Gwendoogle CXLIV – Writing Distractions

GwendoogleAnswers served with only one mention of the SuperBowl. That was it.

Kathryn searched: Have you ever taken a long break from writing?
Twice. Both breaks lasted about a year, and I can easily point to them as bad years.

The first time, I was fifteen. From my informal poll of humanity, I have gathered that most people have stories about being suddenly hit with the Stupid Stick around that age. It makes me feel better, considering I think I not only got hit, but bent the Stick into a Boomerang and played with it for a while. Blame hormones. Blame growing up enough to realize not everything can be fixed by an ice cream cone. Blame not growing up enough to understand that sometimes ice cream still helps. But I stopped writing.

And then I jumped back in head-first and wrote the first draft of the novel that has become my obsession and my darling.

The second time, I was twenty-two. I graduated from college. I got a job teaching Latin to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. I didn’t sleep much between lesson plans, grading papers, and trying to learn the teaching skills that I had not gone to school for. I definitely did not have time to write.

And then I jumped back in head-first and started this blog.

I am the poster child for the all-or-nothing, go-big-or-go-home, fold-or-go-all-in style of living life. This is why breaks do not scare me. I know what comes after.

TemporarySanity searched: What do you eat/drink while writing?
I have a strange problem with forgetting to be human while I write.

For instance, this question reminded me that it was well past an hour when most humans (in my time zone) gather things that they might consider dinner-appropriate. This question reminded me that the weird-achy feeling in my chest, and the weird-shaky feeling in my hands means that my blood sugar is not at the level my flesh vessel finds most optimal.

This sensation, of writing and writing and writing, then suddenly looking down at the dashboard to find multiple warning lights flashing, is not unusual for me. There’s no longer any sense of panic. I simply sigh, consider how long I have until I get the annoying beeping noise to go along with the flashing lights, and acknowledge that experts say my flesh vessel will last longer if I take better care of it.

Now, I have just raided the fridge, so I suppose the most direct answer to your question is: roast beef, mashed potatoes, and salad.

But I kind of want cookies.

Kathryn searched: How do you get back to writing a story after a long time without writing a word?
Step 1: Determine that you are still excited about your story. Your story has that awesome bit that you haven’t gotten to write yet. Your story has that character that always makes you laugh. Your story has that character that makes you feel less alone. The ending of your story is going to make you feel warm-and-fuzzy/alive/better/broken-in-a-good-way.

Step 2: Stay excited. Get pumped. Do a little dance. Have a conversation with your friends about it and let your voice get a little squeaky if you must.

Step 3: Sit down. Don’t make excuses. Put your butt in that chair.

Step 4: Write.

Step 5: Stop reading this. You’re doing it already.

(Note: there are some variations to this five step process, some more elaborate than others, but I would argue that it all comes down to this: being excited, and making yourself do the work.)

TemporarySanity searched: What is your biggest distraction while writing?
Obvious answer: the internet in all its disheveled glory.

Less-obvious answer: standing on my chair, giving an epic lip-sync performance of that one song that just came up on my playlist. Then restarting the song because I can do better.

MadamLibrarian searched: Why is cashmere so soft?
Because it is made from a downy under-layer of goat hair. Naturally, goats choose to grow only the softest of hair to keep next to their skin. Goats are smart.

Kathryn searched: How do YOU picture my female protagonist? (Yes, we’re apparently still fighting, though we’re getting nearer a reconciliation, I think.)
Here are the only three things I decided I can assume about your protagonist:

  1. She has bones.
  2. She has blood.
  3. She breathes.

Here are some things I rejected, seeing as I have not read your work in a long time, and cannot makes these assumptions about a perfect stranger:

  1. She has hair.
  2. She has two eyes.
  3. She has two ears
  4. She has two hands.
  5. She has two arms.
  6. She has two feet.
  7. She has two legs.
  8. She has an appendix.

I’m going to need to know your thoughts on post-appendectomy, bald, female protagonists…

Have a question for Gwendoogle? Leave it in comments below and I’ll be back next week to answer it.

The question bucket is empty! Help fill it up. :)


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