Dealing With Distractions

Staying contained and in focus

Staying contained and in focus

Distractions from my work come in all forms, but of course what constitutes a distraction is relative, as dependent on the temperament of the author as it is on what is actually going on around her.

The past few weeks have seen an uptick in my social life, both friends and family. There have been get-togethers and there have been projects, coming in quick succession. I do love my family and friends–but I also tire easily, as I’m dealing with a combination of an autoimmune condition and deafness. The latter problem means a lot of lipreading, something that demands intensity of focus and energy and doesn’t get easier with age.

Normally, I just do what is in front of me, what is needed, and try to protect myself a little bit from emotional excess. But there are times when that is difficult, or when I can no longer kid myself that I’m trying to suppress emotions that must have their expression, whether it tires me out to do so or not. When there’s no getting away from it, I resign myself to not getting any writing done for a period of time, but as soon as that period of time is up, I allow myself to be immersed in my work.

One thing I’ve learned about writing is that it grounds me. Thus, it is the perfect antidote to periods of strong emotions, information overload, or exhaustion. Shutting out the rest of the world and immersing in Charlotte’s world–or even this blog–seems to retrieve all the parts of me that become scattered among other people and the activities and emotions associated with them. When I write, I feel like I’m fully myself and a heck of a lot more in control of my life.

I’m now on the second draft of the first 2/3 of An Undisclosed Vocation, and I’ve learned to allow for those times of distraction and overwhelm, of slipping out of the routine of focus and the awkward period of time it takes to get back into that routine. Writing a blog post like this is one way of getting back into the writing flow. Wrote a post for my other blog yesterday, and that helped, too. Exercise and a little more sleep also move things along. And, of course, it helps to have faith in the process.

It is just as important to learn how to be a writer as it is to learn how to write, and in fact could be as much as half the battle.


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