Friday, 30 January 2009

Coffee Break: Distractions from Writing.

Morning everyone! Is it me or has winter come back with a vengeance!? Brrrr…. It’s cold outside so please help yourself to the hot beverage of your choice; Hot chocolate, a steaming hot Coffee, a good old cup of tea, herbal stuff or whatever tickles your fancy! I’m still off the caffeine so I think I’ll have a hot chocolate. (Oh and if you're not feeling the cold, there's cold beverages on offer too!)

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who popped by my blog on Wednesday to wish me a happy birthday. It was lovely of you all and your birthday wishes made me feel all warm and squishy inside!

Right, down to business…. Writing. Or not writing to be more specific...

I’ll admit that I’ve come to something of a standstill with my writing. I’ll also admit this is probably because of a somewhat resurgence in my private life. I’m far too easily distracted! I’m hoping that things will settle down and I’ll get back into the routine of writing regularly again soon!

I had plans that I would be finished my first draft of TCT by the end of February/Mid March - there’s no way that’s going to happen now and as each day passes and my word count doesn’t move, I feel increasingly guilty about my lack of writing. I had also planned on getting the edits done for mid summer and I wanted to submit TCT to agents sometime in the second half of 2009. I was very ambitious when I started TCT - the idea came to me in a flash; I saw the movie version, the lead actor, even the tagline on the movie’s poster! - yet one thing happens in my life and the writing comes to a complete halt.

So the resurgence in my private life has become my biggest distraction from writing. Second to that would be Facebook. That networking site has a lot to answer for! Between the uploading of photos to playing countless games of bowling…. I’ll never get any writing done ever again!

And here’s my question for today’s coffee break...

What are your biggest distractions from writing?
What really stops you getting that bum on that chair by your desk to get those words out?
Is it the cheesy addictive television programmes that you don’t admit to watching but can’t bare to miss? Or are you like me and addicted to Facebook?

What is your guilty pleasure that stops you getting your novel written???

*** I do apologise if this topic has already been covered! It's getting harder to get unique topics!

31 comments:

SpiralSkies said...

Mmmmm... decaff coffee for me, with lots of cream and shaky chocolate. Virtual coffee has no cals, right?

Distractions from writing? Eurgh, this is where I go all lame, hang my head in shame and confess that it's simply 'life'. 2 kids, full time job, a degree... there just aren't enough hours. And I know that's lame and that I should just get up earlier if I want to do it. But I have to walk the dog now. Really. And I wouldn't get anything done in half an hour anyway. See? Excuses really. When my course finishes in May, I will be prolific. And relieved.

Guilty pleasure? Ah, it'll be the vino. And trashy TV. Glass of red and a catch-up of Emmerdale... my bad.

Glad you had a lovely birthday :0)

Debs said...

I'll definately have a hot chocolate, or any chocolate come to think of it.

I have no problem finding distractions, children, walking the dog (although R mainly does that), my job, and I'll even find jobs around the house to keep me from writing, then moan that I haven't been able to do any that day.

My guilty pleasure, apart from chocolate, will be a couple of glasses of rose in front of some period film or dvd.

JJ said...

Hey, cup of tea for me please.

Blogging is definitely one... I wish I could have a blog break for a bit, but I don't seem able to... quite... do it...

I'm still struggling to 'get' the facebook thing. Probably I shouldn't try. It sounds as though it's asking for trouble!

Reading is one distraction and of course I have to do it... it's all part of the job! If I'm in the middle of a book I'm enjoying I so want to spend the spare time I have with my new friends. Of course it's so much easier to enjoy someone else's polished words rather than my own clunky ones.

Laziness plays a part too. I have to keep reminding myself it doesn't get done unless I do it... simple eh? I wish.

Happy weekends everyone.

Flowerpot said...

I can't drink caffeine - haven't been able to for about 10 years now. So I'll have a decaff cappuccino please. As for distractions - well, email is one. I DAREN'T go on facebook or I'd never get ANUYTHING done... blog is another but that's partly work I suppose. And like the others, my relaxation is a few glasses of wine with friends or in front of a good DVD. Nothing like it. Oh and having a dog - they have to be walked you know!

Fiona said...

Thanks Paige,I'd like an expresso - I'm so not a lark and I need to wake up.

Having a husband home studying is a big distraction. And having no bedroom, study, kitchen table or anywhere to be alone,except in the bath where using the laptop might be foolish - and lethal.

Guilty pleasure is reading in bed until my eyelids velcro themselves together in protest.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Tea for me, please.

Everything distracts me. I'm finding it difficult to get any writing done at present.

Lane said...

Morning Paige and everyone. Coffee please. It's very 'brr' and I've just come back from a very chilly school run.

Annoying distractions are said school runs and having to earn the pesky pennies. Anyone got a sugar daddy going spare?:-)

Guilty pleasures are Facebook and TV but everyone needs a bit of light relief.

ChrisH said...

Chocolate please. With a flake. And squirty cream. Oh, yes, I'm supposed to be saying something, aren't I? My biggest distraction by far is the inviting world of cyberspace - it's too easy to kid myself I'm working! My bum is on my seat, I'm tapping away at the keyboard and what is my WIP doing? It is languishing neglected in a corner! Having said that I have had quite a productive start to the year; two short stories sent off, one flash fiction comp entered, and YAY! - I have started the new novel. Facebook? I wouldn't dare (and my kids would hate me!).

Cathy said...

A black Americano please. Decaff this time I think.

Distractions? Well like anyone else really - LIFE. Kids, ageing parents, work, voluntary work, OU study and of course the internet in general...

Graeme K Talboys said...

Something strong enough to stand a spoon up and then slowly dissolve it, please. Bad night. The wind was so strong the bedroom wall was shuddering.

What distracts me from writing? Writing? I'm meant to be writing? Damn. I knew there was something.

Of late it has been the computer. The fact that, as I've said elsewhere, I am to computers what icebergs are to Olympic class passenger liners. I seem to be up and running... er... limping again.

Then there's all my music to reload, cos the back up failed. hundreds of books to read. And now tickets and posters for our local animal sanctuary need designing (our tenth anniversary ceilidh). Blogs. Facebook. Dusting. Shredding. There's some paint drying that needs watching...

Of course, the ultimate (and this will need to be added to the official NR sidebar thingummy) is that my w-i-p is not getting written because I'm writing a novel. W-i-p needs lots of research and organising (not procrastination, honest, it's just a complex interweaving of events into short stories so that the whole picture doesn't become apparent until the last story, yet with each story being complete in itself - why do I do these things?). In the meantime, I'm seeing if I can knock out a formulaic-ish pulp fantasy of about 70k words.

Of course, in two weeks from now I might be working on a third novel...

Un Peu Loufoque said...

Oh hot chocolate for me please a very, very large one with frothy cream and chocolate powder dusted on top served in a very round French breakfast bowl if you have it.

My distraction a are not generally self iundulgent ones, work and my ceramics business get in the way as do teh needs of a hoseu with 3 kids, 2 dogs and too many cats. Little bothersome tasks such as keeping the log basket full and meals on the table , if I did huesowork I woudl never get anything written at all, as it is we live in relative squalor so that I can fir writing in!

Rowan Coleman said...

Hello all, Hello Paige - sorry and embarassed that I was not one of the people who popped by to wish you happy birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Love this post - is concerns the two things that really do get in the way of work.

In 2008 my personal life certainly impinged on my working life considerably. My marriage came to an end and I am still dealing with the after effects of that. But i wrote all the books I had to, though frankly by the skin of my teeth.

In 2009 - well still the above, but also frankly pretty much anything. I am a gadabout. A cloud drifting by, my eigth cup of coffee, a compulsion to hoover the stairs. Sometimes I'll do ANYTHING except write - which is odd because when I have been away from my desk for a while I feel out of sorts and disjointed and when I get back to it I realise who much I missed it.

My guitly pleasure? Well Sky Plus has played its part - knowing there's an episode of 24/Grey's Anatomy/Lost/Being Human - Cally have you seen it - its genius!!! - waiting for me is a temptation that is hard to resist though I do try to save them for lunchtime. Also I have Neighbours on series link. There I've said it. I'm out and I'm proud!!!

Captain Black said...

Large, full-power black coffee for me please. Me no lark neither.

At the moment, my biggest distraction from writing is editing. Not only does it freeze my word count, it actually reduces it. There's also my usual problem of one writing project distracting me from the others, though I plan to attack that issue this year.

Also, job hunting takes up some of my time, though not as much as it should.

Guilty pleasures: Facebook, blogging, TV, socialising, designing bloggy widgety things...

Kate said...

Happy birthday again! It was my birthday on Monday, and apparently it's going to be a fab year for Aquarians.

I will have a low-cal caramel macchiato which has become my Starbucks fave since a store opened up the road - it has a rather metallic taste due to all the additives but is quite a treat.

Distractions. Oh Gawd. Where to begin? TV, going to gym (yes, really, never dreamed I'd say that), house cleaning, accounts, VAT, tidying desk, Facebook, the Wii, the stupid games on my mobile, Radio 4 and 6 Music, web forums, other projects that are one hundred times as desirable as the one I am getting paid for...

I am quite bad. Personal circs also very distracting at the moment, as we might be moving abroad, and that means I am trying to get a chapter a day written so I can try to get a very rough, ready draft done by mid March. A chapter for me is about 2,500 words and typically I have 40 chapters, I never plan it that way but that's how it works. I started on Jan 2, before the moving abroad thing happened, and am on chapter 10, so it feels a bit of a big hill to climb right now.

How's everyone else's word count by the way?

KAREN said...

Reading blogs is a big distraction for me, and doubting my own ability holds me back. I keep going over what I've written thinking 'it's no good, I need to start again.' Aarrgghh!

Guilty pleasure, America's Next Top Model and reading magazines :o)

CC Devine said...

Life in general tends to distract me and there never seem to be enough hours in the day. Oh and coffee, don't forget the vital importance of making coffee for the zillionth time. Wastes at least 10 mins of faffing about.

It's terrible isn't it? We moan about not having enough time to write and then when we do we create excuses not to or find ourselves with an overwhelming urge to do housework or some such chore that normally we'd avoid like the plague.

Calistro said...

Definitely a coffee for me. It's midday and I'm still not properly awake!

Yep, facebook is definitely a distraction, as is reading blogs. I now have a ridiculous number of blogs in my google reader and on some days, when everyone seems to update at the same time, it feels like I'm reading them for hours! (you're all too entertaining and interesting).

Also my social life. I TRY to write at least a couple of hundred words before I go out for the evening but it doesn't always work out that way.

And then there's the TV - or more specifically certain series. Like Rowan I can't resist Lost, 24 and Gray's Anatomy (thanks for the Being Human recommendation - another one to add to the list!). Not to mention Heroes and my current infatuation - Prison Break (Wentworth Miller how do I love you? Let me count the ways...)

I keep fanticising about taking my laptop somewhere with no TV and no broadband and writing and writing and writing but I'm sure I'd still find a way to procrastinate. I think it's part of my genetic make-up...

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Big ((((((hug))))) for Rowan.

The only thing that really keeps me away from writing is paid work. I'm self-employed, so that has to take priority in busy periods. But in quiet periods, my writing is my work, so that's what I do.

And these days, if I feel even vaguely procrastinatory, I go and read a bit of Lisa's blog. That usually sorts me out.

Clare Sudders said...

Distractions... this place! I'm supposed to be writing right now...

But more generally, the internet. Mostly blogs and forums. I try and have a rule that the net stays unplugged during wirintg time, but then I get a bit bored or stuck and I think to myself, I'll just check my email... only 5 mins... then two hours later I'm still clicking on links.

And gGuilty pleasure? At the moment it's online Countdown. I'm going on the show some time soon (don't know when yet), so I'm practising like crazy, and it's become a bit of an obsession.

Juliette M said...

Wihtout sounding pathetic, it's not distractions per se that keep me from writing. It's day to day living and tiredness. I am never in bed before midnight - or these days more like 1 am. I wake up at 6.50 to get to work for 9. I write reports on paediatricians from 9-5, but plan to write novel stuff on my lunch hour. By the time lunchtime comes, I am so tired of typing and I want a relaxing break with a book, or a nice walk outside (I dont have a window by my desk and hate having the whole day at my desk).

Out of work hours, I dont get home til 7 pm most days. It takes me an hour and a half to get to the Ginger Guitarist's flat from Central London, maybe a little less to get to my flat. By the time I get home and have maybe a half hour's relax time with the Ginger Guitarist, it's time to decide on what to have for dinner, buy ingredients, cook, eat, watch an episode of something during dinner, etc. I cook and he washes up. Starting writing at 10 pm wakes me up, then I don't sleep properly for thinking about my work. My time management is so bad these days. When the GG and I move in together this summer, things will be easier as we'll be able to do a proper weekly shop and keep everything in one house, thus we can plan ahead for things like dinner and evening plans. Currently it's a bitch getting things organised for both of us.

I am buying a mini laptop this month, which should enable me to write on the tube - so thats an hour and a half each way, which is really handy. I can't write with pen and paper on trains. It drives me potty. I have really neat writing and to see it all scribbly and jogged from the train is utterly annoying.

Weekends, I do have a distraction. I have friends who come round and I dont like saying no to them, especially certain ones who need support ATM. New books distract me, but I only read on the Tube these days.

My guilty pleasure is a forum/blog I go on. Nothing to do with writing but I have happily wasted 3 hours in a night on there.

This post has been brought to you by the Whining Fairy!

Lucy Diamond said...

Gawd it's freezing, isn't it? I've just had a cup of tea but need another one already.

I'm quite good at actually getting my bum on my chair to work (most of the time, anyway), but then after that, it goes horribly wrong. I am a terrible email checker and internet-wanderer - so much so that I have to switch the broadband off at the wall to stop myself. I haven't dared even look at facebook, I know it would just eat up my time in a big (bad) way.

I am up to 30,000 words on the novel but have got to deliver it in August which means finishing the first draft in July so I can do an edit. So that's 6 months to finish it... and as I'm guessing it'll be 90-100,000 words in all, that means I'll have to write at least 10,000 words a month from now on. Aarrgh. I am slightly worried by that, I have to say.

Guilty pleasures... yay, Lost is back! And *cough cough* I saw America's Next Top Model for the first time last week and LOVED it... so hilarious and camp. Bring it on!

Lily Sheehan said...

Luckily for me I can't get addicted to Facebook as I dont have the patience with it. It is sooo slow on my computer. I am however distracted by tv most of the time. The only solution would be to remove it. Not that i would let that happen!

Ellie said...

Coffee for me please!

My main distraction from writing is reading, but knitting (while watching DVDs), learning Italian and the internet are also time drainers. I've recently been watching a lot of 'Flight of the Conchords' on youtube...

wordtryst said...

Happy Birthday, Paige. I'll have the coffee, please; need something to keep me from nodding off at the office...

Ah, yes. Not writing. Do I have space here for my list?

1. The day job. (Poor excuse, but it's been so much harder to buckle down since I went back to working for the man.)
2. The wonderful, bloody Internet in general, where it's so easy to click your way into oblivion without realizing how the hours are flying, and specifically
3. The blog. Writing it, reading others, fiddling with widgets, stats etc.
4. Facebook. Another black hole where time takes on strange otherworldly dimensions and five minutes mutate into five hours.
5. Streaming media, specifically Desperate Housewives and [gulp] movies.
6. Obsessive checking of e-mail accounts.
7. Clothing catalogues. Especially the online sort.
8. Reading. It's like chocolate for me: once I start a good one I can't stop.
9. Dreaming. I mean the open-eyed sort. I'm a chronic daydreamer, always have been. It's the one thing my teachers all complained about. I can do it for hours - nay, days - at a time.
10. Chores. The minute I decide to get the writing done I am assailed by a compulsion to do the washing and cleaning. I also need to shave legs, pluck eyebrows and colour hair because everything must be perfectly organized before I can give myself over to the world of self-inflicted fiction.
11. Staying up most of the night so I'm all headachy and cranky next day and no good for anything.
12. Worry, fear, obsessing (and all of that ilk) over everything, from my Amazon and Barnes and Noble sales rankings to offspring, health, ecology... You name it, I worry about it. These are paralysis-inducing enemies of the word count.
13. Or maybe it's just good old-fashioned laziness.

A sugar daddy sounds good in theory, Lane, but I've had one such offer and couldn't do it. Have this thing about needing to love the guy... Would have been sitting pretty now, damn me.
And Rowan, I've been there, so I know. Just be kind to yourself.

sheepish said...

Sorry I'm a bit late one of my distractions took me to Carcassonne this morning to pay for the new windows for the extensions. And nothing in this country is ever simple so it takes ages to do anything. Another distraction at the moment is doing lots of translating for a new friend who is having a house built here and doesn't speak French. I don't really mind helping but it has taken up a lot of time recently when I had just got back to writing again!!!!
My guilty pleasure is probably cooking or thinking about cooking and we're not talking healthy here.
Oh and the odd glass or two of wine when I should be typing, unfortunately I can't do both!

Helen said...

Good grief is it really Friday already??

My distraction is my baby. That is it. And tiredness as I am walking lots and running up and down stairs sorting nappies etc

Guilty pleasures...do you know what, I don't feel guilty about anything that gives me pleasure. I might in few months when my tummy has still not gone away...but for now I'm enjoying the pleasures in life. A good cup of cofee, home made cake, writing when I can and sniffing my baby's skin.

Am I gushing?

Annieye said...

Distractions: Working full-time really disrupts my writing. I get up at about 4.00 am most days to write, and then have to break off to go to work. I'd love to be a full-time writer. Facebook and blogging distracts me in the evenings - I just love the chat thingy to talk to my friends.

Guilty pleasure is Solitare - if I get stuck I just have a quick game or two. And if my little grandson happens to come round then there is just no contest - he wins hands down!

KeVin K. said...

1. Day job

2. Reading stuff you guys wrote

Kate.Kingsley said...

Cammomile tea for me, seeing as I'm here at bedtime!

My biggest distractions: day job, Masterchef, playing Zuma on my mobile, watching Nadal and/or Safin play tennis, and right now the biggest one of all, pregnancy ~ the endless tiredness, the baby kicking, making lists of things to do/buy before s/he arrives. And then I guess once the baby gets here it'll be a bit of a distraction in itself!

Right, off to bed with a hotty-bottle for me!

Sarah*G* said...

At this time of day I think I should have a glass of warm milk. Might help me sleep! Glad you had a good birthday.
My biggest distraction from writing are Facebook, Sky+ and Google. Plus the fact that I always think of other things to do. I get the ideas but never at a convenient time. My kids don't like it when I have the laptop on. They want all of my attention so when they are in bed I am exhausted and can barely lift the remote! I must find the will power though. I did have it at one point so it must be around somewhere. Maybe it is behind the couch?

liz fenwick said...

Sorry I'm late. I see a strong thread here - Internet. I(t's a down fall with me too. Between keeping up with emails and blogs..... my writing time does get cut....but it is also my brain down time to :-)

This morning I need a straight black coffee :-)

Good topic Paige and so pleased it was a good birthday :-)

Rowan - the fact that you have written through all of your pain is amazing and an inspiration for us all.

Kate asked about progress? Well, I am not working on new book as planned but reworking August Rock. Despite the fact that I know where I am going I am working very slowly - definately the tortouse (sp?) and not the hare!