Wednesday, April 4, 2012

d is for distractions

Back in the days when my priorities were still rather skewed, writing was at the bottom of my “top ten” list of things to accomplish every day.

Ahead of writing...developing a plot and dreaming up characters and searching for just the right word...were so many DISTRACTIONS:

--keeping the house from imploding
--getting meals on the table
--staying ahead of the laundry
--maintaining the flower beds
--running to the bank, grocery store, post-office, dry cleaner, etc., etc.
--keeping dirty dishes from overflowing the sink
--getting a little exercise
--staying in touch with family and friends

...all of which are honorable and necessary expressions of a civilized life, but really…how much can one person do—and do well—in one day? And notice that indulgences such as enjoying a manicure or massage, meeting with friends for lunch, and slowing down long enough for an afternoon nap are nowhere on the list...

...a sure sign that things need to change.

I have learned that many of the little self-imposed tasks and obligations, the DISTRACTIONS that we take such pride in, can be organized and dispatched in a heartbeat. I know now that before we tend to anything else, we must, first of all, write…or paint or compose or whatever it is we do to free the soul, to sustain momentum, to nourish and energize ourselves, to satisfy and fulfill our longings. In other words, to be CREATIVE and connected and fulfilled.

Instead of barreling through the day at time-warp speed in order to earn ourselves a few free minutes before we collapse into bed at night…we must learn to celebrate the virtues of idleness, day-dreaming, playfulness, silence, solitude, and rest. As the mind wanders, so does the imagination. And out of the imagination, who knows what will emerge?

"We are traditionally rather proud of ourselves
for having slipped creative work in there
between the domestic chores and obligations.
I'm not sure we deserve such big A-pluses for that."
--Toni Morrison--
In my next post, I’ll share ten ways to know if you have what it takes to become a writer…or an artist, composer, dancer, singer or actor.


  1. I think sometimes I actually LOOK for distractions...shame on me.

  2. Such a great post. And I couldn't agree more. Sometimes its when I'm just daydreaming as I do some menial chose that I come up with my best story ideas.
    Happy A-Z blogging!

  3. distractions certainly are everywhere, but daydreaming can be a great source of story ideas.
    great a-z post!

  4. I have found creativity in blogging. My blog is a mixture of pictures and stories from this desert canyon where we have retired. Just bringing the camera everywhere has changed my life. I see things in nature that I never saw before and that has become my creativity in my retirement years. I'm signing up to follow your blog, I feel a connection here.

  5. I let all those things on your list distract me. This early spring has the weeds really trying to take over the flower beds.