Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dealing with distractions

Myra here. We’re a couple of weeks into Speedbo now. So . . . how’s it going? Have you been able to stick with your planned writing schedule and crank out those pages?

What???

You’ve gotten distracted???

Hey, don’t beat yourself up. Distractions happen. If you’re a writer who’s . . . well, to put it bluntly, not dead, then you can expect the unexpected to crop up unexpectedly and throw a monkey wrench into your perfectly planned writing schedule.

Yep, distractions come to us all. And they come in many forms. Some may be minor snags. Others have the potential to throw you out of sync for days at a time.

Some distractions are outside our control:
  • A sick child.
  • A hungry spouse.
  • Car trouble.
  • Your boss drops an urgent project on your desk and wants it finished yesterday.
  • The computer freezes and you lose half a day’s work.
  • Your in-laws announce they’re arriving for a lengthy visit.
  • The water heater springs a leak and floods the whole first floor.
  • A storm knocks out power and Internet.
  • Your kids need you to babysit the grandkids.
  • Your grandchild threw up on the carpet.
  • Your dog threw up on the carpet.
  • You need to take your dog and/or grandchild to the vet and/or doctor.
  • You trip over the basketball-size dust bunny that rolled out from under the bed and require a trip to the ER.
Other distractions are totally within our control (even if we don’t want to admit it):
  • That little computer chime announces you have new e-mail.
  • A research rabbit trail grabs your attention and won’t let go.
  • The first warm, sunny day of the season beckons you outside to do gardening.
  • The newest version of Angry Birds just became available.
  • Your favorite author just posted a new blog.
  • You really need to see what your Facebook and Twitter friends have been up to.
  • The postman just delivered the latest Lands’ End catalog.
  • There’s an article in Romance Writers Report you can’t wait to read because you heard one of your favorite Seekers was quoted in it.
I bet you could list another twenty or thirty distractions you’ve encountered since starting Speedbo.

But what’s even more important than the distractions themselves is how you deal with them. There are two possible responses:
  1. Admit distractions are inevitable, handle them efficiently as they arise, and then get right back on track.
  2. Run screaming into the night, cursing the day you ever signed up for Speedbo because now that X has happened, you will NEVER get this book finished and you might as well go ahead and deal with Y and Z, and maybe A, B, and C as well, because your schedule is already down the tubes and it’s all hopeless anyway.
The truth is, when distractions crop up in my writing life, my response is somewhere in the middle. I often go through a “grieving period” while I dwell on the hopelessness and futility of it all. How long this period lasts is completely independent of the severity of the distraction. Anything that interrupts the flow could easily devastate my entire writing routine . . . if I let it.

I have found the only sure way out of this black hole of discouragement is to continually remind myself that distractions--all the ups and downs and craziness and frustration--means I’m alive. As long as I’m a functioning human being, engaged in the real world, living a full life, I’m going to experience distractions and interruptions.

And anyway, “real life” is where some of my best story ideas come from!

So, yes, when distractions arise, especially those that are outside our control, we often have no choice but to face them head-on. Nurse your sick child. Feed your hungry husband (or show him how to work the microwave). Take your computer to the shop. Do whatever needs to be done, accept it as part of life, and--most importantly!--file the experience away for possible use as a scene in your next book.

As for the distractions you could control, when you’re tempted by the Internet or e-mail or the latest smartphone app, maybe the best thing to do is to go ahead and spend five or ten minutes on whatever activity is calling your name. Consider it a mini-vacation to unfreeze your brain for the next round of writing. Set a timer if you need to, but then log off, unplug, close the magazine, or end the phone call, and return to your work-in-progress. I promise, it’ll still be right there waiting for you.


What’s your greatest distraction? Is it within or outside your control? What’s your best strategy for dealing with this particular distraction, and how do you get back into the writing groove?

Don’t forget, we’re giving away lots of books and critiques this month, so don’t be left out! Join the discussion to be eligible for the weekly drawings!


Today is another day of our March Speedbo. Find out more about Speedbo and our exciting weekly prizes here. Comment today for a chance to win! Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.

113 comments:

Melissa Jagears said...

Words distract me, I'll read cereal boxes or pharmaceutical inserts, etc., so the internet is a huge distraction--all the words must be read!!! Actually, I'm getting better at ignoring some things, but it's still a biggie.

And I have a paying job I've been putting off--gotta get to that.

Helen Gray said...

Those research trails/details are a biggie for me.

And the coffee pot has to be tended!
It's ready for morning.

Helen

Jan Drexler said...

Oh, those pesky distractions...

The worst distractions for me are the ones that can be prevented - like the "just one more game" comment when I'm playing solitaire, or checking the email for the 4th time in an hour...

So I set the timer, just like you suggested, Myra :)

Another big distraction for me is when my husband is home. I just want to spend time with him - so I make sure I schedule my writing time while he's at work.

The biggest thing for me this month, though, is a trip to visit family in Michigan and Indiana during the last week of March - unplanned when I made my goals for Speedbo!

I'm still trying to decide what to do about it - change my goals, change my daily routine, or try to write while we travel.

Maybe I'll do all three...

Lyndee said...

I've lost my great numbers the past few days as I played Grammy. I still wrote every day, but didn't get to the magic 2,000 words. I am still on target to finish my WIP before the end of the month. Onward and upward!

Vince said...

Hi Myra:

I am thankful that I don’t have many of the distractions you mentioned. I’ve never had a computer that would alert me with “You Got Mail” and I don’t want one either.

I try to write something that is more interesting than most of the distractions. Writing romantic comedy is very entertaining.

I learned something years ago when I was a copywriter with crazy deadlines every day. I would only lose the time from writing that the distraction actually took away. Before I learned this, I would use distractions as an excuse to ‘skate’ and not put my nose back on the grindstone for two to three times longer than the distraction actually took.

I’ll bet for many writers the ‘after the distraction’ time lost is far greater than the actual distraction time lasted.

I also know that just as there are ‘writer’s blocks’ there are also ‘writer’s breakouts’ where all of a sudden you experience a satori and find yourself unexpectedly in your writing zone. These come about only when you are writing.

I find that no matter how depressed or discouraged I might be, actually writing will usually pull me out of it. I think this is why pros always say, 'write everyday'. Doing this gives you more than just word counts – it gives you hope and enthusiasm.

One 'distraction' I’d love to experience is reading your books. Is there any chance you will write eBooks or large print books? I just can’t read the small type anymore.

Vince

Keli Gwyn said...

What an entertaining, educational, and encouraging post, Myra. I loved the part about tripping over the basketball-sized dust bunnies. That was fun, and it reminded me of one of my distractions. Since I work in my home, every time I make a trek to the kitchen to get something to eat or drink, I see all the tasks I need to tend to. I have to put blinders on, or I could get waylaid.

Helen W said...

My greatest distraction is of course, the kids. And in turn, the kids are often responsible for my next greatest distraction - my need for sleep! Just like last night, how many times did I stumble down the hallway to their bedrooms... so I had to have a nap today with them, instead of writing. But oh well. I learned a long time ago, sleep is one thing I can't skimp on too much (even though, I am strongly inclined too). Doing so causes chaos in all other facets of my life, including writing :)

I accept the reality of this phase, which is why I set myself a goal of 20K words for Speebo. Yesterday, I hit 10K! I've been surprised by how addictive progress is ... so much so, it's like, "Facebook, who?"

Ausjenny said...

Im not a writer but I do know about distractions. for my facebook is a big time stealer. I am now blocking some games I really liked but took forever to load and the new puzzle one I am going to lose the addy off.
also tv in the daytime can be a problem. I have to say I have read more the past 3 or 4 days than I have for over a month because I have turned the tv off and not on FB as much. today its hot so outside is a bit hot after awhile to read but inside is almost too cool.

Tina Pinson said...

Myra,

I have to admit, I've had a lot of distractions this time around. Both unwanted and self-perpetuated.

I have not played angry birds, never have actually. Playing with graphics and layouts are more a distractions.

I have also heard the sun call my name, and have listened more than I should. And my granddaughter is on spring break an she wants to play and dance.

Hmmm.

And can you believe it... I even went and did some backyard pooper scooping cause it was so much more stimulating than writing.

Hahahahaha

I suppose that's par for the course sometimes, the best plans always find the best reasons not to get 'er done huh?

But I have been getting some writing done in spite of it all. And some editing, and some more editing. Got two of the stories out of the way and freed up some time to write

Now to do more

blessings

Tina

Virginia said...

Heehee! Yes, all those distractions happen to me! Except for the dog barfing. No dog, therefore no dog barf.

Let's see, like Helen said, my biggest is my kids. But I plan for that, and dont' write while they're awake.

BUT they can be so needy during the day, that when they're finally sleeping, I end up zoned out on facebook. I have to unwind before I can get my head in the game. But, as with any big time suck, ten minutes becomes an hour!

I don't have grandkids but I did have our old babysitter ask me to watch ehr two year old this week. He's lovely. So calm, so mellow. But strange how just one more little toddler throws my day. I feel exhausted! Probably from making sure my children don't do him any harm. :D Mine are total animals comapared to this sweet angel.

Laura Russell said...

Well, I just tested hearts on my computer and made myself quit after completing 1/2 of a set.

HA! Thanks for the advice about setting a timer.

I don't get distracted. Instead I forget to get started- so I have a short list of things to do to keep myself on track.

Cindy W. said...

Right now my greatest distraction is my dog. He had some major surgery on Friday (tumor off chest and fatty tumor off tail) and he wants his "mommy" constantly. It's hard to type with just one hand.

Time is also a big distraction. There never seems to be enough of it.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Myra, sage words. I don't do IM's. I don't have e-mails signaled. I DVR NCIS and Castle so I can watch them without commercials... fifteen minutes saved!!!! On each!

Working full time has taught me that ten minutes here, ten minutes there can add up at the end of the day to an hour of writing, editing, marketing or e-mail catch-up time.

I need that time.

I just congratulated Erica Vetsch on FB because she sent in her April book YESTERDAY... A month early. Working ahead of the curve is huge to people with families, right? Now if something happens...

In my case, sick kid/grandkids, family emergency, etc... can mess up my timing and deadlines so if I get stuff done a couple of months early, I'm breathing easy and have time to play. I love playtime!

KC Frantzen and May the K9 Spy said...

Politics & family.
Those would be the top 2 of late.

Our county has 3 elections this year, and our group is training poll watchers. It's been great!

Cindy W - sorry about your dog. Thank you for being there to care. Our May brings her best sniffs and greetings.

Super post Myra.I love how you turned it to a positive!!! Yes! We are ALIVE and as such, we shall continue on, in spite of and through the distractions.

Interesting how our readers are also living a life with distractions... And how we writers could be part of that for them?! :)

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Oh, Myra. You may have heard "weeds are just plants growing in the wrong place." I think a lot of our distractions are great activities just at the wrong time. You have really helped put those things at wrong times in perspective. Grandkidlet care, other work related assignments, my own attention span. Sigh. Challenges.

My husband asked me why I was doing a contemporary instead of historical for Speedbo. I told him my goal was to sit down and write. If I did historical research, I would still be on the Internet and taking road trips.

Also, I discovered yesterday, when words from various assignments just overwhelmed my brain, I could go to Pinterest and pin ten PICTURES and clear my head. Setting a limit ahead of time in terms of not pinning anything involving reading and sticking to visuals kept it from becoming an issue.

Better get back to Speedbo. I do not count Seekerville as a distraction but as a warm up for the day. Well, if I come back and check comments every hour.....

Peace and happy concentrating everyone, Julie

Rose said...

I am behind and the distraction is outside of my control. I was really tired all of last week and now I know why, I'm coming down with the 'crud' that my hubby and several people I work with had.

The bright point? I do better logging word count on the weekend!

Kav said...

Distractions? You mean like reading blogs like Seekerville instead of writing? :-)

This week my biggest distraction is that I'm home all day and my house needs a major overhaul and I get the clean up, spruce up and redecorate bug every spring and it's powerfully hard to resist. I'm dealing with it by writing in 45 minute stints with 15 minutes of power cleaning inbetween them. It's actually working really well.

Now if I could just hide every book in my TBR pile...

Jeanne T said...

Myra, your post brought many smiles to my face. :) I'm wondering how many of those distractions in the first list you've actually worked through..... :)

For me, blogs and e-mails are the biggest distractions. I keep wanting to check back on them. I am learning the beauty of setting a timer for one hour and not checking them till it goes off. :) I also read blogs early in the morning so they aren't calling to me all day. :)

My kids are a big distraction too. I try to do most of my writing when they're at school or in bed. Can't get a complete thought on paper when they're around. I love talking with them and they love sharing with me. I don't want to douse that. :)

JULIE H.S., love your thought about weeds. Great activities at the wrong time. So true.

Linnette R Mullin said...

Okay. Who told on me? Hmm?

What a timely post! This just proves your ladies know what you're doing!

Last week was hubby's birthday, Winter Jam, Writer's meeting, migraine... This week it's the screaming dirty clothes and dishes, a friend who needs girl time due to serious things going on in her life, church wed. night, Garrison has a major dental thingy Thursday, my boys are off school Friday... Did I mention the evening karate schedule? Ugh!

Yeah. I'm tired. I want to crawl in a hole and ignore life so I can write. I only got in 208 words last night. I have until noon to shower, do dishes, school Garrison, and get in as much writing as I can.

So, off I go...

Janet Dean said...

Morning Myra! My distractions today are company and a cold. Love the company. The cold, not so much. No writing getting done today. Just praying I don't share.

Janet

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Myra, Loved this post.

One time (a long time ago) I had my life distraction free. dh was at work, my office was perfect, I had long periods to write. Guess what? Soon I had NOTHING to write about.

The distractions or as you call them LIFE is what gives us the grist for our stories.

A friend once told me "Thank God for your circumstances because the next ones coming could easily be worse)

Happy writing everyone and embrace those distractions.

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, MYRA, I LOVE how you deal with distractions -- definitely going to try that!!

I have to laugh when I get to the blue, guilty and overwhelmed part of writing (uh, like every day!!), Keith likes to say, "Cheer up, Julie, you're living the dream!" I try to remind myself that he's right, even when it feels like a nightmare.

My greatest distraction is e-mail, and I have found the best way to do with it is to "fast" it by limiting myself to once in the morning, at noon, 3:00 PM and then 6:00 PM. I've tried to do this on my own, but no luck. I need the accountability to God to do it, which seems to work.

Okay ... back to work ... although this blog has been a very welcome "distraction"!!

Hugs,
Julie

Myra Johnson said...

Good morning, Seekerville! It always takes me a little while to get moving in the mornings--gotta have my bowl of oatmeal and a pot of tea and get my brain cranking with a crossword puzzle or two. Sorry, can't compete with you early birds!

Like . . . MELISSA! Cereal boxes. Really??? But you can't ignore your paying job, even for Speedbo!

HELEN, I know what you mean about those research trails. Click on one Web site link and then another and another and another . . .

Joanne Sher said...

The facebook vortex. Reading blogs. Hubby's "background noise". My wandering brain.

Yup :)
Great post, Myra!

Myra Johnson said...

JAN, I'm with you on the "just one more game" thing. But one thing I DON'T do is play games on my computer. I save those for the smartphone and usually in the evenings during TV commercials or rerun season.

As for writing only when hubby isn't home...not an option for me since mine is semi-retired and home most of the time!!! Years ago I had to set firm boundaries, and he finally learned to (mostly) respect them.

Myra Johnson said...

LYNDEE, we all need that regular "grammy time"--at least those of us with grandkids. I've got 3 just 5 minutes away, and this is spring break week. Guess where we'll be investing some time this week!

VINCE said: "I’ll bet for many writers the ‘after the distraction’ time lost is far greater than the actual distraction time lasted." Oh, yeah. So true!!!! And that's the real problem with distractions because they're so hard to recover from.

And thanks for your sweet words about my books! Rumor has it that several Heartsong Presents titles are already being re-released as e-books. I hope mine will be soon.

Myra Johnson said...

KELI, blinders can be a very good investment for a writer! (Just not when you're trolling for story ideas!) My best defense is to schedule certain hours of the day or days of the week strictly for those chores I can't ignore. Then I can settle down to write with a clear (almost, anyway) conscience.

HELEN W, congratulations on reaching the 10K mark! That is quite an accomplishment! I'm with you, though--gotta have my sleep or I am useless. Also, that's an invitation for every latent germ to wake up and attack.

Myra Johnson said...

AUSJENNY, I had to opt out of those Facebook games early on. I now even delete other people's game updates from my timeline. And the TV stays off (unless my hubby turns it on while he's kicking back) from about 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Oh, TINA P, you have hit on some of my favorite distractions! Well, not the poop scooping, but that is definitely on my must-do list. Glad you are freeing up some writing time despite the distractions!

Myra Johnson said...

VIRGINIA, yes, kids can be very needy. But they grow up so much faster than we expect, and pretty soon . . . they're grown up with kids of their own. Our big distraction this year has been our new baby granddaughter, who will soon celebrate her first birthday! But when we babysit her, NOTHING else gets done!!!

LAURA, forgetting to get started??? Okay, I think I can relate to that. Lists can be very good things, that's true! I also like computer and smartphone reminders to keep me on track. Like . . . family birthdays that would go by completely unnoticed otherwise.

Myra Johnson said...

CINDY W, we do love our doggies, don't we? My two are usually well behaved and snooze next to my chair or just outside my office door. But they also seem to be able to tell time. Usually sometime around noon and again at around six, they start nudging my arm. Hope your doggy recovers quickly from the surgeries!

RUTHY, you (and Erica) make a good point. Get the work done early so you're not sweating it at the last minute in case emergencies crop up. You just never know!

Myra Johnson said...

KC, you presented a very interesting take on the subject of distractions. WE are the distractions in the lives of our readers! Well, sure! That's what we writers all long for, right?

But, um, don't get me started on this election year. I can't wait for all the sniping to be over!

JULIE H S, I know what you mean about historical research! The next project I need to get started on is a historical, and I already know I'll be chasing down info right and left!

As for Pinterest, that "bug" hasn't bitten me yet. However, I have started using Evernote more and more to collect notes and ideas. It's pretty handy and syncs with my smartphone!

Myra Johnson said...

ROSE, so sorry you're catching the crud! There's been a lot of that going on this winter. Maybe spring will clear it on out. Of course, then we have to deal with allergies.

KAV, it sounds like you have a good system going there! Keep it up! I'm sitting at my desk upstairs and can look out at my backyard and see all the yard work that needs to be done. So I just avert my gaze and try not to think about it. ;>D

Lyndee said...

Vince, Large print is the reason why I got a Kindle! I have adjusted the font size to 'gian' (that's what my kids call it, but they have 30 year old eyes,lol). I know it's not helpful when the book isn't an ebook, but I don't lack for things to read. There are plenty of choices out there. :)

Lyndee said...

Correction- adjusted the font to 'giant' - Didn't want anyone to be searching for 'gian' on their e-reader, lol.

Myra Johnson said...

JEANNE T, you have the right idea. We can't squander the time with our kids (or our grandkids). When my girls were young, I wrote while they were at school--and not at all in the summers!

LINNETTE, you most definitely have a lot going on in your life right now! Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, because people are more important than books.

Myra Johnson said...

JANET, so sorry you haven't been feeling well! That is such a downer. And we are perfectly happy for you to keep your germs to yourself. Hope you feel better soon!

SANDRA, you get it! If we weren't living life fully, we'd have nothing to write about!

JULIE, "living the dream"--yeah, I have to remind myself of that more and more lately. And e-mail is definitely one of my big distractions. I see that little counter thingy on my menu bar icon and just have to go check. But I try to wait until I finish writing or editing a scene and not jump out in the middle of a thought.

Myra Johnson said...

JOANNE, I love it--the "Facebook vortex"! And hubby's background noise? All over that one!!!

LYNDEE, I'm reading more and more on my Kindle. What bugs me sometimes is the font size seems to change at random. I think it must be a glitch in the individual book formatting.

Mary Connealy said...

I can blow so much time online, email, reading blogs I enjoy. I'm not into facebook so much. I go there everyday to accept new friend requests but rarely read what's on my page unless it's right at the top. I don't know what I'm doing there. :( Maybe best not to learn.

Missy Tippens said...

LOL, Myra! I love the dog/kid throw-up distraction. :)

I actually had a sick kid all weekend. And of course it fell when they had a 4-day weekend. But today he's feeling better and they're both back to school. So I should be diving in, not reading blogs! :)

Better go...

Missy Tippens said...

Helen W., that's great!! Good for you!

Okay, and now I really am getting off the Internet...

:)

Myra Johnson said...

MARY, I have had to scale back my social networking time considerably over the past several months. I'm sure I'm missing out on LOTS of not-to-be-missed news (and plenty that definitely SHOULD be missed), but that's the breaks. But every few days I do play catch-up and zip through the updates in search of gems.

Also, it seems Facebook is becoming the best way to keep tabs on my kids and their families. Go figure.

MISSY, sorry about your sick kid. You're such a good mom nursing him back to health! And doesn't it just drive you crazy when these things happen over a long weekend when we should all be out having fun???

Vince said...

Speedbo Report

Completed:
Chapter 11 (1447 words)
The “Impossible Dream”: A Scientific Index for Recording Rewards Per Page

On Schedule to Finish First Draft of RPP by the 15th – Even did a little work getting ready for my second draft of “Stranded in a Cabin With A Romance Author” which is project II for Speedbo. It’s 55,000 words.

Keep on Keeping on!

Myra Johnson said...

VINCE--Stranded in a Cabin with a Romance Author???

Oh my.

Don't leave us hanging. Tell us more!

Vince said...

Hi Lyndee:

I know what you mean. I bought a Sony eReader as soon as it came out. But it will make the type only 12 point and some books are not even that big. It is pretty much useless. I really have to read Sony eBooks on my computer.

I bought an early Kindle and the type can be made bigger than I need so there is added capacity for the future.

I told my wife, if I had to, I’d pay $1,000 for a Kindle just to get the larger type.

It is frustration to not be able to read small type. I tried to read, Mary’s “The Bossy Bridegroom” but I couldn’t read more than the first chapter. So I bought the same book in the trade size paperback in the trilogy, “Black Hills Blessing” but the type seemed actually smaller because while the paperback was larger, they had to fit three novels into it.

I think the last small print paperback I tried to read but couldn’t was Myra’s “WHERE THE DOGWOODS BLOOM”.

I do hope more books will come out as eBooks – especially Kindle.

Vince

Linnette R Mullin said...

Thanks, Myra! :)

Carol Moncado said...

Let's see... Seekerville can't be a distraction can it?

Last month my distraction was the whole cancer/extra hole in the nose/narcotics thing. But it turned into the thing my h/h go through together before I rip them apart so it's all good ;).

This weekend it was contest entries [FFL - thanks Tina ;)]. Today it was chatting with a coworker between classes. Tonight...

Well, does NCIS count as a distraction?

Seriously, once I make myself sit down and DO IT, I can get the words to come. It's the sitting down part that's the worst...

Of coruse, the "I wanna take a nap" thing left from springing forward [and being up literally all night that night - bed at 5am] could be distracting too... ;)

Susan Anne Mason said...

Great topic, Myra! We can all relate!

Like everyone else my biggest distractions are email and blogs. So addictive. I also got distracted making a picture story board of the book I'm working on, but it definitely helps to have lovely faces to look at for inspiration while I'm writing!

My mother in law arrived last night so we'll see how much writing I get done this week!

Cheers,
Sue

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

My greatest distraction is seekerville! Just kidding LOL! Honestly this time of year it's the desire to go outside for a walk..or a nap in the sunshine. :-)

Work distracts me - The Wordsmith Journal Magazine, calling bookstores and libraries to inform them about my titles, interviews, blog posts and other promotional efforts, etc.

But I'm happy to say scheduling weekends to write seems to have worked so far and I'm looking forward to this one coming up!

God's Blessings Seekers!
PamT

PatriciaW said...

My greatest distraction is a good book. Love reading but have to reduce the time spent in order to write.

Then there's that paying job, like Melissa said.

And of course, the kids. Not so much that they want or need anything, but them using my laptop for homework or games. Have to remind myself I can either put them on a strict schedule or write using some other tools.

Vince said...

Hi Myra:

The best thing to know about. “Stranded in a Cabin With a Romance Writer,” (the title might also be; “The Captain Stranded in a Cabin With a Romance Writer”) is that Mary liked the idea. She gave me an elevator pitch and then she went on to listen for more than a half hour! (She either liked it or she’s a saint.: ))

When I lost the first 20,500 words in a computer glitch, Mary encouraged me to just get back on the horse and start all over again. She though it would be better the second time written anyway. And it was better because I only remembered the really good stuff the second time adding more good stuff to flesh it out.

The story is a meta-romance. It’s self-reflexive in that it is a romance that is fully aware of the romance genre and its needs.

The hero is a captain in the Army who is upset he did not make Major and is thinking of getting out of the Army. His sister writes Military romances (like Debby Giusti). Of course, he acts as his sister’s CP and is now an expert on the needs of the romance. He is back in the states on 30 days leave and is header for a mountain cabin, provided by his sister’s agent, to edit her newest military romance (and think about changing his life and career).

The heroine is a burned out romance writer who is having more and more trouble meeting her deadlines. She was also sent to the cabin to spend a week doing nothing but writing on her WIP. She was sent by her agent’s wife.

Of course, they show up at the cabin after a flash flood takes out the only bridge to the cabin. They can’t leave until the county fixes the bridge.

Since they have to share the cabin and since they suspect that the agent and his wife were matchmaking, they negotiate fifteen ‘rules of engagement’ for their stay.

He has to promise not to cut firewood without a shirt on. She promised not to get up in the middle of the night for a drink, when she knows he’s already up, and accidentally bump into him causing him to hold her tight so she does not fall down.

In essence, since they both know everything that usually happens in a “stranded” theme romance -- to make the couple fall in love -- they have outlawed all such behavior. The problem is: once they do that, how do you get them to fall in love? (They keep finding very clever loopholes in the rules!)

And the Captain is so dangerous! A real hero. Big, brave, strong, handsome. He keeps telling her that they need to obey the rules because she’s just the kind of woman he could fall hopelessly in love with and spend the rest of his life trying to make happy. He’s just knows she’d make a great wife and mother. He knows every button to push. He’s terrible. He even writes her first name down on scrap paper giving her his last name. Terrible!)


How’s that for conflict? Is that TMI?

You’re so kind to ask.

Vince

Myra Johnson said...

CAROL, you crack me up!!! Um, no. NCIS is not a distraction. It's a necessity. We HAVE to see what mischief Tony and Ziva are getting into every week!

SUE, isn't it fun to find pictures to represent our story characters and settings? I can spend hours and hours cruising the Internet looking for just the right images! Have fun with your mil!

Myra Johnson said...

PAMELA, scheduling writing time is an absolute must! It really works best when we treat writing like a business appointment or a job we have to clock in and out of.

PATRICIA, sharing the computer with your kids must be tough! Yes, definitely set up a usage schedule and enforce it!

Myra Johnson said...

VINCE!!!! Wow, what a story! You had me at "don't chop firewood shirtless"!

Well, if Mary likes the idea, it HAS to be good, right? What fun! Bummer about the computer glitch and losing all those words, but glad you got back on track.

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Right now my biggest distraction is my book release! Seriously, I thought I was just going to coast through this month, but nope, it's super busy! Just a heads up for any other upcoming authors :) Book release month and those immediately leading up to it are tremendously busy! But, did I mention fun! :)

Good luck with your writing everyone!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Myra! I've been sooooo distracted, since mid-January! But I've been writing some anyway. In fact, I finished the first draft of my Cinderella story last night! yay!

I really do need to stop checking email and facebook so much. I could get a lot more done, I think. ;-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Congratulations, Eva Maria!!! On your first novel release! It IS fun, but oh so much work. But fun. Really fun. ;-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

And go, go, Speedbo! So proud of all you wordologists getting in all those words!!!
(That's what happens when you hang out with teenagers. We made up words. Since -ologist means a person who studies, then if you write books, you're a wordologist. Or something like that. Anyway, it sounds better than storyologist or novelologist.)

But before I got distracted by my own thoughts, I was saying, Go, Go Speedbo!!! Keep up the good work, everybody!!!

I think my new goal for the month is to write a new two-book proposal and three chapters. :-)

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Thanks Melanie, you're so right! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Life does seem to get in the way of writing. Why is that?

Grocery shopping, cooking, washing clothes, folding clothes, paying bills...yikes, we have so many MUST DO chores each day that often there seems little time for writing.

Perhaps I'm just slow.

That's the problem, no doubt.

The timer's set...I'm heading back to my WIP and promise to write for an hour. 1h/1k! Or is it 1k/1h? Either way, I'll be working.

Myra Johnson said...

EVA MARIA, I hate to tell you this, but your "fun" has only just begun! Once you get that first book published, the pressure hardly ever lets up. You're either busy producing the next book or promoting the one that's out or soon to release. Remember, as Julie keeps reminding us, we're "living the dream"!

MELANIE, congrats on finishing your Cinderella story! I know it'll be another fascinating book!

Helen Gray said...

I have to agree about NCIS being a necessity rather than a distraction.

Another thing I've allowed to take up a chunk of my time is tax returns. I did three last week, for my sister and both my sons. Yesterday I started ours, but didn't get finished.

Myra Johnson said...

DEBBY, you go, girl! Somebody is actually getting some writing done today!

As opposed to . . . moi.

A few minutes ago I did turn in the manuscript for the next book in my Heartsong Presents "Horsemen" series. Also got a sneak peak at the cover of book 2 yesterday--it's gorgeous!

Now I MUST get busy on my next book--so excited about that one! (Watch the WE for an announcement!)

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

Oh, Myra, you caught me. Yup, SpeedBo hasn't been going so great. Just at 4,000 words.

Some of the distractions can't be helped, like getting sick the first week of SpeedBo, and then having two co-workers quit and a third one die (seriously!) in this past week. The workload has been, shall we say, not the easiest.

And I can relate to Julie H.S., who mentioned writing a contemporary, instead of a historical. Yep, guilty of that, too. My SpeedBo was going to be a WWII story, but I realize there are too many rabbit trails to follow for me to just pound it out!

Myra Johnson said...

Oh, tax returns!!! HELEN, you just had to mention the T-word! We sent ours in several days ago, finally. It was extra-complicated since we moved to a different state last year. State taxes had to be prorated by the # of months we lived in each state.

But...we are getting a small federal refund, which will about cover the state tax we owe--whew!

Myra Johnson said...

STEPHANIE, it sounds like you've really been put through the wringer this month! So very sorry about the death of your coworker, and also the other two leaving--and leaving you in a bind.

But 4K is nothing to sneeze at! Consider it a good start and just keep plugging away as you are able.

Jan Drexler said...

I agree about NCIS - not a distraction at all. Call it...research!

Yeah, that's right, research!

And I fold my laundry while I watch it, so two birds with one stone!

Trying to get a short story cranked out while I take a short breather from my WIP - 2000 words, different genre/time period/characters from my WIP, and my goal is to finish the first draft today.

Now THAT'S a good distraction, isn't it?

Jamie Adams said...

Great post Myra!

I can't blame it in the internet today (most day, but not today) All three kids had to have cavities filled.

I know, Carol said to take the laptop to the dr's but the battery was low. Next time I'll plan better. I did do some plotting while I waited.

One of the girls decided (after they had her numbed) that she had better things to do. She takes after me. Both times I was in a delivery room I told the dr I changed my mind and I was going home. Too late...

What a day,now to see if I can get any words in.

Jamie Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Myra Johnson said...

JAN, how great that you're finishing up that short story! Switching genres/ms. lengths can be a good way to let the brain cells refresh.

JAMIE, sounds like a fun, fun day at the dentist! I often use wait time at the doctor's office to just let my mind wander and do some brainstorming. When else can you sit and do nothing and get away with it?

Myra Johnson said...

Must step out for a bit. Errands and grandkids are calling. Back soon!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Vince, that idea has taken on a life of its own! You are just the person to write that story, my friend! And I love that Rewards Per Page is moving along...

Of course Seekerville is a distraction, but we're a good one! A Get Your Boots On and Get Moving distraction because we so totally get it.

All of it.

And I'm with Myra, I don't do fb games. Any games. Well, none I'll discuss. ;)

But I love getting on and chatting it up with you guys. That makes my day. Because if we're in a stew pot together, I can think of a better bunch of vegetables than all o' youse!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

NCIS is a necessity. No discussion needed. :)

But the DVR version lets me kill commercials. I love the DVR. I think it pays for itself in how much time it saves me so that if something important is on (a special on Hoarders the other night) I can record it and check it out when I've got time feeding a baby or something.

I love that device!

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

lol Myra, I'll remember that :) And let's hope the 'fun' keeps up! :)

Myra Johnson said...

Oooh, RUTHY, can I be a Brussels sprout??? Or maybe an artichoke???

Yep, DVRs are a necessity. We hardly ever watch anything live anymore, unless it's some sports event Jack is watching. Who has time for mindless ads? And have you noticed how STUPID so many commercials have become? They PAY people to come up with this stuff???

kpwriting.com said...

One 'distraction' I’d love to experience is reading your books. Is there any chance you will write eBooks or large print books? I just can’t read the small type anymore.

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Got hit with a migraine so what have I done with my day? I have cleared all the distractions and obligations that do not require creative thought. I still had writing assignments but at least they were for my WIP.

Stephanie, I send my condolences.

May tomorrow be a brighter day for many of us.

I am going to go back in my dark corner and pretend I have one of Ruthy's doodle puppies in my arms.

Peace, Julie

Debby Giusti said...

kpwriting...

Most of the Love Inspired books are published in large-print. Also they're put out as e-books, which you can read on your computer and enlarge the font. Kindle allows you to increase the font as well.

Just stopping in to say hello!

Now back to my WIP!

Myra Johnson said...

KPWRITING, many of the Seekers' books are now available in e-book format. Just check at Amazon.com and other major e-book retail outlets.

The Seekers who write for Love Inspired can also probably tell you about their large-print editions.

Thanks for asking!

Myra Johnson said...

JULIE H S, so sorry about the migraine! Those can ruin the best laid plans. Hope it goes away quickly!

DEBBY, I didn't see your response about the large-print books before typing my response. Thanks for chiming in!

Vince said...

Hi Ruth:

Seekerville visits are like celery to diets—it takes more energy to eat celery than the calories it contains. Seekerville delivers more word producing motivation than the time it costs in lost words as a distraction. And that's science!

Thanks for the kind words on my books. I hope to have a nice 2nd draft of “Stranded” by the end of the month. Then it will be ready to be layered.

I appreciate the help of the Seekers. I’ve already told my wife that RPP will be dedicated to the Seekers and “Stranded” will be dedicated to Mary. She’s just going to have to wait for my 120,000 word “Characters in a Romance”. : )

Vince

IDEA Give your hero or heroine a vanity license plate that says ‘chapters’ about him or her. This should be before the h/h meet if possible.

Jodi Janz said...

I have to admit I had a few uncontrollable distractions, a few controllable ones and probably the biggest problem for me has been I'm stuck!! This is the first time I've really had this problem before. Usually I know where I am going and it just takes time and typing to get there. Finally in a display of frustration(I would not describe here) I finally skipped two chapters and started there. Phew! What a relief to be writing again. Now if I could just get rid of the other distractions!!

Thanks for all the encouragement. I could not do this alone.

Jodi(dot)janz(at)gmail(dot)com

Whitney said...

A lot of things distract me-- Seekerville, evening television (you have to remember we just got cable a few months ago after not having ANY for 9+ years), cooking because I try to make healthy stuff (it takes a lot longer than a frozen pizza!), the day job, extra errands, and finally... stress. Ugh. I think stress is my number one distraction. All I want to do is... eat. Stress and the indecisiveness about what to write next in my story for fear it'll be the WRONG thing. You know... that wrong turn that leaves your story lonelier than an old west ghost town, stealing that zest you once had for it. Is that a totally unique fear to me, or do other people sympathize?

Whitney

Whitney said...

JODI, I’m sort of going through the same thing. I have two or three chapters that need revised due to an unlikely event. To fix it, I’ll have to rework the whole time frame in those chapters, stretching out a few days to a few weeks. Sound like it’s not a big deal, but I have to change some motives to explain characters’ whereabouts or extended stays at this stranger’s house… this makes no sense to anyone but me, but I feel your pain!

I keep thinking, “Write on. Go back to those chapters later." But I don’t know if I can. Some revisions can wait through a crappy first draft, whereas others are just too big a deal. Aren't they?

Whitney

Nancy C said...

Yippy! 4469 words today! Joy, bliss, excitement.

Distractions. Life, as you said, Myra. The things that can't -- and shouldn't -- be ignored. The other big distraction is research for my historicals. I'm beginning to think I know more about life in the 1880s than I do about our times.

When I find a distraction I can control, I throttle it. I don't have email set to let me know I have mail. I don't do any of the social media, which may need to change at some point in the (someday) writing career -- although I'm hearing mixed advice on social media. I save most blog reading for the weekend or evenings, present company excepted. I have an answering machine on the phone.

I'm realizing as I write this that I'm inching toward being a recluse.

By the same token, some distractions are great. I have what I call a 'mental health' day or afternoon each week. Meet a friend for lunch, sit on the porch with the cats, go to the museums, luxuriate in all those books in the library, go on a baking spree, indulge in long catch-up phone calls, dig some more on the south wash (long story), whatever. I come back to the writing sooo refreshed.

Thanks for reminding me I'm not the only one balancing life/distractions and writing.

Nancy C

Nancy C said...

>>Quote Whitney: I keep thinking, “Write on. Go back to those chapters later." But I don’t know if I can. Some revisions can wait through a crappy first draft, whereas others are just too big a deal. Aren't they?<<

Sometimes I have to go back and fill the potholes so I don't keep seeing them in my rearview mirror :-)

Nancy C

Rebecca said...

Sunshine distracts me. :-)
Actually, since I see it so rarely (interior office at work), it is such a pleasant distraction that I tend to linger when I catch a glimpse of it. That might be a symptom of spring fever. Hmmm...

But I am making progress thanks to support from everyone here at Speedbo. Keep writing!

Jamie Adams said...

I saw this on twitter today.

"Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the internet." Anonymous

I still have not written today. Dear daughter that didn't want to cooperate at the dentist came home, ate lunch and then lets say 'lost her lunch'

I spent the afternoon in the doctor's waiting room... again without my laptop.

It was just me and my not sick looking or acting little girl. We sat there an hour. No one came in or left. An hour! Finally the nurse came and apologized they'd had an emergency. Daughter is fine and I'm going to turn the internet off and write.

Myra Johnson said...

JODI, I think that was a good move. If you're stuck in one spot, just skip to a scene you feel ready to write. You can always come back later and fill in the transitional scenes.

WHITNEY, stress can be a real writing zapper! It's all those things we know need to be taken care of but for whatever reason we can't get to right now that can eat us alive with worry or frustration.

As for those "unlikely events" that seem to materialize in a first draft, sometimes they can really bring a flat story to life again. Yes, you usually have to go back and layer in some new or changed motivation, but it just might be worth it!

Myra Johnson said...

NANCY, super word count today--congrats!!! I could easily be a recluse, myself. Once when my hubby was away on business, I went an entire week without leaving the house. Loved every minute of it--and got a lot of writing done!

On the other hand, meeting a friend for lunch--especially a writing buddy--can freshen your outlook tremendously!

And your advice to Whitney is exactly what I have to do sometimes. If the story changes too much because of a "surprise" development, I don't feel good about moving forward until I go back and make sure everything in previous scenes lines up with the change.

Myra Johnson said...

REBECCA, we had such a gorgeous sunny, warm day today that I had a hard time staying close to the computer! The kids came over for supper tonight, and it was nice enough to eat in the screen porch! First time we could do that since last fall. Delightful!

Myra Johnson said...

Well, it's after 8 p.m. here on the East Coast, so I may not get back online again tonight. Can't ignore hubby too much longer. I'll check back in the morning for any latecomers.

In the meantime, keep writing, Speedbo-ers! You're doing great!

Myra Johnson said...

Oh, I just saw JAMIE'S comment as I was about to sign off. So sorry about your daughter needing a trip to the doctor's office! Glad she's okay and you can think about writing now that the day is just about gone.

As for me . . . I'm already in my jammies and ready to unwind!

'Night, all!

MaryC said...

Jumping in to say a quick hi and thank you to Myra for the great post.

In the middle of two #1k1hr sessions so WILL.NOT.LET.SEEKERVILLE.DISTRACT.ME.

At least not til later.

Thanks, Myra.

Annie Rains said...

Biggest distractions: housework, the day job (if only there were no such things as bills), emailing,and of course my little boys. Seekerville is definitely not a distraction though. It's my motivation.

Carol Moncado said...

Helen - I need to finish my taxes. Ugh.

Good to know NCIS is a necessity. Makes me feel so much better.

Ruthy - my FIL got us a TIVO for DH's master's graduation. We had no idea what it was but FIL buys good gifts so we figured, what the hey? We haven't watched 'LIVE' tv very often since ;).

No writing today or yesterday. I did get through 50 pages that needed editing and need to go through crits on another 50 pages for FFL subs [thanks again, Tina]. If I can get that done tonight [please, God!] then I'll hopefully spend a chunk of tomorrow writing. In between taking kids outside cuz it'll be gorgeous and they're on Spring Break.

That said, I figured out how many days I have left, how many Paneras I have planned and how many words I need where and I'm thinking I can do it. Off to edits, then, if it's early enough - 2K.

Sherrinda said...

Everything distracts me, and I hate that about myself. Seriously, email, FB, blogs, tv, netflix...you name it, and it can be a distraction.

What is so funny is that once I start writing, I am INTO the zone. I can write for quite awhile. It is the getting started that gets me.

Cara Lynn James said...

Sorry I'm so late. Family is my biggest distraction right now, but I have to admit the internet is a close second. I can control the internet, but I'm not doing a great job! Bad me.

Linnette R Mullin said...

SpeedBo update:

Even with my distraction today, I managed 1,647 words today. Still short on my daily goal, but I'm close!

Jackie said...

Greatest distractions are family issues. 2012 has not been the healthiest year for my family.
Hopefully, we'll get better, and we've definitely got a lot to thank God for. So, I'm not complaining and trying to adjust my goals to be reasonable for this phase of my life.
Jackie

careann said...

I always say I'm just going to check my three favourite blogs first, THEN I'll get to work. I start with Seekerville, and get reading all the comments until I realize how long I've been online! Too long!

I've been away from home since last Thursday and trying to fit in my writing and revising between visiting friends and family has been a challenge. I'm definitely not getting as much done as I should, but fifteen minutes here and fifteen minutes there are allowing me some progress toward my Speedbo goals.

Hope everyone else has been having a productive week.

Nancy Kimball said...

So late to the party but because I had a BIG day for me. 2,820 words! I'm now at 9,739 of my 30K goal (32%) so still behind but took a big bite out today and hoping to repeat tomorrow. My meter is starting to look pretty good. I've had all kinds of work and life happening but I REFUSE to adjust my goal. I failed NaNoWriMo last year, and I failed one of two NovelTrack goals this year.
I must make this one.

CatMom said...

Yikes!! I'm arriving "fashionably late" (as in wearing pajamas now, LOL) tonight, but really enjoyed your post, Myra. ~ I guess the phone is my biggest distraction. I can ignore the numerous telemarketing calls, but if it's a family member or close friend I feel that I must answer the call. ~ I read (somewhere?) a while back that it's a good idea to let family/close friends know ahead of time when your WRITING TIME will be, so they won't call unless it's a dire emergency. Maybe that's what I need to try...Or, if I could just train my cats to take the calls for me that would be a purr-fect solution, LOL. ~ Thanks for sharing today! Blessings, Patti Jo :)

Janet Kerr said...

This is true. There are so many...many ...dis...trac...tions.......

Debra E. Marvin said...

My little distractions came to the house yesterday and left devastation, play doh and a dirty diaper behind...

but it was great.

Nothing has helped my word count like a real 1k1hr. Then I REFUSE to check email or FB or even get a cup of coffee until the hour is done.

thanks CAROL MONCADO!

marybelle said...

I have trouble with distractions & I don't write.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Myra Johnson said...

MARY C, glad you could pop in last night! Hope your #1k1hr sessions were successful!

ANNIE, believe me, I understand how little boys can be distractions! Every time my 4 grandsons are all together under my roof--forget about writing!

CAROL, good work on the edits! Our grandkids are on spring break, too, so this has NOT been a very productive week for me.

Myra Johnson said...

SHERRINDA, getting started can be the hardest part for many of us. But don't you just love it when you finally do and you're in the zone?

CARA, join the club! What would modern-day writers do without the Internet and all that info right at our fingertips? And yet . . . how easy it is to let it distract us!

Myra Johnson said...

LINNETTE!!! YAY on the Speedbo progress!!!

JACKIE, health concerns can be major life interruptions! Praying your family's will soon be under control.

CAREANN, I see you're one of those fortunate writers who can actually be productive in short bursts of time. I wish I had that gift!

Myra Johnson said...

NANCY, what a great Speedbo day for you! And BTW, you can't "fail" Speedbo. Or NaNoWriMo either. Progress is progress! Don't think of falling short of your goal as failure, but as getting that much closer than you would have been if you hadn't tried at all!

PATTI JO, if you have any success training your cats to answer the phone, you'll be the next multi-billionaire! Caller ID is worth every penny it costs--and now we even get it in a little window on our TV screen!

Myra Johnson said...

JANET K, glad you made it by. And . . . um . . . the time stamp says 2:05 AM??? Really?????

DEBRA, I haven't done an "official" 1H1K recently, but it sure can be a good motivator! And we had some Play Doh at our house last night, too.

MARYBELLE, distractions don't play favorites. Whatever you're working on, I hope you find away to defeat the distractions in your life. Thanks for stopping in!

Cindy Regnier said...

Distractions - like going to work for nine hours a day and requiring sleep besides? Yes, I get that.
Usually best just to give in to those two:)

Nancy Kimball said...

thanks Myra =)

Anonymous said...

Sleep. Ah, sleep.

LOL, got to fit that in there somewhere, Cindy!

Tina Radcliffe