Someone who is easily distracted, even when they try to get away from distractions, needs to remain vigilant and avoid exploring branching tributaries.
On my writing retreat, I began to notice how many times I got off course. I’d be humming along and suddenly notice that I was tweeting.
- How did I end up on Twitter?
- What had I set off to do?
- How far had I gone before I noticed I had missed my turn?
- What snapped me back to reality?
I’d set off to look something up in my browser, like what time of year daisies bloom and whether they are drought tolerant. This actually is something I needed to check on to make sure I wasn’t setting daisies in a scene where they would never be in real life.
But my browser opened with Facebook on the page. ‘Oh, look what Gloria is doing!’
Which led to liking Gloria’s status. And reading more statuses on FB. And liking and commenting and clicking on links that took me to read stories on other websites.
I would justify this with, ‘Oh, that looks like an interesting story. I bet I could use that information for my next chapter so I better read it right now or I’ll forget.’
Pretty soon I’d be so deep into cyberspace that I’ve forgotten what I had originally intended to do.
I had to keep drawing myself back to the task at hand, but I seemed to be wasting less time the more I trained myself to close any applications or websites that I didn’t need and heading straight to what I had set out to do.
I also have an application on my computer called “Freedom” that can be set to block your social networks and email or to block all access to the Internet (the choice I prefer to remove all temptation).
If I do the research at the moment a question pops into my mind it interrupts whatever flow I’d managed to attain.
Scrivener, the software I use for writing, has a sidebar to write notes like where I left off, what questions need to be answered, links to information I’ve used, etc. It’s a big help to someone who has thoughts frequently popping into their heads and needs to quick jot them down before they leap over the fence like a fleeing gazelle.
Now I know this has been really boring for people who could care less about the writing/creation process so how about bike riding excitement? Like I almost got eaten by a dog on my return from riding to the library!
Most of the time if a dog chases me on my bike, they’ll run to the edge of their yard and maybe a bit past that but they don’t normally chase me the length of five houses with teeth bared and the meaniest, scariest, growling bark I’ve ever heard! What the hell?!
I got bit by a dog in the ankle while riding my bike as a kid and it’s an experience I never want to repeat. So I put my feet up on the bar of my bike and prayed I kept rolling long enough that the dog would turn around without the attraction of my circling feet. And I did have two pedestrians and one woman in a car stopping and (I hope) ready to jump in and rescue me if needed.
So people, if you have a crazy dog, you should know it and keep your dog under control! Of course, I know none of you have crazy dogs. I just had to vent a bit there.