Tag Archives: distractions

Rambling and babbling today

My wife insisted on the Hallmark Channel all day today. Remember what I said about my wonderful writing weekend? Yeah, I sure wish that storm hadn't changed her plans. By the way, is there a rule that every elderly person in a Hallmark movie must smile like an idiot at all times? These movies could use a serious dose of Billy Bob Thornton or Anne Ramsey.

I have another story idea that I'm tempted to write as a vignette. I want to start a storyboard instead. I have a thought about trying to release a novella or two, and it might make a fun one.

This idea was inspired by an image I saw on Facebook. It posted in two different timelines a week or so ago. Do you think I can find it again? I searched FB, DeviantArt, Bing images, and Google images using every description I can think of. If you're inspired by images, save them the very second you see them. If you don't, you'll find yourselves in my position.

While I'm serving time in Hallmark jail, I haven't been able to accomplish much. I tried to relocate to another room, but there aren't any comfortable places to sit. I want to finish reading a book too, and it's all about the same problem. I suppose I can deal with the critiques I received last week. Maybe I should pay the bills too.

I managed to assemble and schedule the next Lisa Burton Radio, and it's a fun one. I also managed to write one guest post out of four I committed to. I only need three more in a week, so not impossible.

I need to stop blogging about my failures and post something about some successes. I just need to create a success or two.

Okay, I'll deal with critiques and bills so they aren't distractions when my time finally comes. I'm off on Monday, and the only distraction will be Otto.

He's no small obstacle. I took two fifteen minute breaks to play pumpkin ball while typing out this post. He throws it right on my keyboard if I don't pay attention. So this post is +/- 400 words. It took about 30 minutes of pumpkin ball playing to finish. If I write 1000 words (which is nothing) on Monday, I anticipate the pumpkin ball will eat up 75 minutes.

Maybe Otto doesn't need a reindeer outfit, maybe he needs a straight jacket.

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Miss me?

We had a lot of guests on Entertaining Stories this week. All of them were fascinating in their own way, and I appreciate all of them. Some of you shared on your own blogs and tweeted out the posts. It takes guts to create something and share it with the world, promotion is a bugger, and your sharing is appreciated.

I had another weekend of not getting a bunch done on the writing front. Summer is not a great time for me to write a novel. There are too many other distractions. Otto likes people and demands attention. Trying to write while he is active is guaranteed to fail. He likes to chew on feet, hands, keyboards, anything to get attention.

I tricked him away from the keyboard by sacrificing my finger. Things usually work out, because he takes some big naps. He gets super active, then super tired. This weekend, my daughter and Otto worked in shifts. She wanted to talk while he napped, then when he woke up she left.

I worked on some micro-fiction, and that seems better suited for me during the summer. I managed one more for Macabre Macaroni in October, but I'm not satisfied with either one yet. I still need two more. Hopefully, I'll have four good ones before October.

I also started a short story, but only got about a third of it finished. No deadlines or rushes here.

In other news, another beta reader came through. She had some unique ideas, and I made several adjustments based upon her recommendations. I appreciate my beta readers so much, you have no idea. I couldn't do this without that kind of help.

I finally managed to assemble the stopper mechanism in my bathroom sink. After days of effort, in stages, I felt like I'd pulled the sword from the stone. This morning I proudly used my own sink to brush my teeth. The damned thing still leaks. I've never been a tool guy, and I proved it to myself yet again. I'm surprised that I can use the coffee maker successfully. It looks like I have to tear the whole thing apart and start over.

My wife decided to shampoo the carpets today. Moving furniture is more my style; no wrenches or assembly required.

I have about a ton of peaches ripening right before we go on vacation. This means I have to grab as many as possible, set a few aside to take with me, and leave the rest for the birds. I'd be willing to donate them somewhere, but it requires two days worth of picking and bagging. I have to work tomorrow. I made a wonderful peach sangria the other night though. I think I'll take a basketful to work tomorrow. My colleagues will enjoy them.

Not joking about the tonnage. One whole branch is bent down to the lawn with the weight.

I hope you folks are enjoying your summer. I'm not putting too much pressure on myself, and you shouldn't either. Enjoy it while you can. My only real focus is the release of my next Experimental Notebook. Everything else is a bonus.

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Busy house today

I really wanted to get some things done today. I expected the puppy to be a distraction, but everything else seemed stacked against me today.

My daughter had a friend over for a few hours. I find it difficult to concentrate when distractions are going on all around me. I managed to work up two of three critiques based upon the premise that the puppy needed outside. I took my iPad to the yard furniture and let him play. He excels at playing.

That's everything I accomplished today. The friend wanted to bring her son and her brother over to see the puppy. Sounded like it would be around 1:00. Maybe I could salvage some reading time, or even a paragraph on a short story I'm working on. It turned out like waiting for the Sears guy to show up.

Most of you know the drill. You wait, and can't start anything because they'll show up at any minute. Part of this is my nature. Maybe it's a character flaw, but I get worked up about someone showing up and can't accomplish a damned thing. They wound up coming over at around 5:00 and shot my day to hell.

This isn't one of those weeks where my rotating day off tags onto the weekend. I'm not off again until Wednesday, and I have things to do that day. At best, I may score an hour of reading time on Wednesday.

I don't mind slowing things down in the Summer, but I hate it when they come to a complete stop. I'm not one of those thousand-words-per-day authors. I get writing time and try to take maximum advantage of that time. When the time is never available it bothers me. I'm pretty productive on average, but I need my turn on occasion.

My wife is talking about our first camp out next weekend, and that's fine by me. Those are the kind of things I'm supposed to delay writing for. Besides, I can take my iPad and still read and write. I just won't have access to online features.

I generally post on Mondays too, but may skip tomorrow. My critique group usually meets until late, and by then my mind is going at warp speed. It makes it hard to blog when I'm thinking about plot holes and grammar issues.

At least the camper is ready to go now, so I accomplished that much. I hope all of you had a great weekend.

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A writing lesson, Craig style

Lisa* the robot girl and I sat in the front office at the cabin. I pecked away at The Yak Guy Project for about thirty minutes. Part of my story involves a gradual movement from the guy’s familiar environment to one that is a bit more Asian. This requires a little more world building. I suppose it’s because the yak screams Asia to me.

“What kind of world building should I do to make it real for the readers?”

Lisa said, “I suppose clothing and style might help. Maybe some mannerisms.”

“I don’t know, clothing is always your thing. It kind of feels like low hanging fruit at this point. What about silk?”

A knock came at the door. Lisa spread her hands to indicate she wasn’t expecting anyone as she walked to the door. When she opened it, three beautiful women barged into the writing cabin and headed for me.

A blonde in a tailored skirt-suit spoke first. Her hair was in a tight bun. She lowered her glasses and looked over the top, revealing her perfectly arched brow. “I’m Libraria, these are my sisters Consultia and Wiki.”

Consultia had light black skin, a spiral perm so huge it sagged at the ends. She wore a shiny black top with a collar so wide it hung off one shoulder, and was dangerously close to falling completely off. She paired it with a black and white skirt and a pair of those low-topped, high-heeled boots. Her smile could serve as a beacon to lift anyone’s spirits.

Wiki had a denim skirt with black tights underneath. She paired that with tennis shoes, and an Abercrombie tee-shirt that showed off her athletic physique. She wore red hair, straight from the bottle. It had an A-line cut and layers that gave her a Sonic the Hedgehog look. She wore a cluster of string friendship bracelets on one wrist, and a necklace that amounted to a gold plated thumb drive.

Libraria opened a book bag and pulled out an old leather covered book. She slid it slowly across the desk with her perfect French-tips. As she slid it she leaned over farther and farther. I saw all the way to her navel between two perfectly tanned breasts. “This is the complete history of the Silk Road. It’s fascinating stuff, and will give your story a deep sense of reality.”

Wiki tapped away at her iPad-mini with her home-painted nails in alternating black and white. She turned the iPad toward me. “Look at this video. These cute little silkworms are munching away at fresh mulberry leaves.” She wrinkled her nose and smiled. Mesmerizing.

Consultia walked around the desk and sat beside me. She had some of the longest legs I’ve ever seen. From her position on the desk, and my position in the chair, we were close to having a Sharon Stone moment. “Did you know the Chinese kept the secret of silk away from the rest of the world for centuries? A person could be executed for smuggling out silkworm eggs.” She grabbed my hand and placed it on her top. “Feel this, it’s 100% pure silk. Nice huh?”

I managed something like, “Uh-huh,” right before Consultia sat in my lap.

Libraria said, “The cultivation of silk worms is called, sericulture. It’s been going on for thousands of years.”

Wiki said, “Here is a documentary about sericulture you should watch. And look at these beautiful Chinese dresses.”

Consultia reached for the iPad. “I love the cherry blossoms against the sky blue background. I think I could pull this off. Do they have one that’s a little shorter, or with a split for my leg?”

Wiki wrinkled her nose again and smiled. “You could totally pull that off. Let me check for other styles.”

Consultia ran her fingers through my hair. “Do you think I could pull that look off?”

“Oh yeah.”

She pulled my head to her chest and hugged me. “You’re so sweet.”

Libraria touched a nail to her collar bone and slowly slid it down over her breast. “The Silk Road began at the Pacific Coast and went over the Himalayas.” She kept moving downward. “It wound up in the fertile Mediterranean area.”

I think my jaw must have popped open somewhere around Nepal, because Consultia eased it shut.

Wiki said, “Look at these silk paintings about sericulture. Isn’t it cool that it’s a painting about silk, and it’s actually made on silk?”

Consultia pulled me tighter and looked up. “You know what? We should actually go to China.”

“Looking up tickets and accommodations,” Wiki said.

Libraria said, “Or we could take your little gyrocopter. I mean it goes into outer space and everything.”

“Great idea, but it’s only built for two.”

Libraria said, “We can double up. Wiki is tiny, and she could sit in your lap.”

Wiki clasped a hand to her heart, smiled and nodded. “Sounds like a blast.”

The sky grew dark and dimmed the light in the writing cabin. Thunder rolled across the meadow, and the door kicked in. Lorelei* stood in the doorway, and she was pissed.

“What are you doing here?” Libraria asked.

“Call it an intervention. Now you bitches get out.”

“That isn’t very nice,” I said. “These girls are helping me with my book.”

Helping! Is that what you think? These are Sirens, Research Sirens, and their job is to enrapture you and distract you until you abandon your story. Then you’ll think of a better story, and a better one after that. You’ll never finish another story. Now I said move, and I meant it.”

The girls slowly backed away, stuffing things into book bags, purses, and in Consultia’s case her blouse. They walked in-step to the door. The view from this direction was just as fabulous as the other way. I put my elbows on the desk, and my face in my hands.

Lorelei slapped me across the cheek.

“Ouch!”

“Oh you liked it. They are distant cousins of mine, and have been wrecking authors for centuries. Fiction isn’t the same as other writing. Speculative fiction is even less connected to facts.”

“Yeah, but there still needs to be a basis in reality to ground the reader.”

“Absolutely, but after you’ve developed the world, you can plow through some of it. Imagine your story about Yak Guy growing up. He’s coming along nicely, and then your readers are shifted into ten thousand words about the history of silk. They’ll be disappointed. They’ll lose the story.”

“That sounds bad alright. So where’s the line?”

“It’s different for every story. In something like Panama, you needed to research the area, and get the names right. In Wild Concept and Arson, you can make some of it up. Some science fiction is less adventure and more theory based, in that case you have to do your research.”

“How do you suggest I proceed? They seem like great researchers.”

“They are the absolute best researchers. That’s part of their spell, but their goal is different than yours.” She put an arm around Lisa. “This is all the research you need. She can Wiki, Library, and Converse with the best of them. She can even feed a video to your monitor if she has to. She isn’t trying to derail your career, and keep you from success. Remember, a paragraph or two is usually enough in the stories you write.”

“But I learn so much cool stuff when I research.”

“Yes, it looked like you were having a good time. You can’t share everything you learn. Take some tidbits and bullshit your way through it. The Raven of Doubt will be there for you at the end.”

“How did you know to show up here?”

“Lisa called me. She told me what was going on and emailed me pictures of the Sirens. I came as soon as I could.”

“Thanks, I think.”

“I’ve been helping you write since the day you started. Your talent has improved over the years, and your success has grown too. You have to trust me on this one. Part of that success is your ability to finish what you start. Perfection is impossible, but damned good is a possibility. Those girls would ruin all of that, and have you thanking them for it.”

“Lisa, make a note to always be here when I’m researching. If something goes off the rails, you can intervene.”

“I’ve got your back, boss.”

* Lorelei is my Muse. Lisa is my robotic personal assistant.

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Easily Distracted, or Getting Old

I'm so cool up here

I’m so cool up here

 

I get easily distracted these days. Those annoying little pop up things on TV take the program away from me. I simply have to check out whatever special issue it might mean.

The first time I ignore something about corn flakes, I’m going to miss some sort of CDC warning about Ebola. I’m certain of it.

I feel the same way about ticker tapes that run during the news. “Did you see the live action footage of Bigfoot?” “No dear, I was watching the ticker tape about Lindsay Lohan.”

It’s gotten so bad I can’t read without total silence. I used to turn on music, but that pulls me away from my reading these days. Running water does the same thing, and I’m giving the clock on the wall the stink eye for ticking too loud.

All of our appliances have some kind of bell or whistle these days too. ┬áMaybe that’s why I write a lot of historical pieces. It’s more quiet in the Stone Age.

Some blogs distract me too. I know it’s my problem, and I’m not blaming anyone. Someone will post something with a video looping, and I can’t read the post. I have to look at the video, or try to scroll so it’s off the page.

I wasn’t like this ten years ago. What happened?

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