Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Distraction or Inspiration?

This past week I've found it hard to concentrate on my writing. This is a busy time of year for us starting with my son's sixth Birthday yesterday and continuing at a chaotic pace until after Christmas. Apart from this specific time, life in general holds many distractions for a writer trying to desperately carve out their writing time. I began to consider: which distractions could be viewed not as time away from writing but instead as inspiration for writing?

Distractions come in many guises. Certain activities that distract from your writing time are easy enough to turn into inspiring moments spent. For instance time spent with family at the beach or doing a craft activity with children can help us create realistic character relationships, write about emotions and describe the waves crashing against rocks.

However, many distractions in our life are not so easy. There's the tedious responsibilities such as cleaning the bathroom, paying bills and doing your tax return. Then there's the irritating time drains. For instance: having to ring customer services for the tenth time to inform the obnoxious unable-to-think-outside-the-box customer representative that they have yet again miscalculated your bill.

I ask myself: can any distraction become inspiration?

Can the metamorphosis of distraction into inspiration enable our every moment to become an interesting, productive writing moment?

I think the answer is yes. Being a writer isn't just about sitting down with your manuscript editing and writing. It's about making the choice to commit to your identity as a writer so that during every moment you're willing to actively be a writer.

Maybe with this commitment, even the most irritating or mundane parts of life will become meaningful, useful and/or enjoyable.

On that note I'll get back to you after I've scrubbed the toilet and let you know if I managed to find any sliver of inspiration from that!



  1. I think distraction can definitely become inspiration. Plot holes often get miraculously filled while I'm doing something mundane like washing up, or shopping so don't feel too bad :o) I always say I'm still writing, even when I'm not, er, actually writing!

  2. Karen - yes you've uncovered the thinly disguised real reason for writing this post - justification for all the time I should be writing but am not. LOL.

  3. Every time (well, nearly) I moan to my mother about something, she tells me to remember it and keep it for my writing. Sometimes though it's not easy finding the inspiration needed.

  4. Debs - very true. There are definitely some things near impossible to gain inspiration from. It is all we can do not to lose our heads. LOL.

  5. This is such a wise piece. Everything we do, say, think is always there at the back of our minds and Good Old Inspiration drags it out of us at the least expected times..

  6. Oh, I love this, almost in tears reading it.

    I have 4 young children: ages 2, 6 (twins), and 8. In between the ebb and flow of my life, writing in mostly a quiet computer room vs. tending to the needs of my growing family, I, too, wonder if what I see as "distractions" can instead become inspiration for my writing.

    Perspective, in life and in writing, I'm coming to discover, can be everything.

    Thank you for visiting my blog because in doing so, I've found yours!!


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