Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Confessions of a Hopaholic

So I saw the movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic, the other day and I could so relate. Not to the shopping part (although, don't get me wrong - I LOVE shopping and especially a great bargain!), but to the "aholic" part.

I have an addictive personality. Years ago, it was cigarettes, parties, burritos, The Love Boat and ice cream. These days, it's the computer, coffee, reality TV, coloring my hair, and ice cream. They really need to come up with support groups for these things.

Now, about the title of this blog post. You may think the HOP refers to my tendency to character-head-hop. But that's not it. I pretty much have a grasp on that principle. No, my confession is about my slight addiction to distractions. Ok, I don't have A.D.D. In fact, I'm not a hyper person at all. Most people would describe me as laid-back. But even though I'm physically calm, mentally, I hop around like a bunny on steroids.

This addiction gets in the way of my writing. I'll be in the middle of a great scene and the thought "email" will pop into my head. Oh...gotta go check that e-mail!

Scene interrupted.

I'll be brainstorming away for twenty minutes straight, and out of the corner of my eye, I'll see dust particles dancing in the beam of sunlight. Oh...gotta go get the Pledge.

Creativity interrupted.

I'll be concentrating on editing a chapter that includes a character's birthday and I'll think, "Oops...forgot to mail so-and-so's birthday card. I'd better do that now."

Productivity interrupted.

I'm working hard on one manuscript and something triggers the thought of another manuscipt I've got going. Oh...think I'll dig that one out instead.

Focus interrupted.

Get what I'm talking about? This is why it takes me so long to finish a manuscript (about 4 years to finish my first!).

Maybe you struggle with the same thing. Please tell me you do and that I'm not the only Hopaholic Writer. But here's what I'm after: ADVICE.

How do you keep your focus? How do you prevent yourself from flitting around from one thing to another? How do you get stuff done?

You know, I'm thinking there needs to be a support group for Hopaholics. But then, that would just be one more thing to bounce to and distract us from our writing.

Oh...gotta go. Gotta check my email.


Dara said...

I suffer from the same thing. Honestly, I'm so close to typing "the end" for this first draft but everything else gets in the way from me achieving that. I'll start writing and then I end up browsing the AW forums or the FW forums, blogging, checking out Facebook...and by that time, the puppy is sitting at my feet, looking at me and whining because he needs to go out. Then I come in and I'm sidetracked by something else (a large pile of laundry that needs put away or dishes that need to be washed).

For me, the only way I can stay focused is if I plan a good two or three days ahead of time and say "I'm devoting my time to writing." That way I can gear up for it and prepare myself mentally, as well as getting other odd things out of the way so I can focus on that. I've only been able to do this once, but when I did I managed to crank out a little over 5K in an afternoon. I need to try and do that again, only I don't have a free weekend the rest of March...so I'll probably have to tell myself to focus on doing that during the week.

That's the only advice I have and the only thing that seemed to work for me. For some reason, that's how I am able to focus.

ladystorm said...

I get distracted easily too.

Nicole O'Dell said...

Oh man, I'm the same way! The ONLY thing that keeps me focused is a deadline.

Another thing that helps is to put something in my facebook status like: "Nicole is writing and will not be distracted!" It's like an accountability thing. I know that my friends will call me on it if I send an email, comment on a blog or write on a Facebook wall during that time.