Helpful Distractions

We finished up work early this afternoon, so after visiting with my mom and Gianna for a while, I went over to Hastings (a bookstore/coffee shop in case you don’t have them where you live), and worked on my current novel. I figured it would be good to get out of the house and away from the tv and secure internet (I don’t like to use unsecured WiFi if there are a lot of people hanging around since they might be trying to snatch my info) and get some writing done.

Usually, when I write in a coffee shop, I put on my headphones, crank up the music, and only rarely check Facebook. I put myself in a solitary spot within a group of people I’m not interacting with, and somehow, it stimulates me to get things going.

Well, today I forgot my headphones.

At first I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal–I would just tune out the music, the conversations, and the coffee machine then get to work. But the place was packed, and it took a while for me to tune out everybody and get into the flow of the story. This was especially due to a pair of older ladies sitting behind me who kept talking (really loudly) about things: hot flashes, irascible husbands, bible study groups, their kids, crocheting, among other things. One lady kept going on and on about her daughter (Jessica), and it became pretty quickly apparent to me that this woman felt a huge desire to show off to her friend.

Still, I persevered and managed to get into my character’s angry discussion with his current nemesis (an ancient lady who has screwed with his life since he was a kid and now wants him to do some things for her, even though she helped ruin his life). I kept hearing about Jessica’s amazing-ness, and the hot flashes, but I just kept going.

In the end, this conversation between 2 older ladies became part of the background of my story, part of the creative soup that I drew from in putting together this scene. In a weird way, I think the old lady nemesis will have had some hot flash issues in her past that she wouldn’t have had before, and her husband will probably have been a numbskull who always thought he was right and was obsessed with reading Val-U-Pak coupon books instead of exercising. I don’t think the amazing Jessica will make an appearance any time soon, but you never know.

So get out there and get to work. Turn off Facebook, tune out your neighbors, and make something. Write. Draw. Cook an excellent dinner. Pick up your pencil, and do it. Don’t tell yourself that you need the stars to align, that you need absolute silence, or your special writing music. Don’t make any more excuses. Just get out there and do it!

Do or do not. There is no try.