Writing and the Art of Distraction
Writing on Medium has become my new obsession and my latest distraction.
Honestly, though, isn’t creative writing BASED on our distractions? Everything that happens, for me at least, becomes a potential topic to write about.
I can be 100% focussed on my “other work”, and an idea will pop into my head that I need to jot down, or hop on Medium and write about it, lest it falls out of my brain. I can be tucked in bed at night, and something will sneak into my head. It’s another idea that I NEED to get out of me, causing me to jump up and write it down. Who needs sleep anyhow?
If I had the time, I would do nothing but write. Unfortunately, I am not quite “there” YET. It doesn’t matter what is happening around me, I seem to become inspired easily, and I hope it’s not just a passing phase. I truly hope that I continue the skill set of being able to sit down, and start a story based on something in my world, that I find of interest or intrigue.
Sometimes it is an inconvenience.
Just the other day, I was stuck in a long meeting at work, and my idea to write my Wonder Woman article popped into my thoughts. I was actually focussed on the presentation that was happening in front of me, but my mind wandered. It wants to WRITE. ALL THE TIME. I needed to race through traffic, get home, and get my thoughts out as soon as possible, just in case. I ended up missing supper, missing going outside to enjoy some sunshine, and didn’t mind one bit. I was so distracted about what I was planning to write, I hardly noticed the 15 construction zone that clogged my route home. I was quite content, just to sit and share my words and thoughts. However, I need to be more careful and more cognizant while in meetings. I still rely heavily on my “paying career”.
Lunch time in our office, is a huge production. At precisely 12:00 one of our team members will announce “Lunch Time”, and wander from pod to pod asking who will be having lunch in the lunch room. I ALWAYS opt out, and sit at my desk with my salad du jour, just to write.
They may not always be brilliant ideas or topics, but the stress reduction and zen of putting words to thoughts makes my day so much better. It becomes like a jigsaw puzzle. I put the foundation, or edges out, and then carefully try to make everything fit together. I try piece after piece, until I am content with the result. Total stress reliever.
The only issue with my skipping lunch room time, is I lose track of time. Typically, I end up writing for over the allocated hour, and feel unaccomplished if I haven’t posted my work. So, I become distracted once again, when I am supposed to be doing reports or going out on visits, just to finish my writing. It may not be the best choice of prioritizing, but it is what it is. I feel that writing has actually improved the way I complete my work reports, anyhow. So, there’s always that.
There have been times when I sit down, with no topic or theme in mind, and just build a character. After the character is created, I then build an adventure around him or her. Once the adventure is built, I create time lines, scenery and a few background tidbits. It may seem like a strange way to build a storyline, but for now it seems to work. I don’t want to try and fix it, if it isn’t broken.
The issue with committing to a storyline, is again, the distraction. As I sit and write, I get fidgety. I get up for a glass of water, or coffee, and come back to my desk. I typically don’t lose my train of thought unless I happen to look outside and become sideswiped by passersby or God forbid, a cute dog. Then all bets are off. I will then sit down, reread what I have written and try to get back into the game. (Or write a little bit about the cute puppy).
It really is an art, this writing world. It is a rare form of creativity that can allow for distractions that inspire you. You can put it down, walk away, and pick up where you left off. (Unless you are meeting a deadline). And it’s unlike a painting or sculpture. You can go over and over it, again and again to make changes without really messing anything up. Nothing is written in stone, until it has been posted or published, and even then it’s not always permanent.
Having always been a writer, in one form or another, I have developed an apreciation for distractions every now and again. Through our lens, the world changes. It becomes more provocative, challenging and inspiring. We don’t just LOOK at a tree. We develop new words to describe a tree, a story of where the tree came from, and the purpose of the tree. It’s the creative juices that flow through us, that let distractions become a positive in our lives.
Sure, there are days when I need to FIND focus, to finish a chapter, or a story. But then, I see a butterfly, or my boyfriend says something hilarious, and I write it down. Much like sculpting, or creative art, small tidbits around us can be the NEXT BIG PIECE. Maybe a sculptor finds a pretty rock while taking a walk. That rock could become the eye of a beautiful swan, or mermaid. A painter can stroll through the woods, and find the perfect color of a flower that needs to be part of her next painting.
Writers find inspiration in their everyday surroundings as well. We hear words, or smell an aroma pouring out of a bakery, or get a phone call. Later that day, it becomes a work of art.
Distractions can be one of our most valuable tools, in becoming an inspired writer. It really is okay, to welcome the moments that take us from our art. Even if it’s only for a second. You just never know. That moment could be your next work of art.