We Interrupt Your Scheduled Programming

This pretty much sums up my metaphor for life, courtesy of the omniscient Cheezburger.

They say that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. In spite of the cliche, I can attest to the validity of the statement.

I’ve been thinking a lot about distractions lately.

I meant to send out a bunch more query letters yesterday, but I didn’t get to it. Sunday I meant to write a couple of overdue guest blog posts for friends and didn’t get to it. Today I meant to return to Wednesday Woman and didn’t get to it.

Kittens, taxes, doctors appointments, late buses — all of these things sometimes get in the way of what we mean to do. It happens. It’s understandable. As a writer, though, I feel like these distractions multiply. There’s always something clamoring for your attention, and when you’re yet unpublished (and unpaid), sometimes we feel like we lack the clout to say no to them.

All mah attentionz are belong to you. Cheezburger, ftw.

What’s a couple more days before sending out that new query? Okay, so the dog is super energetic today and really needs a long walk. I’ll get back to my writing schedule tomorrow.

I really should work out. I need to go over the budget. I need to take a day off. All of these things are familiar to me. Except the dog thing, but I can see that coming in a couple weeks.

I’ve blogged every day since October. Part of this was an exercise in discipline, in training myself to write every day no matter what, no matter how tired or uninspired I felt. Over three and a half months into this, I feel like I’ve made my point. But what I need to do is get back to business.

I haven’t been working on my manuscript. I haven’t been writing anything new. I’ve sent out a total of four queries. It’s time to buckle down.

For the next week, I will continue to blog every day, but come March, I will be choosing three days a week to blog. I can already feel the loss — I love this community and I love hearing all of your thoughts and comments daily. I love that people subscribe knowing that I will pop my head up in their inbox every day, and it humbles me to think that you’re okay with that.

But with a growing list of distractions and interruptions (and two four-legged, furry additions to the clan), I need to hone my focus a little. I need to get back to creating. I’ve proven that I can write every day — what do you think I can manage when I put that work into my manuscripts? Something awesome, I hope.

In an effort to punt my momentum into the fiction craft, I need to make a schedule and stick to it. And don’t worry, I’ll still be around here lurking and talking Buffy. I’ll have to nurse my addiction a little, I’m sure — so you still might see me more than 3 days a week.

It’s time to get focused and move forward. I hope you’ll all come along for the ride.

Once a Cheezburger, always a Cheezburger.

What do you do to hone your focus? What distractions pull you from writing the most? How do you get on track?

 

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About Emmie Mears

Saving the world from brooding, one self-actualized vampire at a time.

Posted on February 21, 2012, in life intervention and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. I make deadlines for myself. Put them on my Google Calendar and set reminders. It works for me.

  2. Trish Loye Elliott

    Everyday life is full of distractions, but I find social media one of the biggest. My resolve this week is to use my phone less. To not check it every 15 min for new email/updates/blogposts/tweets. It’s a hard habit to break, since I just read and commented on your blog from my phone. I’m putting it down now.
    Great post. Good luck with the re-focusing!

  3. With a new puppy and a new kitty in the household, your schedule is bound to be interrupted big time. They grow up awfully fast, so you need to take time to share that growing with them. No need for excuses – your kids need quality time. I’ve been trying to blog at least three days a week, and even that much is hard sometimes. I don’t know how you managed seven days without distractions.

  4. Funny. Seems we’re on a similar wavelength with our posts. Deadlines (my own and those from others), writing what I’m passionate about and simply sitting my butt down to do it seem most helpful to me. Great point on scheduling tasks as well. Best of luck!

  5. Emmie, three times a week is still a gift to your readers. You have a lot on your plate … lots of good ‘stuff’! Giving more time to your WIP is critical and that’s where my head is these days too. Enjoy those critters!

  6. The distractions that pull me away the most are the webinars and teleseminars that I know will benefit me but aren’t generating an immediate cash flow. And, even though I have my writing business, I prefer to write than look for new clients. EVEN though working for someone else is a last resort.

    So, like you, I need to get rid of my distractions and get to producing.

  7. I’ll put a “me too” next to all of you distractions and then adding reading anything and everything online. I’m an information junkie and I get caught in a continuous loop of blogs and news sites. Maybe I need to give them up for Lent. I’m not kidding.

  8. Emmie, I’m amazed by your stamina. Your blogs are so well done everyday. No one can maintain that with a full time job, family, querying, writing, and pets. But you did it for so long! I’ll look forward to each and every blog post.

    My trick with the queries is one a day. It takes 30 mins-1.5 hours (depending on what they want). But by the end of the week I get 4-5 out. 🙂

  9. I post less often as well, and you know what? I, for one, am happy when others do not post every day. Because that means I don’t have to read them every day. In a perfect world, I’d have time to ready everything I wanted, but it’s far from perfect. I feel guilty if I don’t read others’ blog posts, so by not posting every day, you are saving me from guilt! How’s that for win-win?

    But that writing in your manuscript every day? Yeah, no let up on that one. I am an expert at avoiding it, but it really must be done. Good luck!

  10. amazing how things can distract us isn’t it. Sometimes I do my best writing in the middle of the night..when all is quiet.

  11. Emmie – I hear you! I’ve been quite amazed at your daily posts, because they’re not short simple things, they’re long and well-considered. If I blogged as you’ve been doing, I wouldn’t get any work done on my WIP either. I’m finding blogging three times a week a massive challenge as it is, and I don’t think I’m going to be able to keep it up. For this year at least, my WIP has to be my priority. Good luck with prioritising yours.

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