Monday, September 29, 2008

Life's Many Distractions

Come on and play with me...
I'll be your best friend.
Come on.
It won't take long.
Just throw the ball.
And I will bring it back again.
There's time for the laundry later.
And you can make that dinner then too.
But for now, just come on.
Play with me.
It will be lots of fun.
I'll wag my tail and make my happy face
And try not to shed too much.
If you just put down that pen,
and turn off your computer,
and come and play with me.
Some of life's many distractions (even if in a good way)...
  1. My dog Kenzie, begging me to throw her ball.
  2. My kids and their HW
  3. Laundry
  4. Vacuuming
  5. Dishes
  6. Cooking

Or, I guess you can just say - LIFE is a distraction when you're trying to write a book!

Don't get me wrong.

I love my kids.

Love my dogs.

Don't love housework, but am mature enough to know it's not going to do itself.

*Sigh* too bad JK Rowling's house elves aren't real...

So what are your top five distractions? Oh I just thought of a few more...

  1. emails
  2. blogging

So, I love my kids, I love my husband, and I love my dogs. And I am so grateful to be alive and we're all healthy.... yada, yada, yada. I do not take any of that for granted. HOWEVER, I am TRYING TO WRITE HERE while I hold down the fort and work 4 part-time jobs.

So..... I am going on a little retreat.

In a few weeks I am driving a little bit away - not too far - and shutting myself up in a room and writing, writing, writing. It's just for two nights, but still! It is solid, uninterrupted, quality, no children's bickering, no dishes, no laundry, no cooking, only writing time. And I'm psyched!

My vision: In a beautiful setting, a C. 1800's house stands with wide, welcoming porch, creamy yellow clapboards, wavy antique glass windows, and up there, there, in that window, see? The one with the light on... that's where I'll be, writing feverishly into the night. Only stopping for sustenance and the potty.

I'll feel like Emily Dickinson, or Jane Eyre, or.... like me! Writing and working, dreaming and planning, thinking, and figuring things out, missing my family terribly, and making the most of my time away.

I once read this article by a writer - naturally - who spoke of his writer-friends who needed to go away, into the woods, in order to write - very Thoreau - and he felt it was silly. If you can write, you can write anywhere. It doesn't have to be in the woods, in a cabin, in a cottage, or a B&B.

At first, I laughed and agreed with him, scoffing at these writers alongside him. But not anymore. No. Ut-uh, Mr. I'm not laughing anymore. Now, I totally get how you might need to leave the distractions of life behind - your world behind - in order to truly submerge yourself into the world you are trying to create in your book. Even if these distractions are things... people.... pets... you cherish.

Sometimes, we need to leave our world to enter a new one...


cindy said...

well said! for now, starbucks is as far as i can get, but i love the thought of a writers cabin or retreat somewhere, someday. =)

Jeanie W said...

My biggest writing time distraction (after your blog) is the nagging feeling that I need to get cracking on my portfolio. The biggest distraction to my illustration time is the nagging feeling that I really need to get cracking on my next novel. (Do I really want to do both? Yes, I do.)

Then there's the daughter's college applications (and accompanying anxiety), the part-time day-job search, and the never-ending housework (things get dirty again too fast). There just ain't enough time in the day.

Sometimes I long for a cabin in the woods.

Sheri said...

I do too, Cindy. And it was Angie Frazer who inspired me with her recent gals in babes in the woods get away. I hope this will be the start of something new and wonderful in this chapter of writing.

Jeanie - I will give you a gentle kick in the butt there - yes! get your portfolio together girl! I see you changed your tree avatar to the adorable mouse - no doubt your talented work... Your life sounds a lot like mine! I feel your pain! I really do!

PJ Hoover said...

I want to come with you!
OK, maybe I'll just do my own here in Texas. This sounds like a blissful idea.
Yep, I'm planning it.
Must set aside a weekend (you know, and arrange it with the husband and all that).
Thanks for the great idea!

Sheri said...

Oh PJ, I wish you could come! It would be fantastic. We could write all day, swear ourselves to silence by day, and then by night, over some wine (or beer!) we could talk about our day's writing, brainstorm, or just drink, by the crackling fire! One of these days! But yes, do plan your own. I tortured myself for days trying to figure out where to go. But then today when I saw the place online, I instantly knew. I cannot be more excited. And my husband is being so supportive through this whole novel writing thing. It really helps knowing that he believes in me too. OH! And I am only going from Friday to Sunday. He leaves that week on business and will come home for one day and turn around and leave again for business DURING THE WEEKEND, so this retreat is PERFECT timing. I will then be refreshed and ready to single parent..

Sheri said...

Oh... and this counts as a write-off, right???

beth said...

There really are so many distractions out there...and the worst thing is, too often the distractions are things that have already happened (i.e. work--I get home from work, am tired, then my distraction becomes being tired from work, or thinking about work the next day).

I think it's a brilliant idea to just get away! sounds like such a brilliant idea that I'm trying to figure out ways to emulate you!

Sheri said...

Beth, I blame Angie. She recently posted about such a writer's retreat and I became obsessed with wanting to create that for myself as well.

I now declare October National Writer's Retreat Month!

Gottawrite Girl said...

Ahhh, my dream! A retreat to do nothing but WRITE. I'm going to participate in NANO this year, kindof as a forced, quasi-retreat. I am going to hole up for a month-long sprint, and get it done. Outlining now, writing all November. 50,000 words or bust!

Sheri said...

Susan - tell us more about this NANO... quasi-retreat.

The Anti-Wife said...

What a great idea! Where do you find the time for it?

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your retreat! sounds like Heaven. If only I could be so lucky! my distractions have to be as follows:
1, children.
2, cleaning.
3, children.
4, more cleaning!

Amy Tate said...

Oh I'm jealous! Have a wonderful time and I hope you find lots and lots of inspiration!

Sheri said...

Anti - what? to go away? Well, let's see... this is the first time I am going away by myself in over 13 years! So clearly, I don't find the time often. But I am beginning a new precedent. I plan to do this 4 times a year - if I can afford it.

Motherx - Welcome! The kids and cleaning will get you all the time! It's the same here!

Thanks Amy. I drove by the B&B yesterday to check it out... I think I'm in love. I posted about this once before... I fall in love with houses - I know it's strange. But some houses just feel so.... right. You know? I am sooooooo excited. I am counting down the days. I highly recommend it for all of you!

Devon Ellington said...

Even short retreats are vital to refilling the creative well.

Have a great time.

I do find that i miss the distractions provided by my animals when I'm away. They always seems to know just when I need a break.

I've learned to be pretty ruthless about all other distractions -- phone is off all day, woe to anyone who dares knock at the door without an appointment, or anything else.

My criteria for interruptions to writing time is:

Are you dead? No? You will be by the time I'm done since you interrupted me! ;)

My dad always said the only excuse to break your word is death, preferably yours. I've expanded that to include interruptions to my writing time.

keri mikulski :) said...

I struggle with distractions. :)

1. My toddler
2. Perez Hilton's website
3. Blogs
4. Facebook/MySpace
5. One Tree Hill episodes on TiVo

Can I come too??? I would get so much done. :)

Sarah Hina said...

Wow, Sheri. I am so happy for you. This sounds like a dream to me right now.

And I love what you said about distractions. Your pup is so cute. :) I shudder to think how much writing I would get done if I dragged myself away from the internet.

Have fun on your retreat!!

Oh, and can I bum a ride? ;)

Sheri said...

That's interesting - I probably will miss the distractions given to me by my dogs also. I don't know if you have kids or not, or how old they are, but most of the time, kids have to come first... HW... time to be with you... That's why school is so sacred to me, it gives me alone time from 8:30 - 3:30, they are well taken care of, they enjoy school, but now I am working... thus the need for this retreat.

It's not that far for you. Of course you can come! You're funny... Perez Hilton's website...

The more the merrier - quiet time from morning till dinner and then wine and chatting all night. How's that sound???

Scott said...

My distractions are video games, kids, flag football (coaching), taxes (having to do them late), web surfing and guitar. Oh, and football Sunday.

Sheri said...

My computer kind of sort of crashed yesterday, and I realized just how HUGE a distraction it is from my life in general.

Video games... from the spring to the fall I am a lawn widow. But from the fall to the spring, I am a video game widow...

“Personal limitation exists only in our ideas of who we are. Give up all notions of who you are and your limitations will vanish.”

- Anonymous