Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What Was I Doing?

by Zachary Steele

Distractions.  They happen.  Usually when you aren't expecting them, and always when you don't want them.  Much like in life, much like to everyone, they are a constant nuisance in writing, and can splinter a thought with the ease of a brushstroke.  Nothing can ruin a good meal like a spontaneous bedroom fire that mysteriously coincides with unexplained disappearance of a lighter, and the innocent protestations of a small child.  Likewise, nothing can ruin a fluent stream of thought like...

What was I saying?  Sorry, my cat started chewing on the cord to my mouse, and no matter how many times I read that first paragraph, I've lost my train of thought.  Well, regardless, I have a blog to write, and nothing is going to keep me from finishing it.

I was at a book event once, and during the Q&A, a book enthusiast asked me a question I'll never forget: "What is your real job?"

Now, I should have probably been offended by this, but ultimately I just laughed.  I mean, it's a ludicrous question to offer an author--one just simply grateful to have the spotlight and glory for just a few moments--and yet I couldn't help but acknowledge that being a writer does not necessarily preclude me needing to pay my bills.  Utility companies, much to my surprise, do not accept signed copies of my book for payment.  So, until the Great Contract From the Sky happens to fall in my lap, I am required to work, which also means that I am left to struggle with time management in order to find the space, and time, to actually write.  It isn't easy, especially when there are so many distractions getting in the way.  It's actually quite amazing how they accumulate while you work, biding their time, so that they might spring upon you all at once when you finally have time off.

I smell cake.

It was tasty.

Um...where was I?

I bought a flat screen television recently, rather than fix the AC in my car.  That has nothing to do with the topic, but I thought it said quite a lot about me.  The Braves are playing on the flat screen that doesn't cool my car.  I keep running into the living room to get updates that I could easily get by simply clicking over to the Gamecast tab I have open alongside the blog.  But I prefer to actually watch the action, if possible, despite the fact that I have to stop after every sentence, or so, to do it.  I also play a lot of fantasy baseball, which I also currently have up on the computer.  Between the sprints to the living room, and sentences here, I keep checking to see how my team is doing.  Not well, in case you were wondering.

My forthcoming novel, Flutter: An Epic of Mass Distraction isn't so much an opportunity to parody the world, and its incessant desire to be distracted from life, as much as it is to make fun of people like me.  I'm not ADD, or ADHD, or any other acronym that I'm too lazy to look up.  I just get distracted.  Easily.

People are booing on the game.  Hang on.

Anyway, what matters most here, is that nobody is immune to distraction, or to the struggle to remain focused on the task at hand.  It's just part of who we are, and of what life is made of.  There's really nothing you can do but fight through it, forge on, and try not to have the ball game on a television that doesn't cool your hot ass car while writing a blog.

Zachary Steele is the author of Anointed: The Passion of Timmy Christ, CEO, and the forthcoming Flutter: An Epic of Mass Distraction, and has been featured on NPR and in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Publisher's Weekly, and Shelf Awareness. He can be found boring the world with his thoughts on his blog, The Further Promotion of ME.



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River Jordan said...

Just how big is the flat screen? Seriously - funny stuff. I enjoyed this and the weird is you are so right. Distractions can eat away a potential masterpiece. Or the next good thing. You make me want to FOCUS! :)