Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ultra-Focusing into the Fictional World

I am so distractable. You?

It's gotten out of hand. If I'm on the internet, I have a habit of writing half a page, then seeing the little Gmail notifier pop up and tell me I have new mail, so I jaunt off and check that, then I remember I haven't checked my reader yet, so I go there, which reminds me that I need to check my calendar, and then I see that I have to add a task in my task list, and then...

Well, you get the idea.

The flow is lost. My "living" in the character is lost. It takes me an hour to get back to focus. Not a good use of my time, LOL!

Remember that friend I told you about, who wrote 10,000 words a day for almost two years and then quit writing altogether?

Well, she could actually write and IM at the same time!

I can't. When I go into my little fictional world, it's all or nothing. I have to be 100% there. Getting into that ultra-focus is a more and more of a task for me, lately.

There are only three things that can get me that focused:

  1. Being at the last-minute of a deadline (a real one, not a self-imposed one).
  2. Caffeine.
  3. Random Inspiration.

So you can imagine the relief I felt, the actually happiness I felt, when one of the sites wrote me and asked if I could give her my latest story earlier. Instead of more pressure, I just felt, Oh thank God! I get to write tonight! A lot, too!

I was practically giddy with gratefulness, because this is going to back me up against a wall and I'll be writing my little fingers off for the next month.

Isn't that silly? Why can't I replicate that on my own? Why can't I just back myself up against a wall and write my fingers off all the time?

*sigh*

I did find ONE thing that helps me focus: Q10. I love Q10 because it does three things:

  1. It's full-screen writing. NOTHING is on the screen except the words of your story. Not even formatting buttons.
  2. It has little timers. If I set the timer at 10 minutes and tell myself I can be unfocused all I want after the time goes off, I go FOCUSED quickly. I guess my brain interprets it as a last-minute deadline or something.
  3. It has countdowns. So if your goal is to write 3,000 words in a given day, then you can set the countdown to 3,000 words.

And look how pretty and relaxing it is: (You can change all colors as you wish. I'm told black background with light gray text is easiest on the eyes.)

Q10

So how do you focus? Do you have to use tricks? Do you rely on deadlines? Love them or hate them? Have you ever tried a full screen writer?

PS: If you try Q10, there are no buttons to distract. Remember pressing F1 is the key to navigation, or else you'll be stuck!

12 bonus scribbles:

Aimless Writer 6/26/2008 07:03:00 PM  

Coffee, pajamas and nothing expected to interupt. If I know someone's coming over, or have to meet someone, I keep drifting to maybe I should straighten up some, go change my clothes, check the clock, maybe make a quick trip to the store to pick up something ...
I have to know this is my time and no one will interupt.
And spider solitare keeps calling my name. I'm hooked on that.
Lately, I'm way too distractable because of impending unemployment, dh's health probs, and painting project that was way more work then I expected.
Everything interupts! lol
We need to find a glass bubble to block out the world.

Zoe Winters 6/26/2008 07:04:00 PM  

I can multitask like that when i'm editing, but when i'm in rough drafts, fuggitaboutit. I gotta stay in flow or I lose stuff.

Robin 6/26/2008 07:30:00 PM  

I love the Q10 advice, Spy. I signed up for Google reader, and now I'm totally addicted. You are my computer guru. I am not worthy!
I, too, focus better on a deadline. How do we spyscribbler fans get a paw on your stories. I want to read one! Wah!

Melanie Avila 6/26/2008 08:29:00 PM  

Spy, I think I might need something like Q10 (which, by the way, is also a night cream. I think). I'm like a dog watching 20 rabbits in the backyard - ALL over the place. Deadlines help me so I think I'll download that when it's time to start typing.

Travis Erwin 6/26/2008 08:29:00 PM  

Focus. Who can do that? If I was focused I'd already have my latest novel out the door and into the hands of agents.

spyscribbler 6/26/2008 08:47:00 PM  

Aimless, that sounds like heaven. (The coffee and pajamas thing, AND the glass bubble.)

My trips to the store are never quick. They take HOURS. I can stare at the shelves getting no shopping done forever.

I hope your DH is getting healthier soon!

spyscribbler 6/26/2008 08:47:00 PM  

Zoe, yes, very true. Editing is an interruptable activity, LOL.

spyscribbler 6/26/2008 08:50:00 PM  

LOL, Robin. I started reading Lifehacker.com, and it all snowballed. I'm not much of a techie!

I'm a prude about my stories. (Little pitchers and all, gotta protect them from googling something they shouldn't. Just wouldn't do.)

BUT, you're right. I'm sorry, you know, I have a PG story I've been meaning to finish for ages. I'm going to make sure to finish it this summer to give to you guys. Gosh, I should give you guys something!

spyscribbler 6/26/2008 08:50:00 PM  

Melanie, that's an awesome analogy! That's exactly how I feel! Exactly!

spyscribbler 6/26/2008 08:51:00 PM  

*sigh* I hear you, Travis. I hear you. Man. When my teeth are fixed, I'm drinking coffee again. I MISS being able to focus!

Bernita 6/27/2008 08:17:00 AM  

I find deadlines concentrate the mind wonderfully.