Monday, June 14, 2010

Distractions and Writer's Block

You'd think looking at that snarling face would get me going but even putting that as wallpaper on the computer isn't helping.  Sucking down a big cup of coffee isn't helping either.  I even tried watching some of my favorite romantic movies.  Fell asleep.  Not promising.  My Muse is sitting in the garden ignoring my pleas for help.

So - what do do, what to do.  My deadline is the end of the month and the story's stuck, stalled, bogged down, mired in mundaness(is that even a word?) and so on.  I'd pull out my hair in frustration except that it'd hurt and I don't do pain well.  Banging my head on my desk isn't an option, either, as there's so much junk piled on my desk I'd probably end up with a serious injury and wouldn't want to try to explain to a doctor why I needed those stitches in my head.  If nothing else he might suggest I clean off my desk.  (Oh, the horror!)

Tried all my usual tricks.  Watched movies, as I said, even ones that have nothing to do with romance.  Tried playing around with some other story that's been tickling the brain only now it's decided to go away, too.  Even tried shopping and now have more plants than will probably fit in my garden plus more books I don't have the time to read right now.  That deadline, you know.  Tick, tock, tick, tock.

It's all the distractions.  Doctor appointment.  Car needs the oil changed.(or so says the little message flashing on the dashboard)  Arrangements for two conferences in July, including trying to put together what goodies I want to hand out.  Page proofs for the reissue of Compromised Hearts coming out in November.  Synopsis and info on characters and dress needed for the next Wherlocke story.  A cat with an allergy to fleas that needed several trips to the vet before that was figured out.  And so on, and so on.  Oh, and let's not forget all the taping I have to do for the World Cup so hubby can watch the games played during the day when he comes home from work at night.  Throw in all the usual stuff you have to do - like get groceries - and this starts to add up.  It's one long series of interruptions.

I need minions.   Unfortunately, there aren't any to be had.  So I guess I will have to make the world talk to the palm.  When the hubby comes home tonight, he will be informed that he's on his own for the next 2 weeks and if he interrupts me for anything less than arterial bleeding or heart pain, he's dead meat.  He's also going to be made to scan my calls.  For my part - the internet gets only 1/2 hour while I have my morning coffee.  And - let's be honest - the internet is a deadly time-suck.  It lures you in and next thing you know - hours have slipped away.  I have a suspicion that Ilsabeth and Simon curse every time they hear 'You've got mail'.  Fortunately it's the season of repeats for my favorite TV shows so there's no real problem there.
Now - all I have to do is train the cats to open the door themselves and I'm home free.

And, no, these measures will not completely fix the blockage but it'll force me to sit down and tackle it.  Right now I'm into avoidance with a vengeance.  That doesn't work when the deadline clock is ticking.  So wish me luck or send me minions.  I'm off to grab my Muse by the throat and remind her who pays the bills around here.(well, hers anyways).


  1. Hannah- I'm feeling you are really am. I went through the same things a few days ago, and writing is still start and stop. I'm too distracted by outside influences. It's summer, sun's shining, the outdoors are calling, the kids are clamoring to go somewhere. *sigh*
    I think I just need to go hide in the basement except nowadays everyone tends to find me there.
    I do the same things you do. But try this one last trick, read a really bad or boring book. One where you can't even get past the first chapter. I usually get so pissed that I start writing my own story just to get the bad taste out of my system.


  2. When I get stuck like that, it's usually because I stopped listening to my characters and tried to make them do something they weren't ready to do. I go back to where it stopped working and razor it. A few months ago, I deleted 20K off of a book because it was all crap and threw the entire story into a deadlock. So, I held my breath, ate a bag of Raisinets and cried a bit and hit that delete button and you know what? I caught that word count up in two days and didn't get stuck again.

    I have minions, I could lend you some, but I think they're evil. LOL.

  3. I am feeling your pain. I have had many the interruption lately, and add to that it is summer and my entire family is home (husband is a teacher). It doesn't help when in the time you have nothing comes as you want it to.
    I am sending positive thoughts your way :) Hope it all goes more smoothly soon!

  4. Yeahhhhh I'm not alone. It feels so nice.
    Now Hannah, I know you and I know that you know what is going to happen. So water the plants. Put the cats out. Hubby is taken care of. You're good to go. Just do it
    You go, girl.

  5. LaVerne - Good idea except those books don't tend to survive long in my house and I don't dare go to Borders or B & N again. One more pile of TBR books in my office and my DH will cut up the credit cards. LOL And - guess who rpobably won't be getting much writing done tomorrow as the DH is taking a day off. Arrrgh!!

  6. Saranna - My problem is the need to come up with an 'event' to fill in a small hole between the beginning and the end. I'm an 'event' short in order to make up the right word count. And, yes, I don't write the book in a linear fashion. I have sporadic chapters that need to be tied together and the brain has gone on vacation. What I need is a few quiet days with no interruption so that I can read, and edit what leads up to each 'hole' and then fill it.

  7. Kiki - I know! It's just one thing after another. Sit down, get started writing, and then - bam - something comes up that has to be done. Get back to the desk and have to get back in the groove. Sucks big time.

  8. Judy - Husband WILL be 'taken care of' if he gets in my way too much over the next few weeks. 22 years I've been at this job and he still hasn't fully grasped the meaning of 'deadline'. LOL

  9. This is about two weeks late, but I also feel your "pain".

    I try to use a 'listening partner'. Someone to bounce ideas off. I listen to their ideas & find out what they think. I also listen to their challenges & try to come up with ideas that might help.

    One of my listening partners is in a similar field, but different subjects & situations. We vent, rage, cry, laugh, celebrate!! It is more of a professional relationship than a personal one, but we are friends, too. We also know when to say, "That's enough!" or "That won't work this time." or "I just need someone to listen, not solve."

    When I'm at home & get too distracted by there & "to do" lists, I will go to the local college library & hide in the archives or stacks to work. It's quiet, boring, & works as a great place to work out challenges in what I'm doing. Sometimes I need to step away from the 'normal' to finish projects.

    Good Luck & I look forward to your next few books.