Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Distractions, Roadblocks, and Naps

My blog had some kind of freaking tantrum and I couldn't post anything. But I digress...please welcome D.G. Glass. She describes herself as an author-wife-mother-eclectic personality who sometimes lets her adhd get in the way and gets distracted easily. But I have to tell ya DG is my girl. I"m a napper myself. 2pm 6 days a week.

Distractions, Roadblocks and Naps by D.G. Gass

Once upon a time, I told folks that Franklin Covey was my friend.  Not that I'm personally acquainted with Stephen Covey, the author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”.  It's just that there was a time I lived and died by my day planner.  Sounds silly I know, but the scheduling and the planning had allowed me to get into routines.  Routines allowed me to get things finished.  When things got finished, life was less chaotic. 

Am I a little OCD? Probably.

That was before I began forgetting where I placed my precious binder that had all my dates and tasks that needed to be accomplished.  To alleviate that, my husband bought me a Hewlitt Packard Ipaq, palm pilot kind of thingy.  It was great.  I could just automatically up load the contents from Outlook and there it was, available to grab from my purse. Being a bit of a tech geek, I loved it. I coveted it.  I forgot to charge it.  Since it required being shipped away to have the battery replaced, it became a paperweight that mocked me about missed appointments and uncompleted tasks.  It sat on the desk for several years like that, until I finally found the heart to get rid of it.

I reverted to Post It notes.  You know the colorful little squares of paper that stick to things. I was actually taught this method in a Lean Sigma Six Delta something or another workshop.  They were great.  I had an excuse to feed my addiction to hoarding colored paper.  The only problem was more often than not, they would end up sticking to the cat's hind legs after the beast rubbed up against the computer, the desk or my pant legs.  I never really am sure how the paper ended up on my pant legs. 

Getting into a habit is important, no, essential to me. Especially since I became serious about my writing.  Few writers are afforded the ability to focus on their writing full-time.  There's jobs and families to attend to.  Free time is often a juggling act between adding a few extra hours to get a few thousand words typed up and trying to squeeze in that nap.  And it get's worse when you try to add in those little luxuries such as eating and sleeping. 

Then there's the distractions.  The family members wanting to talk when you're in the middle of writing up that great dialogue.  The cats wanting attention by walking over the keyboard.  The squirrel on the windowsill taunting you because it knows he's teasing the cat.  If there's a dog involved, that's the time they want to take  a walk.  Of course it doesn't help that they have to walk around the spot for the next thirty minutes deciding whether or not they really want to go there. 

Yet, we're our own worst enemy.  In a way, I can see how it may have been better to use a typewriter. I know, with the advanced technology we have, it's made it easier.  No backspacing and strikeouts.  No white-out.  No ripping the sheet of paper out from the carriage for do-overs.  Easy access to dictionaries and a thesaurus.

Still, I've found it difficult to maintain focus at times.  Usually this comes when I have to bring up the browser to verify spelling or find a synonym.  I'll just blame the subliminal messages hidden in the songs that are playing on Pandora telling me to check my emails and statuses on all the social network sites I belong to.  You'd think that having been in the military, I'd be a little more disciplined. 

While it may seem that being distracted or being thrown off my routine may be the biggest threat to my writing, it actually isn't.  It's frustration that comes from using other writers accomplishments as a benchmark. It would be the doubt that might come if I thought I should be putting out so many words a day.  Or if I hit a wall and can't get through it at that moment that some how, I failed myself. 

When I was writing “Ghosts of Arlington”,  everything that could sidetrack me, did. I procrastinated.  I allowed myself to get distracted.  I allowed myself to get thrown out of my routine.  What didn't happen, though, is important.  I didn't allow myself to give up or quit.  When the voice of self-doubt tried to divert me, I told it to “bite me” (yes, those were my exact words). 

It's difficult, I know.  I had years of practice telling myself my writing was garbage, that was until I found out people actually liked reading what I wrote, whether it was a blog or a poem.  I'd use that encouragement from time to time to help keep me writing.

There's a lot of obstacles to achieving a dream, these were (and still are) mine.  Every writer has their own unique hurdles to cross.  It would be pointless for me to tell a new writer what to do.  Even if I had twenty books under my belt, I still wouldn't be able to tell them what will work. 

The best I can tell you is this.  There's a lot of advice in books and on the internet from other writers.  Try it out, see what works for you.  If it doesn't seem to help, don't get discouraged.  Keep trying until you find the right formula to get you into your writing zone.  If it's your passion, if it's your dream, it will come together for you, even if it's not the same way it came together for author X or writer B.  If you feel like you stumbled, pick yourself back up and brush yourself off.  Achieving dreams is hard work and sometimes found in paths less traveled. 

I'd like to thank Bri for allowing me to ramble, I mean guest post, on her blog. And thank you to everyone who took the time to read it.  I hope you liked the picture. 

About the author: 

 Inspired by Walt Whitman and Carolyn Keefe, author D.G. Gass, from a young age, has always loved to write. It just took 40-years for her to believe in her work enough for it not to find the trash when she finished. Originally from Jeannette, PA, the Yankee transplant, currently resides in Columbia, SC with her husband and daughter, not to mention, three cats that own her.

A veteran of the US Air Force, whose day job is in healthcare IT, the author has a passion for veterans issues, which is the driving force behind her first book, “Ghosts of Arlington”. When she’s not writing, she can be found curled up with a good book, working on handcrafts, or staring blankly at walls in a catatonic state.

D.G. Gass released her first poetry compilation, “Twilight Ponderings, Midnight Musings” at the beginning of 2011. The compilation is a series of poetry and prose that was born out of loving someone with diagnosed chronic depression.

The author is currently working on several stories for submission to crime noir anthologies and is in the process of completing her second poetry compilation, "Dancing Along the Dreamscapes", to be released the summer of 2012.

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  1. Hi, Linna

    Thanks for the opportunity, Bri.

    BTW..licensed photograph credit is "Dog Fell Asleep" by Vitaly Titov