Saturday, October 2, 2010


Yesterday, I had the whole day to write. THE WHOLE DAY!

But . . .

I made the mistake of going into my closet—think cave—and the urge to finally clean it overwhelmed me. So, the ENTIRE day I sorted clothes into piles to go to different causes, you see, I’ve lost 35 pounds and most everything I own is too large. Another thing about my closet is that it is the holding place for everything else in my house that I don’t know what to do with. So yesterday, I had to make those decisions as well. The sad thing is that it isn’t finished even after spending the entire day.

The sad thing is even if I hadn’t gone into my closet and gotten dominated by its demands, the walk-in pantry and my walk-in office closet are screaming for attention. I was doomed anyway. It’s like my brain turns into spaghetti.

Sometimes, I just need to run away to a neutral place in order for my focus to be undivided. I’m not always so weak, but oftentimes when I’m insecure in my writerly world I will succumb to everything else but writing.

This can be a real problem for writers because unless we are “under contract” or making a lot of money, our family and friends think of our work as a “hobby” and have no problem demanding their piece of our time. And apparently some of us agree because we leave our writing to give it to them. It never occurs to us to say “no.”

If you find this is true, perhaps you need to run away. I like to go to coffee shops (but run into the danger of seeing someone I know) or go to the library. Next week I’m going to a writer’s conference in Eureka Springs, AR. I’m leaving super early in order to have quiet writing time before everyone else arrives.
If you have the “spaghetti-brain” syndrome, try running away for a while. Eventually, you will be able to return home. For a little while anyway!


Cheryl Linn Martin said...

How easy it is to get distracted from our writing! Here's something I learned from Randy Ingermanson--spend 50 minutes writing, then take 10 minutes to go do something else (throw in a load of laundry, clean a toilet, start some food prep, etc.) I sometimes run stairs during the 10 minute break. Don't get to it every hour, but when I do it helps me with the writing and I can get a number of little tasks done during my hours of writing!

Linda C. Apple said...

That is a good idea, Cheryl! But, I get distracted and forget to come back. You ought to see the way I clean my house. I work in the kitchen but see something that belongs in my room so I take it back and start working in there. Then I see something that belongs in the bathroom and then start working in there. You get the idea. BUT I recently went to a writer's retreat and the speaker gave us timers. Maybe if I set my timer to 10 minutes the buzz would remind me to get my hiney back in the chair!

Linda Glaz said...

Back in the 80's, the Slob Sisters had a cleaning system that worked off index cards. While it was a brilliant system and my house was clean for the first time ever, it dominated my life. Now, I call the cobwebs Science experiments, remember that the dust bunnies will STILL be tomorrow and get on with living. Woohoo! There is so much life to live.

Linda Glaz said...

The Slob Sisters had a system back in the 80's that worked off index cards to clean house. I tried it and it worked brilliantly, only I was tied to those cards and housework. Now, I lean back, call my cobwebs Science experiments, and remember that the dust bunnies will still be there tomorrow. Then, I get on with life. There's so much living to do!

Linda C. Apple said...

Ha! Linda, that is so funny! My science experiments is the mold on the leftovers in the fridge. AND when dust bunnies are allowed to procreate, they make great slippers slippers! ;)