IWSG Post IV: Is it Distraction, or Potential Inspiration?
[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]
Distractions press in around us. Look up from wherever you are, and you might spy a couple of them within extremely close range: a cell phone, a pad of paper, or depending on your location, a really great puddle of rain water to jump in.
I think of distractions during my full day job; passing conversation, a radio at work, even another idea stacked on top of a pretty hefty tower of existing responsibilities. Distractions are everywhere and at anytime, and right now I’m wondering if some distractions might actually be good things?
I admit. I have been quite the slacker lately with a plethora of distractions pressing into my daily routines. It’s been months since I’ve revisited my reflections on Boston and still, there is no part II. I’m also *cringing as I stare at my computer monitor* still four chapters out from the end of my manuscript.
I do believe in really great distractions. The problem for me, is when time builds and a day passes, then another, then my mind gets straight out of my book. Sometimes, I do like to take a lovely walk in the woods. To smell the trees and the earth, and to let the sunshine tickle my cheeks. It’s hard to come back. Sometimes my muscles help me out when they start to shake, or I find my fingers and hands and nose are chilled by the wind.
So then what?
I think we have to be ready for a shift in focus. Even when some distractions seem good and may actually help us find some distance from our thoughts when, if you’re like me, you might over-think.
My shift happened during a funny conversation last week with my friend Becky. We were problem-solving questions about her manuscript and characters when life slipped into our discussion and we found ourselves talking about her trip to South Carolina, straight to the swamps. I laughed out-loud. The word swamp always makes me laugh when I’m with her. It has to do with my trip to Boston and the adventure we shared together with my fiancé Dave on a fun quest through Salem to find a particular tarot card reader. We did find him and the advice we received was more detailed than we imagined. I’ll have to share more about this adventure in a Boston part II post, but in any case, I mentioned to her in our phone conversation how she might want to carry a big stick.
The point? I think we helped each other out of our ruts. And in thinking about getting back to deadlines I’d promised myself, I have four tips I recently experienced.
First, start with something you care about. Maybe a favorite song, cooking your favorite dish, a good friend who doesn’t mind throwing around fun and limitless ideas; or a pen, pastels, anything to get your hand moving across a piece of paper. The important goal is to let the mind wander where it just won’t go on its own.
Next, turn to your subject; your writing or current passion you’re working to achieve. Write out the what-ifs and how they apply to the goal, your story or something else. I work best when I think out-loud. Committing my thoughts with a pen to paper also stimulates more neurons in my brain than typing them out on a computer screen.
Lastly, after you set some sort of goal or deadline for yourself, there is one last pointed tip in the form of a quote to consider:
“Magic is believing in yourself. If you can do that, you can make anything happen.” ~Johan Wolfgang von Goethe.
And I believe that truth with my whole heart 🙂
My question to you: What is your number one source of inspiration?
I’d love to hear it.
Before I end this post, I need to say thank you to the January IWSG hosts. So thank you L.G., Denise, Sheri, J.Q., Chemist Ken and Michelle. I truly appreciate the time you’ve committed to making this group so successful.
L.G. Keltner lgkeltner.blogspot.com
Denise Covey dencovey.blogspot.com
Sheri Larsen www.salarsenbooks.com
J.Q. Rose www.jqrose.com/
Chemist Ken hogwartssabbatical.blogspot.com
Michelle Wallace www.writer-in-transit.co.za
Posted on January 6, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.
I think my number one source of inspiration is music. It doesn’t matter if it’s instrumental or lyrical or whatever. If I find the right song, I can write anything.
I love Boston and Salem. I’ve had many adventures there myself.
Thank you for stopping in M.J. I agree, music is a great way to illicit emotion and sometimes change it. When I develop characters I tend to build song lists just for them. Have a great rest of your day. Erika
My number one source of inspiration is also my number one distraction: TV. I’m always finding something new to learn from what I watch or a way to write a certain scene, but at the same time, watching TV is distracting me from other things I should be doing.
I love it Cherie. Yes, too much of a good thing can do the opposite 😊
Distractions are a necessity. I house 5 of them for that reason…and others. The best question a writer could ever ask is definitely, “What if?”
I agree Crystal. Without distractions, I would never remain sane. Thank you for stopping in 😊
I’m with Cherie about TV, though I’ve given it up in the past 6 months to try to get more work done. Now I’m inspired by research I do on the net and by others’ books I read. There’s a plethora of fascinating stuff out there!
I admit Lexa, I have TV for two reasons. The first one, my small children. It’s the perfect distraction at times and my house remains in tact. Lol Plus, I can’t live without HGTV 😊
Very nice post. Thank you
My inspiration is sharing my story and seeing someones eyes light up. Then I encourage them to dream, set some goals and enjoy.
That’s incredibly sweet Michael. Thank you for stopping in 😊
Thought provoking post. I’m still trying to figure out where my inspiration comes from. Usually my muse just slaps me upside the head:)
That’s cute Sandra.lol. A feisty muse. I like it. And thank you so much for the compliment.
Distraction is my middle name 😉 Great tips to refocus. What’s my greatest source of inspiration? Reading and music.
Thank you Linda. I saw that you write YA. Do you have a favorite author? Books help me so much too.
That’s actually a difficult question. I don’t have a favourite author as such, I enjoy Libba Bray, Holly Black, Rebecca Stead (soz that was MG, but I seriously loved her “When you Reach Me”) and I like Lois Lowry’s writing but not the stories if that makes sense. Same with Laini Taylor. There’s a bunch more I like but they aren’t coming to mind right now.
Thank you for sharing these Lynda. 😊
I go through times when I am distracted by every little thing until I am a scattered mess and have to rein myself in. Strict adherence to a schedule for a few days seems to help me get back on track.
My best source for inspiration is reading, although I love to watch television.
Thank you for stopping in Elizabeth. It’s nice to know I am not alone. Schedule helps me too. I have to work really hard at being organized or else I can’t get my brain out of the clouds. 😊
That conversation wasn’t a distraction, it was an emotional and mental boost. Good for the soul.
Thank you. It did do my heart so much good and freed me to write again. Thank you for stopping in 😊
I loved your IWSG post. Really, I read it twice. I have a problem with distractions, but little ones I recover from. I think that’s why your post resonated with me. It felt like you were speaking to me when you wrote about time building and days passing and then finding your mind wondering right on out of the book. I know that feeling all too well. And when life intervenes and one crisis leads to another and one week turns to another, I often feel unable to get back into it. I’m sure it’s why my revisions on book one remain permanently ” almost finished,” and I can’t seem to get past the second draft of my second book. The longer I don’t write the harder it is to write again. I can think about my story and characters and what needs changing, make lists of what I will revise, even go so far as create an outline and beat sheet of the revised novel, but something is keeping me from putting pen to paper as you worded it . When I read your words , “Commintting my thoughts with a pen to paper,” I realized it is never going to happen for me if I don’t just sit my butt down, forget the excuses, let go of my fear of rejection and just write the final polished draft and see if I have what it takes to become a published author.
I’ve read many posts in the past that gave me a suddenly jolt of inspiration that faded the next time I had to take a break from writing. Somehow this one feels different. Wishful thinking? Maybe! I hope not. Your words, ideas and tips hit me in the gut. In a good way.
Happy New Year.
Wow Melissa. Thank you so much for reaching out to me and writing such a heartfelt post. I think for me I have always been such a busy body person, the art of sitting still and writing has certainly been a lesson for me. Yoga has helped. My children have helped too. Today, I credit my success to my writing partner. We met through Maggie Stiefvaters writing pair up blog and my partner and I are interested in the same things and are very clear with each other. I also get a lot of fire from thinking outloud and she and I both push each other. I wish you much success. The biggest part is committing and programming a time into your daily schedule and then not giving that time up for anything. Happy 2016. Erika
My number 1 source of inspiration? Music and reading.
Also prompt writing. I love working with a single word or picture prompt. It always gets my creative juices flowing! 🙂
Happy New Year!
Michelle@Writer In Transit
Thank you for stopping in Michelle. I have never tried prompt writing…at least not since I was a teen. That’s a great tip. Happy 2016 😊
Distractions? I don’t have many. Being a Sagittarius, I tend to stay focused which can be a problem all on its own. 🙂
Anna from elements of emaginette
I think Sagittarius traits are wonderful and I wish I had a few being the fiery Leo who I am 😊
Thanks for the great tips! And I really like that quote from Johan Wolfgang von Goethe. My distractions are usually things that need to get done in daily life. If I’ve been away from my writing for any length of time, my best way of getting back into it is to start reading it. That always gets me back into the story in no time.
I like that tip Lori. Thank you. I really appreciate you stopping in and supporting me.
Great points! I believe we all feel that pressure to write all the time…but if we don’t LIVE, what do we write about?!
Hi Stephanie. That’s so true! It’s funny how life sometimes slips into my stories as I write. I guess it helps make the story feel more real. Thank you for stopping in and supporting me. 🙂