Distractions are sometimes a writer’s worst enemy. I say sometimes because I can usually ignore them. Once I’m deep in the story, I can block everything from my mind and when I’m yanked into the real world, it takes me some time to realize what’s going on around me. You know, like someone asking me an important question, or even recognizing someone.
But there are times when distractions can’t be ignored. One such incident happened to me over the weekend. I’m working on the second book in my Olympus, Inc. series and have been having a rough time of it. The characters are not cooperating with me, the plot has more holes than Swiss cheese, and I’m starting to have doubts about the story. These are bad, bad things for a writer to deal with.
I wrote the first book in the series in 28 days (kind of like the zombies in the movie, it took over everything in my life) and most of it was written in a coffee shop. I tried to recapture that atmosphere by going to a different coffee shop. Starbucks, to be exact. I had everything I needed: A white chocolate frappucino, my ear buds, and enough music to last me several hours.
When I listen to music, I always listen to it as loud as I can stand it. I’ll probably be deaf in a few years, but it’s a risk I have to take since music motivates me when I’m writing.
So there I am in a nice little corner of Starbucks with my ear buds in, Avenged Sevenfold screaming in my ears, and an open document in front of me. I place my fingers on the keys and start typing when I hear screaming over M Shadows.
I look up to see a little boy, possibly 4 or 5, tearing into the building with his mom who seems to find this funny. I look back down at my laptop and turn up the volume, trying to block out the noise. Except the little boy came closer and closer, running, skidding, and I’m thinking the last place he needs to be is a coffee shop. Not only because he was distracting, but because he might somehow suck in caffeine through osmosis. It could happen.
But it was too late for me and my muse. The spell was broken and I’d lost my desire to write. I stuck it out as long as I could, forcing myself to write and deleting every word I put down because they were awful.
There are some distractions I can ignore, but apparently screaming, half-wild kids isn’t one of them. How about you? What distractions can you ignore and which ones get you every time?