Sunday, August 16, 2009

Jmo on Distractions

Being an author is all about distractions. Some good. Some bad. For me, writing is the greatest distraction in the world. Bad day at work. Write to wash it away. Kids getting on your nerves. Shut the door, slap on the earphones and write to drown them out. Spouse giving you the evil eye. Smile and write. Can’t comment further. She reads this. But, you get what I’m saying. Authors need to write to distract them from the hazards of being alive in an insane world. See, non-writers think we’re insane for writing, and we think they’re insane for not writing. Nice balance.

Yet, there are times when we’re just as insane as everyone else. You guessed it. When we’re not writing!!! Yep I like to call it, PMS, or Post-traumatic Muse Syndrome. Now, that I’ve giving it a snappy acronym, let’s get into the many causes for this distracting condition.

LIFE. Yep the reason you’re breathing and suffering is the leading cause. It’s hard to write when you’ve got a day job, bills that demand to be paid, a spouse who wants things fixed, cleaned, cooked, or generally done. Kids fall into this category too. Then you have crappy co-workers, bosses who can’t accept that writing is an integral part of your being and if the muse hits you, you’ve got to get it out of your system before you lose it. And, you’ve got a million other little things that throw your mind out of the game. Somebody cuts you off on the way, Wal-Hell not having Double Stuf Oreos when you want them, or a pushy bitch who snatches the last box. All these things and more can kill a good muse buzz quick.

TOO MANY IDEAS IN YOUR HEAD AT ONE TIME. This is the worst. Your muse is whispering so many good ideas in your ear, you can’t focus on just one. Believe me you can’t do them all at the same time. I’ve tried. I myself believe this is the way a muse uses her powers to get a short vacation.

EDITS. Sure they’re part and parcel of the game, but nothing kills a creative mood like getting handed a big reminder of all things you got wrong. Edits are learning experiences and you can’t grow without making mistakes. That’s what the rational mind has to say on the matter, but the insecure nail biting part is screaming, if I’m this bad, why do I keep trying? After a week or so, the author figures out they’re great and it’s the editor who needs help and we start writing again.

PROMO. Another part of the game, but one that kills a muse just the same. It never fails. When you’re on a roll, there is some event that you must show up for. As much as we love chatting with our fans, because we do and you’re the reason we’re doing this, writing is a disease just as insidious as anything bought on the street. It’s a monkey we don’t want off our back. If you take it away, you kill a part of us we can’t bear to lose, our sanity.

ONLINE SOCIAL COMMUNITIES. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter…evil each and every one. Hey, we’re adults but we’re just as prone to look at the shiny object as well as any kid under the age of 18. We get addicted to being close to both other authors and those who read our books and the muse goes along for the ride. By the time we’re ready to get to work and write, they’re still roaming around doing quizzes, playing Mobsters and generally making an ass of themselves socializing on our dime. BRB, must find out which movie psycho I am.

NEW BOOKS BY OUR FAVORITE AUTHOR. I fall into this trap and I know others do too. You’re writing your butt off and you look at the calendar. Damn, the new Sheri is out today. You say to yourself, I’ll start back writing when I get back from the store. Then it’s I’ll only read one chapter until I’ve only got thirty more pages to go, I’ll let that idea percolate while I finish this up. By the time you’re sighing to yourself, whatever train of thought you had going is just that… Gone!


FINALLY, YOURSELF. An author is the most destructive stumbling block to writing. We like to look at all the pretty things around us. We like to doubt our ability. We like to chat amongst ourselves about how we can’t write. We like to generally avoid writing. Mostly, we like to see a world that doesn’t exist except in our minds and sometimes we want the real world to be as great as the ones we create. When they don’t, it fills us with such a depression, we retreat into all those things above to escape the horror that our minds aren’t enough to reshape reality to reflect what we want. But, we can affect those who read our books. We can make you smile, laugh, cry and join us in wishing the world was as fantastic as the ones you read.

So, in short… I’m writing this blog to distract me from the fact I have too much to do, not enough time to do it, but as soon as I get this out of the way, I’ll get right on it. Yeah right. I still have a kabillion quizzes left to take on Facebook.


Melanie Atkins said...

Hahaha! I can SO relate to this, Jmo. Check out my blog for a similar, although less wordy, rant. I used a video I found on Youtube to state my case. lol

Morgan2x said...

Melanie that sums it up too but the cartoon voice told me to buy a potato after the video was over. Is it supposed to say that?


Diana Castilleja said...

That is a very true rant. *applause* Couldn't have done it better myself.

Sandra Sookoo said...

Well said :-) I am my own biggest distraction :-)

Morgan O'Reilly said...

Jmo's my biggest distraction! Seriously, I have tunnel vision. When I'm writing I ignore the world, when I'm promoting, I ignore the writing. Wish I could comapartimentalize my days better.

Maithe said...

Hi JMo! Man, I can so relate. No, I don't write...I just like shiny things. *L* I am supposed to be working on some paperwork right now, but as you can see, I'm not really paying attention to the plain boring stuff. *L*

Okay, back to the boring stuff...right after I check my daily horoscope. *L*