Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Real Writers Don't Fear Distractions

A real writer can't be distracted by the internet or loud noises because a real writer can't be distracted by anything!

A writer can't live in fear of the internet, loud noises, cars out on the street, and so on, and then somehow hope that he can get away from all of it for a few moments to write the next chapter of his book. Any writer who is easily distracted and keeps procrastinating by surfing pointlessly on the internet is purposely avoiding his narrative.

Fears & Excuses of Writers:
  • Internet distractions
  • Noise
  • People talking
  • Barking dogs
  • Traffic noises
  • Airplanes flying overhead
  • Loud music
  • Feeling hungry, need to get food
  • Sound of rain, wind
  • Want to go out somewhere
  • My story idea isn't really very good
  • I'm not cut out to be a writer
  • I have other things to do
  • I have writer's block (I wrote in another post that I never think about this because I'm always writing many different things at once, so how could I ever get it?) 
If you are a victim of distractions and procrastination, then something is wrong with the story you are trying to tell. You don't believe in it. Your mind detects something unsatisfactory about the plot.

I think the paramount reason anyone would hesitate to continue writing a story is because the writer doesn't believe in what she's writing anymore. The narrative just isn't going as well as she had hoped. The plot has taken some turns that don't add up, or the whole thing seems too hokey, or the dialog isn't believable.

It's the story itself that causes the writer to find excuses: surfing unrelated websites on the internet, loud noises, loud music, crickets chirping, elevator down the hall. The excuses snowball because it's not the distractions that are creating an inability to write--it's the story. It's isn't going how you envisioned.

At this point, the writer needs to think about why the story isn't cutting it and what can be done to change that. A new plot twist? A different ending? A new, dynamic character? Somebody gets killed? A new element needs to be introduced into the narrative to act as an alarm clock to the writer, wake her up, and get her excited about the story once again. Something happened between the thrill of beginning the narrative at page one and arriving at the point down the road where any little distraction is welcome because the story just ain't working anymore and the wheels are coming off.

If you feel good about your story, your plot, your characters, your ending, you'll want to keep writing. If you don't, you'll pick an excuse and go with that. My theory is if you are having trouble continuing with your story, then the problem is the story, not you or all those supposed distractions.

If you're locked into your narrative, a Steinway piano could come crashing through the ceiling and land right next to you and you wouldn't lose track of your thought. I've had people slam things down on tables right next to me but I don't react or forget what I'm doing because I dissociate myself from noises and don't allow anything to derail me when writing.

I've written a number of posts about how writers absurdly keep seeking--yet don’t really need--quiet. And the idea that needing "quiet" and an absence of distractions is a smokescreen for a different problem. I must sound like a broken record by now.

My short story collection:

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