Distractions

This should start with an apology. I’ve not been around of late, and for that I am deeply sorry. This poor blog has been neglected and, by extension, so have you. Since I’ve been slacking off I figure you all deserve an explanation as to what it is that’s keeping me from your loving embrace.

Every aspiring author, and probably some established ones, will know exactly how distractions can have an effect on your productivity. And they can be anything at all. Family responsibilities, the day job, and any number of variables. But we’re talking about what has kept me from you specifically. Here are my greatest distractions over the last month:

Reading

I’m a major Book-geek. And it’s one of the many factors in my geekdom that I’m particularly proud of (Unlike my hatred of people spelling Spider-man without the hyphen).  And apart from my enjoyment of a good, engaging book, there’s a deeper philosophy to this one. I firmly believe that in order to be a good writer, you have to be an avid reader. Anything will do. Not just in your favourite genre, but outside of it, too. The best novels you will ever read won’t fit into a genre at all, but straddle several. How can we, as writers, do the same thing if we don’t assimilate all the books we can?

Can't wait to see the movie!

Exactly, you can’t. And recently, I’ve been reading all kinds of stuff. My fellow Inspired Quill author, Matthew Munson has released his debut novel called Fall from Grace. Read it. The increasingly-popular Hunger Games. Read it. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. Read that too. And it’s been great to give myself time to read again. I’ve missed it with all the work I’ve been doing lately.

What’s next..?

Learning

As some of you will know, I’m curenty taking two Open University courses with a view to getting my English Literature degree (to accompany my Nursing degree. I know, I’m mad right?). And since I’m doing two courses at once, and we’re getting toward the end of the year, the ante has been appropriately upped. this month alone I have three assignments due in. One hs just been submitted. two more to go. Bad times. Or good times, depending on your perspective. Learning more about Literature and the Arts in general has caused some great flashes of inspiration. New stories, characters, places and scenarios. All kinds of juicy stuff. The ideas are coming faster than I can scribble. And I love it. But it still keeps me away from the blog. And so does…

Gaming

I’m not a massive gamer. I avoid TV as a rule (although I watch loads of movies). Things like this just seem to be  waste of my brain, which is very easy to overpower and needs regular oiling and periods of rest for cooling before it overheats. But now and again I need something nice and brainless to give myself a break. Something to help switch off. And MMORPGs are the way to do that. This may be controversial, but I dont like WoW. There’s too much of a hard-core people-without-priorities or eyes that can withstand sunlight feel to it all. And so I play Runescape. Sure, the graphics are shoddy, but it’s huge, diverse, and easy to play with only half a brain. You can also dipp in and out of it as you see fit. The fact that it’s a fantasy world like the ones I love to create is just a bonus 🙂

And then there’s the worst distraction of them all. That essential evil…

Social Networking

Twitter is my choice of poison here. I love it. Short, punchy, regularly hilarious, and everyone on there has been so good to me since I hit it with my writing presence, I can never let it go. Unfortunately, it can also be so immersing, and the sense that you’ll miss something so strong, that it can eat your day in a single swallow.

And somewhere in between all these things, I’m supposed to write the next novel…

and blog…

and eat, presumably.

Such is the curse of the modern writer, I suppose. But I wouldn’t sacrifice any one of these for another so I’ll just have to learn to juggle. Anyone have their own distractions that they can’t/dont want to avoid?

Thanks for reading

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8 thoughts on “Distractions

  1. My main distraction is games, especially online Flash games. Whenever my brain isn’t in the exactly right writing mode, it’s so easy to go on Kongregate and just switch off altogether. But on the other hand, games can be a great source of inspiration, and with games like Audiosurf especially, I find myself thinking of new ideas as I’m playing, spurred on by the music. Sometimes I think up entire chapters that way… the hard part is actually writing them down without being distracted again! 🙂

  2. Yes, my children are my main distraction, bless ’em! Oh and my job – they want me to keep going to this office place day after day when I really just want to stay at home and write; what’s that all about?!

    In all seriousness though, my biggest distraction of late is reading and commenting on blogs! Although I do justify that by categorising it under the ‘Writers should read lots of stuff’ heading.

    I’m not sure if I follow you on Twitter, I’ll start now if I’m not!

  3. Heh, some of that sounded so familiar!
    I do completely agree with you about needing to read and diversify your literary palate with all kinds of reading – good, bad and otherwise – to expand your mind and imagination and to keep it running and not stagnate, as it were.
    Not much of a gamer myself anymore, but the social networking, family, day-job and such remain constants. I’ve been eschewing social networking for more than a few minutes in the day and spending more regular time posting on my blog, even small posts or re-blogging and visiting several other blogs. The experience has been great because it’s a different kind of social networking, just that here we don’t know each other at all and reading each others posts, commenting and exchanging is the goal and with flash-fiction writing challenges and such it’s been interesting.
    All the best with the new course and the novel, look forward to seeing how that turns out!
    Cheers.

  4. Please don’t apologise for not blogging, Craig – when I spot your email, I know it’s going to be a worthwhile read. Many bloggers seem to embrace quantity over quality, posting several times a day. Trawling through all that, for fear of missing a hidden gem, is mind-boggling – I’ve barely time for Twitter! I do read, though – and I agree that this is important for a writer. And we recently re-joined ‘Blockbuster’ (lost the card some time ago), to hire a couple of Xbox games. They’ve given us free DVD’s for 14 nights, so we are catching up on loads of movies. Also hired SSX Tricky – a snowboarding game which used to de-stress me when I had a ‘proper’ job. From having no distractions and very little inspiration a few months ago, I’ve engineered a few – and I’m finding it truly stimulating. 🙂

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