July 1

Adventures with spiders

I’ve been working on what I call the “blog book” a lot lately. It’s the “parenting book” I’m writing, using a lot of stories I’ve blogged about before. So, pretty much out of necessity, there’s been a lot of looking back on old posts and a little uncontrollable nostalgia. Then, this morning, one of those Facebook memories popped up from when we sold our farm house.

Two years ago, we moved from Austin (a little town north of Cabot, Arkansas) to Hot Springs, moving from the country to suburbia. I’d blogged about how the kids reacted to news of our move (Our Next Adventure) and looking back now, the story’s even funnier to me.

Wonder Boy was excited to no longer share a room with his “stinky” older brother. This is funny because Wonder Boy’s room most often has a “sweaty boy” smell to it, while the worst thing in brother’s room is excessive dog hair. And neither room tops the Girl’s, with its constant tornado-ran-through-here status and stench from the Chihuahua’s bad breath (seriously, it’s so strong it can stink up a room).

The Professor was distraught, worried that he takes too long to make friends and would never be happy. I remember the first day in the new house, he hid behind the couch almost in tears, rather than go out and introduce himself to neighborhood boys. Now, he’s got some of the best friends he’s ever had and won’t even joke about ever moving again.

The Girl was never really the farm type to begin with. She’s never liked getting sweaty and regularly complained about all the critters and pests (she has this exaggerated fear of dead spiders … really, it’s the dead ones that bother her, smh).  So I’m pretty sure she was genuinely happy when we said we were moving. That and her being worried about her brother’s lack of enthusiasm, she said, “It’ll be like an adventure, but without the spiders and such.” When I read that quote again this morning, I laughed out loud. Since moving to Hot Springs, dad has acquired two new … pets … tarantulas. He captured the first in our driveway, bought a habitat for it and stuck it on our bookshelf. Then, as if one wasn’t enough, he special ordered the second one (which I might add, is actually pretty cool looking).

So basically we moved out of the country and brought all the critters indoors. Well, she was right: every day is an adventure … with spiders.

June 22

Why Do I Write?

Author’s note: I’m a member of an online community called Becoming Writer. This week’s cafe question asked participants to answer “Why do you write?” I sat down to type up a reply and opened a can of worms. Might as well share it here.

I have a love-hate reaction to this question. Any time someone asks why I write, or even what I’m writing, I feel something between all the air being sucked out and me and a child who’s so excited and has to pee and just can’t take the time and can’t stop talking and …

Either stone-faced panic or rambling.

I’m probably doing it now.

There are so many little reasons why I write, but they may just be symptoms of the bigger cause. When I try to verbalize this to others, I feel at a loss for words … and I’m NEVER at a loss for words. It’s like one of life’s great ironies … ooh, ask Stephanie about her writing and watch her go … speechless.  Ha, ha, ha. Very funny, Universe.

I write because I love words. I love stories. I even love grammar.

I write, as one participant said, to not forget. Much of my blog is dedicated to preserving memories with my children.

I write, as another said, to get out of my head. I spend way too much time here.

I write, as another said, for therapy. Who doesn’t?

I write, as yet another said, because the story’s always changing. That’s what keeps things interesting.

I write because … because … because …

Because I can’t not. When I’m not writing, the words don’t stop. They float around in my head (I envision a wide-open empty space up there … perhaps with a few cobwebs in corners), giggling and dancing around. Maybe they start out as cuter versions of those mucus monsters from that medicine commercial. And then more join. And then more. And then more. What, on a good day after writing, started out as fun gathering of close friends turns into a mosh pit at the worst metal band concert of all time (or what I imagine that would be like since I’ve never actually seen a mosh pit … no comment on the worst metal band concert). Then it’s all crowded and overbearing and every gasp for air only fills my nostrils with the stench of sweat. And then someone turns ups the heat, raising the sweaty word-bodies up like water just about ready to boil over. But just when I think the edge is near to provide some relief, like little droplets that run down the side of the pot, there’s no longer any water … instead the word-bodies are now the hard-boiled eggs whose cook forgot to turn off the heat. Crackle. Singe. Pop. BAM.

Have you ever tried to clean exploded, dried, over-cooked, egg off of a wall? It’s no fun.

That’s what my brain feels like when I don’t empty out the words …

The truth is, I’m never empty of words. Even when I struggle getting the words on paper, which happens a lot, they’re always there, always replenishing. And that’s a good thing. I just have to write to keep the ones that live up there to a manageable mass.

Otherwise, somebody’s going to have to scrub exploded, dried, over-cooked Stephanie brain off of a wall. And, despite being headless, it’d likely be me on clean-up duty. Cue the “ain’t nobody got time for that” meme.

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May 21

Out with the Old, In with the New

May is a time of endings and new beginnings; this truth is never more evident than with high school and college graduations. But even without a current graduate* in the house, we’ve had our own share of endings and beginnings this month.  (Technically, Bryan graduates in July with his Doctorate of Nursing Practice!)  Truth be told, that’s why I haven’t had much time to write as of late.

I was busy reviewing portfolios and compiling final grades for my spring composition class. Once that was done, I started in on preparation for the summer class I’m teaching online starting next Monday. While online teaching has many benefits, in some ways it requires more work: you have to anticipate questions and prepare for everything to be presented to students in writing … no longer able to just save some things for live discussion. This past week, I’ve been knee deep in lesson modules, content folders, assignment links, and discussion forums – on top of drafting syllabi, project assignment sheets and lecture notes/slideshows. Fortunately, I’m a nerd for that kind of stuff.

This month has brought many other transitions as well. We said goodbye to Aunt Bee after more than 8 years, trading her in for a spaceship. Okay, not really. But when I’m sitting in the cockpit (driver’s seat) of my new, bright white Dodge Durango Citadel, I feel like I might take flight. The verdict is still out on a name for my new toy/family vehicle, and I’ll consider all suggestions. For some reason, I keep thinking of Stormtroopers, but they’re bad so that can’t be it. The Girl cried at leaving Aunt Bee behind; her heart hurt for Aunt Bee’s inanimate feelings.

RIP Aunt Bee
RIP Aunt Bee

The almost 9yo said goodbye to his crooked teeth (literally, he said, “goodbye crooked teeth” in the car before going in to the orthodontist) and got what will likely be just the first round of braces to correct teeth and an under-bite. He didn’t cry but was clearly nervous; I had to hold his hand the whole time.

How adorable is he?!
How adorable is he?!

Bryan has decided he’s going bald. Well, let me clarify: he’s been going bald for years. Now he’s just decided to embrace it and maybe help things along a bit. He’s been going every week or so and getting a closer buzz, working his way up to a Mr. Clean look.

Perhaps one of the saddest changes was the night the almost 16yo brought this picture from her room to ours:

Noah's Ark
Noah’s Ark

Pepa purchased this painting for the Girl’s room when she was still growing in my belly. It’s been in every room of hers in every house we’ve ever owned ever since. Now, as she fills her walls with fandom posters, pics of friends and other random teenage girl decorations, she no longer has a place for Noah. I’ll admit, it was my turn to tear up a bit.

Endings can be bittersweet, but change is a part of life. And so are kids growing up. Here’s to the beginnings that follow endings. And a really cool spaceship.

May 3

The Evil Doubt Fairy

Not too long ago, I had a really productive day. That’s meant to sound like an anomaly, because, sadly, they don’t happen for me very much anymore. I’ve talked before about how I used to kick the proverbial butts of to-do lists on a regular basis, but, in the last 5-10 years seem to have lost my get-it-done mojo. So, a week or so ago, when I wrote more than 5000 words IN ONE DAY toward my parenting book project, I was on cloud nine … for a little while.

fivekwords

Then darkness came.

No, really, it was night. I was lying in bed, trying to go to sleep, when I became overwhelmed with doubt. What do I know about parenting? What can I say that hasn’t been said before? Why would anyone listen to me? Who cares what I have to say? Today was a complete waste. My words are useless. I might as well give up.

I’m not exaggerating. If anything, the above doesn’t convey the depths of my despair. And I didn’t write words for days.

A few days later I was sharing my woes with a fellow Tribe Writer, and she said, “Sorry you were visited by the evil doubt fairy.” It seems like such a trivial thing, but knowing she “got me” was really helpful. It reminded me that all writers go through periods of productivity and doubt. I just need to work on increasing the recurrences of my productive periods and, as she continued, “tell the evil doubt fairy to stuff it.”

It’s time to revoke the invitation to the evil doubt fairy. Doubt is no longer welcome to come and hang out with me.

How about you? How do you beat the evil doubt fairy? Share your tips in the comments.

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April 18

Faith Required

Remember that saying about best laid plans? I feel like this is the story of my life. I recently made a decision (much like flipping a coin but it took a lot of debating in my head) as to which writing project I was going to focus on. See, my problem isn’t lack of ideas … isn’t getting words on paper … but that’s not the point of this post. Okay, so after much debate (some of which hubs had to listen to), I decided to focus on gathering stories from this blog to put together a book on parenting. Of course I’m no supermom; I was just thinking, “hey, I’ve been doing this for a while now and they’re still alive, so why not, right?”

Wrong.

Over the past couple of weeks (pretty much since the coin flip) , we’ve had some …erm, issues … arise that have thrown me for a loop. Parenting is hard, y’all. There’s no instruction manual. Every kid is different. Yada, yada, yada. So what do we, as parents, do when something comes up and we feel blindsided or out of our depth? Where do we turn?

To God.

Seriously, I don’t know how I would have made it lately without faith, without knowing that God is for me … and my kids. (He’s for you, too!) Praise music helps me remember this. Even when I wanted to cry, I’d feel so much joy driving down the road listening to Lauren Daigle.

These past weeks have reminded me that my children, even when they drive me crazy, are blessings. God entrusted them to me. But He didn’t just say, “Have at it; you’re on your own.” He’s with me every step of the way. Rather than leaning in to Him only when the going gets tough; I should keep Him at the center of every step. He should be on my mind and in my heart not only when I tell my children how much I love them, but also when I’m disciplining or having the tough conversations.

And I need to be sure I tell them how much He loves them too: how His love is infinitely more perfect and true than mine could ever be even though I’m their mother.

We don’t need to be super-parents. We just need to trust in Him.

April 7

Calling all Hot Springs’ writers!

What motivates you to write? Do you have a favorite writing spot? Or certain music to type along to?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I used to have so much more motivation and focus than I do now; though I’m not 100% certain, I often blame having children for my diminishing productivity. But how can I still blame them when they’re out of the house?! So, I’ve been taking steps recently to build back my writing habit.

One thing I’ve always been interested in is writing groups. Not so much a club, like school days of old, but more like what I imagine Tolkien and Lewis did in the Oxford days. From what I understand about the Inklings, the group would meet regularly to read/discuss/critique each other’s work, or simply to write in each other’s presence.

As I sit here at Starbucks, I wonder how many of those around me with laptops are doing the same thing I am. Perhaps that’s just another way my mind distracts me from purpose, but nonetheless, there’s something about knowing that the people you are with are working towards similar goals that pushes us. Maybe it’s accountability, maybe it’s encouragement; but, hey, whatever works, right?

I’ve been looking for a similar group near me but am not sure they exist. A colleague from UALR (who now works at UCA) used to post on Facebook about writers meeting, but that was in the Little Rock area. I also recently discovered that Hot Spring Village has a writer’s club. I’m planning to visit their next meeting, but, based on a review of their website, I’m not sure they spend time writing together.

So if you’re a writer in the Hot Springs area, and you’d be interested in this type of group, I’d love to hear from you!

March 25

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Updated 4/1/16 (see below).

Yesterday was the day I’d been waiting for with mixed emotions: the premiere of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Thrilled to once again see my beloved superhero on the big screen; anxious at the possibility of him being relegated to second best by that annoying bat. Don’t get me wrong: I like Batman. I like him a lot. But I love Superman more. I got over initial qualms about Man of Steel nearly three years ago and ended up loving it. So, this time, despite my mixed feelings, I was excited for the premiere.

Now, having seen the movie, I still have mixed emotions, just different ones.

I don’t know how movie reviewers do write ups without spoiling the whole shebang. To tell you everything I loved and didn’t love (hate is too strong a word) about the movie would give it all away. My intention is to keep this post SPOILER-FREE. It will not, however, be unbiased; I’ve already told you I love Supes. You’ve been warned.

All I could say last night after the movie:

facebook

So, I realize my “verdict” isn’t exactly a raving review, but it’s the best I could come up with at the time. Every moment I lay awake trying to fall asleep and every moment I awoke during the night was consumed with thoughts of the movie. Yes, I’m a big nerd; we’ve established this already.

Director Zack Snyder is a comic book guy … meaning he knows his source material. The movie stays true to a couple of major comic book arcs of days gone by. That’s good or bad, depending on whether you liked those arcs. Part of my issue last night was I was remembering one of those arcs slightly wrong, which threw me into a silent, sulking tailspin until my tired but geeky brain reconnected the dots correctly.

Here’s what matters:

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm589161728/tt2975590?ref_=ttmi_mi_typ_sf_35
IMDB.com

Cavill is super again; in fact, he’s even better the second time around. Yes, he can be my Superman.

 

 

 

IMDB.com
IMDB.com

Affleck does just fine as a crusty old Batman.

 

 

 

IMDB.com
IMDB.com

Gadot rocks it as Wonder Woman (shut your face, all you “too skinny” body shamers).

 

 

 

IMDB.com
IMDB.com

And, as for Eisenberg as Alexander Luthor: I think he’s the character folks are going to be the most divided over: either loving his portrayal or not. I think he knocked it out of the park. Anybody complaining probably just didn’t like his hair (or simply that he had any), which is about as silly as me hating on Amy Adams for not being a brunette.

 

The things I worried about going in to the movie:

  1. That the powers that be would make movie-studio-golden-boy Batman somehow defeat my Superman, thereby answering the age-old question of “who would win in a fight” in Technicolor and 3D for all the world to see.
  2. That the movie would essentially be another Batman movie, of which we’ve had PLENTY. Can’t my boy get his day in the sun without being overshadowed by batwings?
  3. That the next generation of fanboys (and girls), i.e., kids, will pick the Bat over the Boy Scout. It seriously bothers me that kids don’t want to be Superman anymore. I know, first world problems.

Those same worries after the movie:

  1. Without getting too much into it and spoiling the whole thing, I’ll just say I’m satisfied with how this played out. That’s it; I can’t say any more than that.
  2. The first 20 minutes is all Batman. Granted, it’s a 2 and ½ hour movie, but still. Also, Affleck gets top billing. And, of course, it’s Batman vs. Superman, instead of the other way around.
  3. [Intentionally omitting a response because anything I say will give too much away].

Things I worry about now, having seen the movie:

  1. There will be MORE Batman movies. More movies where he’s the center of attention. I shouldn’t be hating on any superhero movie potential. And, I’ll see them all, of course. It’s just, see the first #3 above.
  2. Of course, that first one is in direct contradiction to this second worry: That those movie reviewers I mentioned earlier will flex their critical muscles, focusing on negative opinions and scare people off. Basically, that bad reviews will put a damper on, maybe even kill our chances of seeing more of the same and new DC heroes brought to life. I don’t want to have to wait another 30 years to see Supes on the big screen.
  3. That the average movie-goer, the non-comic-booker, basically the masses, will think that … or even that …. (yeah, I can’t really share that either, though I bet the comic-booker knows what I’m not saying).

So, yeah, I need to see it again. And I think everyone should go see it, critics be damned. Come on, folks, don’t kill my Superman.

Update 4/1/16, after second viewing:

So I was finally able to go see the movie for a second time yesterday, and I’m so glad I did. The second time around was infinitely better. Perhaps it was because there were no surprises and the shock had worn off, although I still cried at parts. Nevertheless, it was even better the second time around, and I’d go again in a heartbeat. THAT’S  why it breaking all the box office records. So, in my best Shawn & Gus sing-songy voice (Psych) to critics and haters: suck it.

Category: Movies | LEAVE A COMMENT
March 18

If Cars Could Talk

I think we’re all feeling a little nostalgic about Aunt Bee. Not the original Aunt Bee.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0512602/
Image credit: IMDB.

See, that’s what we call the van.  She’s getting on up there in years and, with her dents and dings and moans and groans, she always seems frazzled and on the verge of breaking down. But, nevertheless, she always comes through for us. And, sometimes, there’s cookies. Okay, not really on the cookies (unless we buy them), but hopefully you get my point.

20160317_173527

Aunt Bee joined the family when the 8yo was just 6 months old. Even still, the older two barely remember the family vehicle we had before (a white jeep Grand Cherokee that could handle my curb attraction a bit better). She’s pushing 200 thousand miles and seems to need some sort of work every other month, but she’s hard to let go. I keep saying she’ll have to quit on us before we quit on her. Now, 8 years and 200k isn’t bad for a vehicle, and it sure is nice not having a car payment for years. There’s a line from the first Indiana Jones movie, “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.” Well, where Aunt Bee is concerned, it may not be the years, or the mileage, but the … experiences.

You see, Aunt Bee has not only been there for the raising of three children. She’s also survived at least 6 moves, countless road trips (with and without dogs), carpools with friends, and a wide variety of live and inanimate cargo – from instruments to sports equipment to furniture to household pets to farm animals. Over the years, Aunt Bee has toted humans, dogs, birds, lizards, snakes, spiders (!), mice, dairy goats, chickens, and rabbits. And I’m still likely forgetting something.

But it’s not just what she’s carried; it’s what she’s “seen.” There’s a “conversation mirror” on the outside of the sunglasses holder, just above the rearview mirror.

20160317_111843

It’s been a surprisingly nice little feature, allowing me to truly have eyes in the back of my head (something all mothers need at times). The other day, the Girl said we needed to install a wide-view camera to capture all the conversations and happenings that take place within the van. I think she may be on to something. Lord knows a good majority of my blog material has occurred in that setting.

Take for instance, the latest random conversation:

This past weekend, we traveled to Birmingham to visit family. While on our way to dinner with Mema and Danny, we picked up on an earlier conversation Mema had been having with the kids. No, not one about grades or school or friends. No, that’d be too normal. Instead, they’d been talking about who would do what job after the apocalypse. Because it’s always good to plan ahead.

So, Mema would be the cook. The Girl is supposed to be studying up on plants so she can be the resident Neville Longbottom in the event the world as we know it ends. Apparently they’d decided that Boy Genius (or the Professor, or Turdnugget, depending on his attitude) needed to study up on alternative fuels but he’d rejected that appointment. He wanted to be the hunter or basically do something with guns. Now, I’m the executioner: I’ll be the one to decide if you’re an asset or a liability. If you’re good for the community, you get to stay/live; if not you’re outta here. The Girl did not like this idea at all; she’s got too big a heart. She doesn’t think anybody should be killed for any reason; don’t even get her started on inevitable cannibalism!

Well, when her brother started arguing about not liking his assigned job, I said, “Dude, I’m gonna have to kill you.” Thinking he could play to sentimentality, he whined, “But I’m your son; you couldn’t kill me.” To which his sister piped up: “I could. I couldn’t kill anybody, but I’d kill you.” Silence. Then laughter.

So it’s probably a good thing there’s no camera in Aunt Bee. And clearly my nostalgia for her will go out the window when she stops being useful.

But we’ll always have cookies.

February 16

A House Divided

A lot of noteworthy stuff happened this weekend:

  • It was Valentine’s Day.
  • The 13yo attended his first school dance (and actually had fun).
  • We went to a local restaurant’s grand opening (and wine tasting, ftw!).
  • Justice Scalia died.
  • I won a door prize at a health fair (seriously, I never win anything).
  • We saw Deadpool (which is worthy of its R-rating, duh).
  • The Walking Dead returned.
  • The Girl lightened her hair (after years of wanting it darker).
  • I threw my back out (which is either exercise-related or simple payback for all my “I’m not that old” talk of late).

But, not to diminish the significance and/or seriousness of any of that, there’s really only one thing I want to talk about: the latest and last official trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Here it is ICYMI:

I’m trying so hard to not freak out right now. I’m over Batfleck. I refuse to be close-minded and hate a movie without even seeing it. But I’m struggling. I’ve already complained about the order of the names in the title. I mean, this is supposed to be a Man of Steel sequel, right? And Batman’s gotten enough silver screen royalty treatment. But, come ON.

The latest trailer, itself only a little over two minutes (2:19 to be exact), opens up with 45 seconds of pure Batman. He’s going to take out some thugs, Alfred assists, and there’s witty banter. We don’t even see Supes until the 53 (from a distance)/56 (close up) mark. Okay, okay. I know, it’s “Dawn of Justice.” Supes had a whole movie to re-introduce him to the world and now we need to see the others, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, and that darn bat. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it.

But then, at the 2:00-2:03 mark …

supesface

WHAT. THE. HECK?

(That’s much cleaner than what I thought in my head, but hey my kids might read this).

I think I whimpered rather loudly in the theater (before Deadpool). Supes face! My face! I’m crying. Here’s why:

I think I’ve mentioned before that hubs is a Batman fan. And you *may* have picked up on my Superman obsession. Now, I like Batman just fine, maybe even more than others, like a close second. But, to me, the answer to who’s the best, who would win, who’s the mack-daddy, will always always always be Superman. But the hubs has infected the kids. Every conversation about this movie invariably ends up turning into a “hey let’s stomp all over mom’s hopes and dreams” fest. The 13yo brings up gold kryptonite (dude, don’t go there) and the 8yo says, “C’mon mom, we all know Batman’s gonna win.” Curse you, hubs.

Even if I let all these shenanigans go as, at least partially, intentional aggravation, the treason continues. Hubs begins to talk about what the characters stand for and suddenly Batman’s a saint. Cue *major* eye roll.

“Batman believes people are capable of good and standing up for themselves. Superman just wants to rule over everyone and be the savior.” Well, yes, because he’s supposed to be god-like (not in a “no idols before Me” way, but merely representative; no one can deny the Biblical parallels). And, at least he doesn’t want to kill us all.

“Batman knows there are evil people, but he knows there are good ones too.” Well, Superman believes every person is capable of good.

“Batman is an ordinary man who’s made himself a hero.” Yeah, because being born into a billionaire family is ordinary.

At this point, it’s a good thing I don’t have heat vision.

heatvision

February 11

Distractions

I am an old-school writer. Or I just have ADD.  … Or maybe it’s both. Okay, focus.

I love notebooks. Spiral-bound. About half the size of a normal sheet of paper. Like this one:

20160211_131031

I especially like the cover of that one. These notebooks are among my favorite things. I have too many to count, shoved in drawers and closets or on shelves all around the house. Some may have a few unmarked pages left, but most are filled to their edges with words. I audibly gasped and, according to the Girl, turned white as a ghost, the other day when she picked up one from my nightstand and opened it.

“You should never, ever do that,” ebbed from my lips.
“Do what?” she asked innocently, closing and placing the notebook down.
“Open one of my notebooks without asking,” was my somewhat strangled reply. All the breath had left me.

Funny thing was, the notebook was empty. Oh, how I love fresh notebooks. But the thought of her seeing my words nearly gave me a heart attack. As a writer, I want my words to be read, but only when I’m ready. What’s in my notebook isn’t ready yet. It’s still … cooking … not yet ready to be tasted.

But why notebooks? Why is that my preferred method of writing? Though I’ll write until my arm aches, I prefer creating in longhand. I read something years ago about how the process of handwriting invokes creative processes in one’s brain. And it’s really true for me. I’ve tried to explain before how I’m really a “thinker” because I’m always writing in my head but so rarely get those words on paper. The Writer’s Circle page on Facebook shared this pic today:

The Writer's Circle.
The Writer’s Circle.

But I am more likely to get them out in longhand than typed (at least initially).  So maybe that’s it; my creative processes require it.  Or, more likely, I just can’t handle distractions.

Ever since I decided to jump, I’ve had several planned writing days. I get up with one goal: write something. I’ve been teetering back and forth over whether to write something short, like an article or personal essay, and submit for publication; or to make actual progress on one of the many books that have been “works in progress” for most of my life. On these planned writing days, I always start the same way: by sitting down at my laptop ready, willing and rearing to go. And I always end up, hours later, having written nothing, submitted nothing, progressed nothing. Why? Distractions.

A major distraction as of late had to do with the hacking of my personal blog. It was a painful and cumbersome process, but after days (weeks?) of frustration, the blog is clean and running securely again.

But distractions don’t have to be major, to throw me off course. This wonderful thing called the Internet (which I truly believe is wonderful) pulls me away from writing so easily with simple day to day items. I sit down with my laptop and then … SQUIRREL!  It all starts with email. I check it and remember a thousand little things I need to do: finishing editing those chapters for a colleague, return that book to Amazon (which technically hubs should be doing since he ordered it by mistake), pay those bills, and so on and so forth. Then, my phone dings with a text or Facebook notification. Next thing I know, I’ve pointed my browser to Facebook because the laptop screen is bigger than my phone screen (seriously, I am NOT. THAT. OLD. as we’ve established so I don’t know what the deal is with my eyes) … and down the rabbit hole I go.

Here’s another recent share from The Writer’s Circle on Facebook:

The Writer's Circle.
The Writer’s Circle.

I could replace “Watch YouTube videos” with “Read other blogs” or “Search internet for [X]” or even sometimes “Write fanfiction” (it’s easier to write because the characters are already developed). And I could clarify “Stare into space” as “Daydream an entire book in my head, forgetting that the words won’t magically appear on screen.” Seriously, I had to go sit at McDonald’s (it’s close to my house and they have dollar sodas) the other day with my notebook just to get some writing done.

So, how do you deal with distractions? How do you get the words on paper? (I mean, aside from the obvious.) I read somewhere recently about a program that deletes your work if you pause for too long … maybe that’s more motivating and beneficial than I can imagine, but I just keeping thinking that distraction would lead to anger … at the app … at myself. And, this I know for certain: anger is a major distraction to creativity.

So, for now, I guess I’ll stick to my notebooks. And lots of pencils. Did I mention I got an electric pencil sharpener for Christmas and it’s the bomb? Really. I can sit for hours just sharpening pencils and listening to that sound … um, yeah, distractions.