Your Attention Please


That's right, I'm after your attention. Or your attention span, which I'm sure must be better than mine of late, with all of life's distractions.

In part, I blame technology, which gives us such a wealth of easily-accessible entertainment and information options, it's becoming increasingly difficult to focus on the work. Twitter tweets for my attention, e-mails and other social networks clamor, and it's not hard to talk myself into the notion that all of these (including the blog) are work, that it's important to "put myself out there."

But I remind myself, that's not the work I chose. (The blog's fun; I admit that. And a nice little journaling warm-up in the mornings.)

And then there are other people's stories (and oh, how I love stories) drifting through the ether. Stories I can plug into via TV, DVD, Hulu.com, audio downloads, Kindle (if I had one), iPhone (ditto), or, lo and behold, the classic book. It's hard to resist the siren calls of story, for I can tell myself how important it is that I keep "up to date and plugged in to the storytelling culture." (My subconscious always sounds quite reasonable when wheedling to get its way.)

But absorbing all those lovely stories doesn't get my work done either. So there's nothing for it but to chain myself to my laptop, shut off the Internet for a while, and get down to the hard stuff. Because sometimes, writing's sledding, and other days you have to pull a heavy plow all by your lonesome. It's been the plow for me this past week, a synopsis that's giving me fits, but there's nothing for it but to throw myself against that harness and pull with all my might.

And pay attention so I can finally get my rows (and maybe my story) planted!

How about the rest of you? Have any tips to share on keeping focused?

Comments

P.S.- I swear, that's not me in the photo. Truly. ;)
Vicky said…
LOL on the photo!

Sometimes the hardest part of writing is just opening up the wip. Having a regular time and page count helps, I think. But a synopsis is a whole beast in itself. Are you wrestling w/the plot points? It may be different with R/S, but my initial ideas in a synopsis are never as good as what actually happens in the ms. And that's because I've gotten to know my characters better by then.
Suzan Harden said…
I sympathize. I've been fighting with a synopsis over the weekend, and the sad part is the book's already done.
Oh, thank goodness. I finally got my act together finished reworking the synopsis. I'll have one more cp check it out and will undoubtedly have a few more tweaks, but I think it's working well now. (Cross your fingers.)

Much of my problem was that there were great big plot linchpins I hadn't yet figured out. Fudging them didn't work, but the sweaty labor I just put in will make actually finishing the book easier. (Note: I did not say easy. There is no easy when it comes to writing novels.)

My other problem was the usual synopsis bugaboo. Telling too much. I know quite a lot about the interpersonal dynamics of these characters and apparently needed to put it all on the page for my own personal reasons. That bloated the synopsis and diluted its focus.

Hard to make the character-centric writing shine through in a plot-heavy suspense synopsis. But fortunately, I'll have the sample chapters for that. And I'm doing a lot of sample chapters this time, much more than my usual forty pages or so. This is an unrushable project, and I don't want to get in too much of a hurry and botch it.

Thanks for the support and encouragement. Best of luck to you, Suzan!
Suzan Harden said…
Good to hear you got it done, Colleen!

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