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What are your top three distractions and how do you deal with them?
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Distractions aren’t just excuses for not getting work done. They’re very real obstacles. Every writer, or would be writer, usually faces a barrage of these that derail their project—daily. I don’t look down upon the person who tells me they’ve always wanted to write a book, and I do not look down upon the person who gives up on writing again, or the scheduling writer, or the pantsing-it writer. We all face different hurdles to the goal of writing, and we each come with our personal capacity to meet those goals.
A great many things can happen to stop a project from ever being started, or from preventing another project to get underway. My natural desire to procrastinate has been a usual suspect. In more recent years, I have not had to deal with it because I have plenty to get in my way. So what are my top three?
- I have a toddler.
- I am a single mother.
- I have a dog.
The first really needs no explanation, because most people understand the amount of work involved with caring for a toddler. My daughter is 2, going on 3 in the summer. She requires constant supervision and guidance. The thing is, I want to spend all this time with her. She was a struggle to have, as I had to go through IVF to conceive, and I had waited a long time (42 years old) before having her, in the hopes of marrying first. When that did not come to pass, I had my daughter alone.
That leads me to my second distraction: being a single mother. There’s no one else here to take care of any of the things that need to get done. I am the sole source of income, the housekeeper, cook, and caretaker. In order for me to work, my child is enrolled in daycare. Drop off and pick up takes time, work takes time. All the housekeeping is my duty, and there is a lot of laundry from my little lady. There are baths to give, teeth to brush, a butt to wipe, a mouth to feed, a wriggly energy ball to dress, and lots of entertainment (play, learning, etc). to be had.
On top of all of that, I have a dog. He’s super patient, but he has needs much like a child. He has to go outside to go to the bathroom. He has to be fed. He desires companionship, which could mean cuddles or play. All of that can be mostly scheduled, but you know that random needs come as they will.
These things might seem like nothing, but the single parent factor changes a lot of the dynamic. If I had a partner, I’m sure he’d take some of the burden off my shoulders, like walking Fionn and feeding him while I take care of preparing a meal. When I need to do laundry or shower, he’d be there to watch my daughter. The entertaining would be shared, and so on. But then, he’d probably be quite a distraction to add to the mix.
There’s always going to be something that pulls our attention in other directions. So, do the best you can.
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