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Friday, July 7, 2017


Does anyone else struggle with this one?
I was reading a post on Twitter this morning about how distractions can ruin a writer’s career. The irony hit me in the forehead—instead of writing that new novel I’ve been researching, I was cruising social media, in effect participating in those very distractions.
It’s not easy to be a writer these days. I’m not sure if it was any easier in Dashiell Hammett’s days or Geoffrey Chaucer’s but a million things compete for a writer’s attention today.  
Master writer Michael Crichton had a shack in his backyard with no communications whatsoever allowing him absolute quiet and privacy. I nicknamed Crichton’s shack the Man Cave and decided I needed one of my own. Not having enough room in my backyard for a shack, I dedicated one of the bedrooms in my house (when my son moved out, also ensuring he couldn’t move back in!) to be a She Shed.
My She Shed has several bookcases filled with my favorite books, DVDs and mementoes from my life. It has a couch and a television but only as a monitor. No cable. My She Shed also has a retro turntable to play the LPs I still have and dearly love, plus a CD player. My father always said, “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
In other words, I got carried away with my She Shed and provided more distractions of another kind. It’s easy to do and Crichton would not be pleased. However, I do have a retreat from the world and I don’t allow the Internet to follow me into my private space. There’s a door and most of the time, my family stays out if the door is closed. Real thinking can be and is conducted there. If no other writing activity is produced in my retreat, thinking is surely number one.

It’s unique for every writer: that fine balance between life’s activities and the discipline needed to sit at some writing device and do the work. That’s what writing is—old-fashioned, butt-in-the-seat work. Creative thought doesn’t always come easily and if it does, don’t take it for granted. We each need to find our own Man Cave or She Shed, those quiet places to do what we’re meant to do: write.

                                                   The best writing tool
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  1. "She Shed" *snort* What a fabulous descriptor. My writing area is half of my recently remodeled basement. Before the remodel, I called it my "Writing Hovel". It has since upgraded to my "Writing Utopia", because the change was so dramatically wonderful. *grin* The area is roughly 12' x 24'. I typically do my Internet 'business' before noon, and then again in the evening. I check my email and social media on my phone when I have a few minutes away from my computer. If there's anything I need to respond to or post, I take care of it when I'm back at my computer. I'm not drawn to social media, so I don't have trouble spending too much time there. In fact, I have to have a reason to go to Facebook, such as post on my timeline occasionally, to give FB more than a cursory glance.

    My biggest distraction is life in general. Help this person. Run that errand. Stay with the grandkids (well...that's fun). And so forth.

    You're right, though, about a chair being a great writing tool. *wink*

  2. Thanks, Kaye. I agree with you about Facebook. Twitter reaches a larger audience but life is, indeed, the real distraction. Your Wriitng Utopia sounds similar to my She Shed--quiet with a distance from the action. Writers rule!

  3. The laptop on which I write my first drafts has no internet connection. This wasn't intentional a decade ago when I got the laptop; I just couldn't get it to connect. (This was back before we had wifi and things that made connection easier) I finally forgot about it and then came to appreciate the silence of it. Dodging distraction is an art.