Distraction. This simple word can describe so many different things to different people. People can be distracted at work by internet videos, cat pictures, cartoons, political rants, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. People can be distracted at home by bills, household dilemmas, any given television show, etc. But for writers, this simple word holds far greater value.
Writers seems to exist in a far different realm than the average person. We view each situation as a possible plot rather than real life. We dive deeper into tidbits of conversation that we barely overhear than anyone else who hears the same phrase or question. We live in a constant state of distraction. I may be looking out the window, and my husband may think that I’m spying on my neighbors or watching the leaves fall, but I’m actually millions of parallel universes away in a land of my own creation, stressing over character flaws and drama that really and truthfully don’t even exist.
Some distractions can be similar for your average humanoid and writers, like Pinterest. The people behind Pinterest are geniuses. It’s so addictive! I’ve seen friends repin hundreds of images in one sitting. We do it under the guise of research for our stories. I look for pictures of people who match the characters in my head or paintings or images that help inspire the creation of my worlds, but I quickly find myself repinning recipes that I will probably never cook and home improvement projects that I will probably never accomplish.
Our friends and family assume that our writing is a distraction from our everyday lives, but I think it tends to be the opposite. Our every day lives distract us from our writing. True writers, those of us who aren’t simply in it for money, never stop creating worlds. Just because we’re not always writing down our ideas on paper or typing away at a computer, it doesn’t mean that we’re not spinning tales, weaving webs of plot, and forming mountains and ravines in our minds.
As an example of distraction, I must take a moment here to note that this is the third day in a row that I’ve tried to finish this blog post. Each time I run out of my son’s nap time or I’m distracted by something else. It’s taken me so long to write this blog that I’ve actually forgotten my initial point that I was attempting to make. It wasn’t mind boggling or anything – not a prize winning blog by any means, but I did really have a point that I was going to make. I believe it was along the lines of distraction means something different to a writer. Our fictional world is our priority much of the time. That doesn’t mean that I ignore my family or leave my toddler son to fend for himself during the day while I immerse myself in my creativity. It’s always the opposite. My interests, my passion, and my favorite pastime takes a backseat to my real life 100% of the time. It’s only when I find a few moments to spare or I finally cave in to the creative craving and shut myself away in the library or in some room away from my family that I am allowed to indulge in my own reality – the one I’ve created.
It’s a constant struggle to coexist in the real world and in our imaginations. Remember that next time you criticize a writer for taking too long to put out their next work of fiction.