Writer’s Challenges 2013 or self-distraction


One of the paradoxes of being a writer is that although I enjoy writing and when at times I seem to move into a zone outside my normal reality, I can easily find things to distract me. Is that lint on the carpet or a dead fly? Did I close my dresser drawer? Maybe I need another drink of tea? I’ve heard this not an uncommon phenomena for writers. At times anything is more compelling than sitting before the keyboard and composing.

In spite of this writer’s penchant for self-distraction I am facing some significant challenges for my National Novel Writing Month 2013. (Participants often call it Nano for short. By the way I am not in any way a representative of the event, nor do I speak for it. I’m simply sharing my experiences as one of hundreds of thousands of participants.)

One challenge is: what to write? I know what so different about that? My problem is not that I have no clue as to what I’ll write. I have too many clues. I am writing a science fiction series and have three plots going at the same time. I can continue any one of those OR write one of the back stories. Remember I’ve been kicking around plots in my mind for over forty years! (Good grief am I that old?) I have a day and a half to choose. I will write on November 1st and this challenge will be over.

Let me introduce you to two children I’ll call them Rochelle and David. Rochelle is 4 and a half and David is 9 months. They are my grandchildren. And my wife babysits them during the day. Challenge number two comes because I have taken five vacation days in November to write. But I’ve just taken some vacation days I had to take (or lose them). I spent them playing with Rochelle and David. Get the problem? If I attempt my writing in the comfort of my home these two lovely children will want me to play with them. I can already hear Rochelle say, “Why are you writing a book—again?!” The local library or coffee shop may have to become my place of refuge.

As I write this blog I am on the commuter train in the Chicago area. Last February my company moved my office to a location in downtown Chicago (affectionately called the Loop). My commute now take two and a half hours one way (up from one hour one way). At least one hour each way is on the train where I can write. (Uh oh, must be pounding the keys took hard someone just gave me “the look” as I am on the “quiet car”. I want to say it’s a quiet car not a silent car but that would be rude and noisy). Although I can use the train time to write some I am tired by the time I get home at 6 PM and don’t have much energy. I’ll need to maximize my time on weekends and on those precious five days off.

None of these challenges are unsurmountable, but I will have focus on the goal of fifty thousand words—rather a complete story in my series.

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