The Distractions that Keep Me from Writing a Book
I’ve always been easily distracted. It takes little to get my attention and much more to keep it. Unless I’m using my obsessive powers for good, I suffer from a sever lack of discipline and self-control. In school, it was hard to pay attention or study, and don’t get me started on how long it took to write a paper.
All of this is to say I’m having a hard time staying disciplined and writing my book. I listen to the Writing Excuses podcast and they are constantly reminding me the only way to write is to write, but I have a hard time getting things to click. In hopes of analyzing the problem, I’m going to look at things that are stealing my attention from writing the next great American novel.
Watching Akira Kurosawa Films
I live in a college town and the campus library has one of the best film collections you could ask for. When I was in school, I took an Art and History of Film class and one the best days we had was spending the whole class talking about Akira Kurosawa. I had already seen two of his films, Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, but the class taught me how much I was missing. Now, I’m spending my free time going through Kurosawa’s entire films.
This summer I’ve watched both Sanshiro Sugata movies, The Most Beautiful, The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail, Drunken Angel, and . I have two of his movies sitting in my apartment waiting to be watched, The Hidden Fortress. Considering that each movie requires my full attention, I’ve been having a hard time balancing these movies and writing. No Regrets for Our Youth and Scandal
Reading Too Many Books
Writers are supposed to be readers. In fact, we need to be readers otherwise we don’t know how to write. It’s an unavoidable truth but I have a hard time finding the right balance between the two. If I hadn’t read Dan Simmons Hyperion, I wouldn’t have come up with my book; if I hadn’t read William Gibson’s Neuromancer, I wouldn’t have learned how to write about cyberspace.
But what if I’m spending too much time reading? Sure, some books will help me as a writer, but is this the time for me to be reading Ringworld? It’s hard to decide and with a reading list that gets bigger all the time, it’s going to be harder to choose.
Acting in a Play
Right now, I’m Lt. Brannigan in a community theater production of Guys and Dolls. Doing a play or musical, no matter how large your role, is always going to be a time consumer. When it comes to learning my lines, going to rehearsal, or shopping for costumes, it’s something that takes a lot of time away.
I should be able to work around this; I’ve had bigger parts and still balanced school. This only takes time during the evenings and that leaves me with a whole day free. The problem with these excuses is that they’re not very convincing. This leads me to my next reason…
Playing League of Legends
This is the least excusable item on my list. When it comes to using my time wisely, video games have always been a problem. Now, I’m playing a free, addicting online game that makes me say, “One more round!” too many times.
Whether I find League of Legends fun or not depends on who I’m playing with, and it’s more often than not that I’m on a team with people who have never been told “no” in their life. But, when the game is fun, it’s really fun. Late at night, when I could be writing, it’s more likely I’m in a queue for another forty minute game.
Writing on Hubpages
Surprise twist? Honestly though, Hubpages has become a distraction that’s hard to resist. When I could be sitting down writing another chapter, I’m coming up with two or more Hubs. With each Hub taking an hour or so to write and construct, it becomes a time sink. The problem is that it’s hard to say it’s a bad for me, but too much of a good thing…
It’s my personal satisfaction that’s the problem. The gamer in me loves the score system Hubpages uses, I like writing something people will read and I like building my collection of articles. Compared to an hour or more struggling to finish a few scenes that will be rewritten a hundred times, you can see my dilemma.
In reality, these are easy problems to fix. I could watch one Kurosawa movie a week and use it as a reward. I could read after I write or before. I could make it so I can write a Hub for every chapter I finish in my own book. Theater isn’t much of an excuse since it’s over this week. When it comes to League of Legends, I should just stop playing. Discipline is a writer’s greatest tool and I’ve dulled mine for too long. I want to finish this book, so I can print it and let others read it. I want to finish it so I can write another one. I want to be published someday. You know what won’t happen if I keep letting myself be distracted? Any of those goals.
I just spent an hour writing a Hub about things that keep me from writing. I’m sick, Doc!