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Friday, September 5th 2008

8:48 AM

SORRY IKE, NO TIME FOR YOU JUST NOW!

The last time I blogged was when tropical storm Fay blew through Florida, over and over again. And now we're preparing for a hit from Ike. But even though I've got the TV on and I can hear our governor talking about declaring a state of emergency, I'm not blogging about hurricanes today, but how when you're a writer, it seems there is ALWAYS something coming along with the potential to disrupt your writing time. Sometimes it seems as though everyone you know AND the forces of nature are against you and that deadline you're struggling to meet.

I have to admit, too, that I'm easily distracted. (Hey, look at me now. I'm blogging when I could be writing.) But what can begin as a simple phone call often can turn into a time-sucking black hole during which you get nothing done, and suddenly your day is gone.

If we could only seal ourselves off behind impenatrable walls with no phones, internet or TVs -- and no windows, which would keep us safe from the elements -- those books would be a breeze to write. Or would they?

Is it really all those external forces that prevent us from being as prolific as we'd like to be? Or is it more a matter of having the willpower to ignore those things? As my deadlines become shorter and I no longer have the luxury of endless time to get a book done, I'm learning to block off certain hours each day when I will not answer the phone except for a very select few individuals, I plan not to leave the house, I save chores for later and find easy things for dinner. Still not enough.

What has been hardest for me is learning to make myself simply get words onto the page (well, monitor) without obsessing over whether they are the right words. I recently read that trying to write a near perfect first draft (guilty!) can actually lead to writer's block because you're inhibiting the creative process by being too critical and analytical about the writing. In other words, your left brain gets in the way of your right brain, and you get all tangled up. And when you're blocked, it's all too tempting to let outside influences distract you. Admit it. Sometimes those distractions come as a relief. But they aren't really.

So Ike, I'll make time for you later this weekend, I promise. For now, though, you'll have to take a back seat as I sit down and pump out some really awful pages -- but no worries, that's what revisions and edits are for!

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