I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year. I hate that the sun spends less time in the sky, but I love the reminder of life cycles as the leaves fall. It does take a toll on my writing, though. I make a point to get outside as much as possible and try not to look at the clock too often. Glad I'm not alone.

Barry Knister said...

Janis--
If you live in a place with a real fall, that means you live in a place with a real winter. I imagine that's all it's going to take to get you back in harness.

Claire Fullerton said...

I've heard it said that even when writers aren't writing, they're writing. It's just a different process!

Kathleen Kaska said...

Good point '

Morgan Mandel said...

I'm having a hard time writing. First, it was vacation time, then it was getting ready for the painting and carpeting to be done. Now, I'm in between the painting, and waiting for the carpeting, and stuff is everywhere it shouldn't be!

Morgan Mandel

Sydell Voeller said...

Can I ever relate! It sounds as if you're wring about me.

Sydell Voeller said...

Can I ever relate! It sounds as if you're wring about me.

Karen Frisch said...

Am I ever glad to hear you echo my own experiences, Janis. No matter how trivial the task, it's more appealing than adding words to the story. Like you, I have loads of ideas for stories in different genres--and I do nothing to develop them other than to write them down in note form and toss them in unlabeled folders. My only consolation is knowing that all things, good or bad, eventually come to an end. Hope your block ends soon.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I've had doctor visits getting in the way--and planning for Thanksgiving.