Happy Mardi Gras! Or, as they say in New Orleans, Laissez les bon temps rouler! I was planning an entire Mardi Gras-themed post for today, in honor of Never Have I Ever, which I was planning on re-releasing today, but…distractions happened. Which, unfortunately, seems to be a recurring theme for me these days. I’m endlessly distracted and, yes, some of that has to do with the general political climate; some of it has to do with the current hysteria occurring within RWA (which has affected me much more than I would have thought it would); a lot of it has to do with my adorable grandson who is twenty-three months old today. But most of it is me: my brain is stuck in hummingbird mode, constantly whirring, darting here and there, refusing to settle.
I used to be able to write through anything. Seated by a family member’s side in hospital; waiting for my children to get out of school; in a busy café in the middle of San Francisco; on the deck of a cruise ship; flying cross-country; moving cross-country—you name it. I was laser focused. A part of my mind was always immersed in whatever story I was working on. I’ve told the story many times of how my characters would wake me up in the middle of the night demanding their story be told. I even dreamed an entire story.
But somewhere along the way, I lost that. Nowadays, I’m far too easily distracted. I have trouble focusing for the length of time it takes to write a simple blog post—and that’s with nothing going on around me. I find myself resorting to tricks I’d relied on in the beginning, motivational tools I haven’t needed in a very long time. Creating soundtracks. Surrounding myself with objects and pictures that act as touchstones, reminding me of the story I’m working on. Challenging myself with writing sprints, turning off the internet, writing scenes out by hand.
It’s all helping a little, but it’s still a struggle. And I’m sure I’m not the only one. So what about you? How do you handle distractions? What tricks do you use to get yourself back on track when you’ve fallen off the writing wagon, so to speak?
Help a sister out!