Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shiny Objects

         

Hmmm... what one thing should I choose for this month's post about my writing insecurities? *taps finger on temple* The list running through my head resembles movie credits.

Focus--that's a good one, that works, or more precisely, doesn't work for me at all lately. I'm pulled in a million different directions, spinning from one topic to another, landing on nothing for more than about 15 minutes before something else distracts me. I've done a post about this before (you can check it out here if you're interested), but still find myself with the same problem--lack of focus.

I've heard magpies are attracted to shiny things. Maybe I'm more magpie than Up dog...who knows, but I just spent ten minutes looking up why magpies are attracted to shiny objects and how you can find coins, aluminum foil, bright colored glass, bottle caps, and many other such pretty objects in their nests.
And now I've spent another ten minutes looking up the prettiest magpie. As far as birds go, the magpie isn't all that unattractive. I'm not a bird person, but I'm thinking I have more in common with a magpie than I'd care to admit. If I walk into a store and something sparkles to my right, I'm heading there before I realize. I must see this shiny thing, I want to feel it, I need to take it to my nest--I mean my home.

Similar with writing. I start my day off by reading email, checking my blog, possibly Twitter, then have every intention of sending out another batch of query letters or playing search and destroy in my ms, but something pretty sparkles on someone's blog and I'm done for. And now I've spent more valuable minutes talking about my addiction to sparkly things.

This is my problem. Focus. I need it back. Maybe if I threw glitter all over my manuscript...


And now I've spent another unspecified amount of minutes looking up glitter, sparkle, and shiny things...


Oh elusive focus, where are you hiding? You're beneath that pretty shiny thing over there, aren't you?


How do you stay focused?


40 comments:

  1. Well, considering it took me three tries to get all the way through your post, I don't know if I'm in any position to talk about focus. I'm usually doing at least two things at once (often more). And I'm very easily distracted by shiny things too. The pretty picture you posted kept me occupied for awhile. But I usually find that setting daily goals for myself and treating them as seriously as any other deadline helps. I'll procrastinate as much as possible, but at least I'm still getting something accomplished everyday. And working on multiple projects helps when my attention wanders because that way it can wander over to something else productive. It's not foolproof by any means, but I've seen some improvement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha, those shiny things are dangerous! Great tips! I need to make more 'deadlines' for myself and actually follow them :)

      Delete
  2. Sparkles definitely help! I have these postcards that hang on the wall above my desk and they help. They each have one word: Dare, Dream, Aspire. And for some reason, those remind me of my goals and help me plug into gear!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe I need to make my writing space prettier with inspirational things that sparkle :) Great idea!

      Delete
  3. Oh I'm the same dang way my dear! You know what I do? I pull out the WIP FIRST, and then after I've done what I need with it, I click over to blogger and email. (Plus, there's usually more emails cuz I've waited longer, and that makes me feel good, lol.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I need to do that too! I used to have blogging as my reward for getting my other stuff done, but somehow it's moved to the top of my list... hmm... need to switch it back now.

      Delete
  4. My focus is seriously lacking too. It's after three in the afternoon here, and it was only an hour ago that I started writing. Before that it wsa Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Facebook, housework, Facebook, exercise, Facebook, lunch, Facebook.

    Facebook is MY shiny thing lol. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Facebook used to take me more time, then I started blogging...

      Delete
  5. Mostly I don't stay focused. I suffer from an extreme case of Shiny Object syndrome. I used to take myself to the local library and work in a cubicle in an internet free environment but then I figured out I could connect my laptop to the library's network and well, now that's done. =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no! I think you're right though, if I didn't have internet access all the time, I'd get a lot more actual writing done :)

      Delete
  6. When I need to get focused, I lock myself in my room, disconnect the internet and plug into my fav tunes on iTunes. Within an hour I'm back in the groove!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you guys are on to something here--no internet time outs! That just might work for me :)

      Delete
  7. I have an issue with this. I make lists, but (especially when it comes to writing) I let myself get distracted with twitter/blogs/etc... I have to just make myself get to work - sometimes it works, other times it doesn't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lists are always good! I just need to learn to stick to them :)

      Delete
  8. "Play search and destroy with MS" <-----Dying of laughter here! I played this last night after midnight... oh crap, what did I do... ;)

    Great post, Hope :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no! Tired search and destroy could be dangerous! ;)

      Delete
  9. FOCUS! THAT's that I'm lacking today. I'm experiencing exactly what you described. I can't stick to a task for longer than five minutes. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean! ADD strikes me too often :)

      Delete
  10. I've been working on focus my whole professional writing career. I've learned so many tips and tricks that I'm putting together a training series to help freelance writers focus... It's geared toward freelancers and not creative writers, though we're all creative writers down in our souls.

    ReplyDelete
  11. You apparently not the only one with lack of focus. Looks like everybody's in the same boat. Me too since I'm checking all the blogs out now instead of writing. I will be soon.

    Know how they make those glittery covers for cell phones? They should make them
    for laptops. Of course once you get on the computer, FB, Twitter and bloggers will take over anyway. Maybe it'd help to have a laptop for writing that has no internet connection. That might work. Except that I'd get up and go to the computer that had the internet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, need some pretty jewels and stuff to put around my laptop, good idea :) And I'd do the same thing with two laptops. I'd try to stay as long as possible on the one, but I know the internet would call to me :)

      Delete
  12. If I had any advice, I'd give it to you, but my focus is really elusive right now, esp. with blogging and doing my school yearbook. I want to find it. Come back! Come back!

    Pretty glitter, btw.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll try to send some your way if I find any focus :)

      Delete
  13. Oh, this is ha-larious - because I just wrote something similar on how my alter-ego is Dora from Finding Nemo. Something shiny over there? I'm ALL over it. Sparkles to the left? Yep, you got me. And after reading your post - I now want to read all about magpies. Pretty bird...oh, so, pretty bird.

    See?

    You are not alone.

    But focus. Yes, that. I think for me, I need the house to myself. I need the husband to be out somewhere and at least give me a 10-mile radius. And the animals - if the dog isn't bumping my arm to pet his noggin, then one of the 3 kitties is jumping up onto my laptop, trying to write my revisions for me. Yep, they all need to be somewhere else, too. This all works great for me, usually on Saturday mornings - because the hubby is golfing for AT LEAST 4 hours.

    Great post, Hope!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh, four hours of quiet! That would be amazing!

      Delete
  14. I try really hard to focus. Sometimes with the kids around, it's not happening AT ALL. But other times I'm in the zone. I've learned that if I can't focus I'm going to produce crap. So I go on my email and send out a HNSD email and wait to see what craziness might happen.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Replies
    1. Thanks for those! Now my eyes are wiggin out :)

      Delete
  16. LOL. Oh man, you are not alone. Not alone at all. Now I must scroll back up to look at the shiny prettiness!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had five shiny prettinesses on the post originally, but had to cut it back cause I was spending too much time looking for more sparkle :)

      Delete
  17. Ummm, no answer for that. My "D" word for the A to Z: Distractions. Oh, and I love shiny things too.
    A2ZMommy and What’s In Between

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Distractions, devilish distractions...

      Delete
  18. Good to see I'm not the only one who earned the "two posts in one day" achievement today! Great post!

    I definitely have to battle for focus sometimes. It doesn't help that my writing desk is also my net-surfing desk, my movie-watching desk, and my video gaming desk. Even after implementing a semi-rigorous writing schedule into my work week, I still have to smack myself a few times to get back on track. But nothing feels better than to reward yourself with the things you've been resisting after a nice productive writing session. :)


    J.W. Alden

    ReplyDelete
  19. Nest HAHA! I mean, home. :)

    I wish I had a good answer for this, but I don't. :( Usually I force myself to keep writing and if I get through about three pages and still feel like my mind's somewhere else, I stop and do something else.

    But I force myself to think about my story, changes, crazy things that my characters might do. That way I'm still sort of doing something :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point! As long as you're thinking about your story, it's still part of writing, right?

      Delete
  20. Wish I had a tip but my focus has been crap this year. Crap, I tell you! If you see it, send it back to me, will you?

    ReplyDelete