Our question of the week is: What distracts you the most? Answers to be given throughout the week so keep checking back (and feel free to comment).
When I read Linda's I thought––"Yes, same thing!" Then I read Grace's and Alvina's and Anna's and Libby's and I felt the same way about theirs, too. I have ADD as well. I was diagnosed with it in the 4th grade because I was little miss daydream. I had a very hard time reading, etc--still do! I'll never forget going to the doctor and being tested for ADD but not knowing that's what I was being tested for and thinking it was an intelligence test--what a nightmare! Explain what's going on to your kids! (yes, I'm getting off track already) I was also hyperactive. The key to ADD is harnessing it and using it to your advantage. One symptom is the ability to SUPER concentrate on some things. That's what happens with me. I can focus on one thing and not get up for hours and hours--that's how the books get done! However, if I'm in distraction mode EVERYTHING distracts me. I'll be painting and the next minute I'm hoping up to turn on music and then I'm deciding I want to start a novel and then I find myself in the kitchen getting a drink... then I forget about the drink and find myself on the computer writing an email... only I don't finish it because I'm back at my painting...then I'm back at the email because I wouldn’t want to forget about that!... then I'm getting out the house paint because I've decided the walls would be better blue... but not for long. That's my behavior a lot of the time. When I'm like that it's almost impossible to get anything done. Go to my website for a good display of ADD at its best. When ADD is GOOD you start what you finish!
Often, everything. A breeze through an open window. A good song. The sudden remembering of a missed appointment. An aching forearm. My dog barking. A scrap of paper on the floor with an interesting word I must at that moment look up in the dictionary. A strange smell.
Other times, nothing. When I'm on a roll, and I'm either not able to get something right in a painting, or, everything is going right in a painting, I can sit for 8 hours straight without knowing it, and suddenly realize I'm dying of thirst and have had to pee for 4 hours.
my husband, reading blogs and blogging (ahem...okay, gotta go!).
Same as Grace, except for the husband part.
And life, in general. Not wanting to miss out on anything. Then again, I like to think that work distracts me from life, rather than vice versa.
Oh there are so many things! Email mainly. Playing with my new computer. Thinking about how to organize my day and how long each task will take, making lists and charts about what I want to do instead of just doing it!!
I have ADHD, something I never realized until I volunteered in a school for kids who had been kicked out of regular public school. The class I visited every week was all boys, aged about 9 to 11, and I felt completely at home with all of them. I went once a week for 3 years and at some point realized that most of them had ADHD and I did, too.
So almost everything distracts me. I get distracted (and this is not an exaggeration) walking into the kitchen to get a cup of tea. The only way I can NOT get distracted is to get REALLY INTO what I'm writing -- and one of the good (or bad!) things about ADHD -- which I may blog about sometime soon! -- is that once you get really into something, almost notning can get you out of it. In this state, I go into the kitchen to get a cup of tea (or something) and forget why I'm there--I'm thinking about what I'm writing. So I go back to my desk. Then I remember what I went in for. I go back, forget, etc. -- sometimes it takes 3 or 4 trips to get it right. Unfortunately this is not an exaggeration.
But the question was: what distracts you MOST? Probably -- email and being online (any kind of screen time is really fatal!). A close second might be the amount of time wasted trying to decide about big things (stay at my job or leave it, stay here or move etc.) and little ones, like the most efficient way to organize my time and obsessively listing, planning, trying to figure things out. Fortunately, once I get really into a book, I fall into a routine and then there is nothing to decide about -- all I do is write and when I'm not writing, I think about it. But if I have other reponsibities (like a job) this is hard to do. ANd things that BREAK the routine (trips, houseguests etc.) are distracting. I am trying to find better ways to deal with all this than having life be a constant choice between writing novels or not going anywhere! (NOTE: I don't need all this space and time to write nonfiction or do my ghostwriting work, only to write novels. I say "novels" in the plural because even though I've only published one, I've written several.)
Since I always feel like other people's reactions are more interesting than my own, AND maybe to make myself feel better about needing so much time and freedom to really write, I'm going to close with a quote from Jane Austen. Usually, her sister Cassandra did the housekeeping -- which meant not cooking and cleaning but ordering the meals etc. -- but when Cassandra was away, she, Jane, had to do it. On one of Cassandra's absences Jane Austen a letter about the distraction of housekeeping:
"I can not write when my head is full of mutton and orange wine."
She meant ordering the making of it, not that she was befuddled from drinking it!