Sweeping Away Distractions

storysculpting header 2 brushes and paints

I have a serious inertia problem. Getting started is a bitch. Switching tasks is worse.

Yes, I know, concentration is hard for everyone. All the same, those who know me IRL will attest to my epic difficulties settling AND my amazing ability to barnacle once I’ve landed.

A high inertia score does have its upside. I have been known to forget meals and forego sleep entirely while immersed in a Big Doing. I can be nigh-impossible to pry loose from a task once settled. The trick these days is avoiding the perils of the internet.

I do not blame the internet for my inertia, no. Back in the day, I could channel-surf for hours. I could waste hours reading the newspaper. I would clean things. But unlike those old-school distractions, online bread & circuses ars ubiquitous and inescapable. It’s not only on my computer, it’s on my phone. My reading tablet. It tempts from all sides, at all hours, and willpower is a finite resource.

The nasty reality is that I either lose creative time to social media and my various online obsessions, or I can forfeit creative energy to the effort of ignoring those temptations.

Or I could enlist the aid of artificial intelligence in my fight to focus.  That’s the route I’ve taken. I now have an internet-blocking program to  fight the good fight for me.

I forked over ducats for the Freedom app. (Green butterfly logo.)  It has a simple interface, seamless cross-device compatibility, and it was the most customizable program I found. See, I need certain kinds of internet access for many aspects of my creative work, from use of the online thesaurus to historical fact-checking etc, but I need to be prevented from channel-surfing my way through other sites.

Why that app? There are pro’s and cons to all the internet blockers. Better bloggers than me have written excellent comparisons. I will not attempt to top them. A search on “reviews of apps to cut down on distractions” or “internet blocking app review” will net a fine selection. I did a lot of research. (Yes, I saw the irony in spending time online researching ways to spend less time online…but it had to be done.)

The Freedom app’s best aspect for me is the ability to schedule by day, time and device — I do not even have to will myself to turn on the distraction-remover. It happens automatically. And if I need-need-need to override it, I can do so on the phone or tablet easily.  But mostly I don’t.

I do not regret the hours I spend diving down figurative internet rabbit holes after odd facts & critical resources, and I am infinitely improved by time spent with the generous amazing folk who have befriended me in the virtual world.

But. Oh, BUT.

The online party never ends, and I can’t stay  24/7/365.  I have reading to do, I have plants to water,  I have a cat to brush…

I have stories to write. And now I have more time and more energy for them.


Not tired of my words yet? My published works are available on Amazon and all the other usual online retailers, or you can take free peeks at them on my website on this page 

Science-fiction thrillers, science-fiction romance, and science fantasy, full length novels and shorter works. So many choices! Here be direct links to the published stories that have escaped the confines of Amazon. 

Extraordinary books2read.com/u/4N19e6
Powerhouse books2read.com/u/3kZ1VW
Nightmares books2read.com/u/3yPExv
Lockdown books2read.com/u/3GM2Xn

Celebrate: Christmas (Eve) is here!

It’s the last Adventword, not an order. It’s also another word that leaves me wrinkling my nose.  Celebrate. It really shouldn’t be an imperative. Stress, pressure, tension, baggage–they all conspire to make Special Occasions less than celebratory.

And yet I love to celebrate. I live to celebrate. I only hate forced pep, not genuine joy.  Spontaneity and freedom are the key. Celebrating is not an event. It happens at a lot of celebrations, but correlation is not causation.  The verb is an action.

To celebrate is to magnify happiness. Celebrating amplifies delight by sharing it.  Joy to the world, and all that. I adore that kind of celebrating. It makes life sparkle in a way that doesn’t need vacuuming the way real glitter does.

The flip side of the nihilist “Life has no meaning” philosophy is that life has exactly as much meaning as we give it, so why not bring life some joyous fun? Why bother celebrating? the nihilist asks. Me, I ask, why not celebrate?

Anyway. Genuine glee resulting from any old occurrence or item or act is always worth broadcasting. Doesn’t have to be a big thing. Give me a snack, and I will celebrate it. Just ask Spouseman about the happy food dance.

(I swear I had no idea I did little chair dances when I eat until he teased me. And then I tried to stop, because attention=bad is an ingrained response, but it didn’t work. Celebratory impulses will beat all restraint, even the amazing power of self-consciousness.)

So anyway.

Celebrating at celebration times can be hard when the associations are the opposite of joyful. But it is possible. It’s worth trying and trying again. And share even the small celebrations whenever you can.  Joy has a way of being contagious in ways mere cheer can never imitate.

May your days be merry and bright, and all that. It’s a good blessing.



Click here to see the global #AdventWord event/calendar I’ve been bending to my bloggish purposes: AdventWord

image: epicantus via pixabay.com

 

Live: Adventword Dec 23

This was another toughie to slap an image on. Live!  Is it a shiny, positive-thinking imperative?  Or is it a reminder that existence is worth awareness? I live. You live. We live. Hey, we LIVE!

All the stock pictures went with door number 1. Standing atop mountains, trekking through jungle, contemplating suns on horizons, running through soft-focus wildflower meadows: they were all about manufactured YOLO moments.

I don’t know about you, but that isn’t my life. Most of my life isn’t about big, planned, designed-to-amaze events. It’s the adventure of the small.  It isn’t about “seeing the bright side.” It’s about owning every minute of whatever life happens to dish up.

Life is what happens when we’re making other plans and all that. So I live it. All of it. The travels and the travails.

If I was queen of the world and issuing imperatives,  the imperative live would be all about remembering to squeeze every drop of being out of whatever is happening right there, right then. Here’s me as Queen. “Hey, you there doing laundry. Again.  You made clean clothes! Own that victory right there. Savor it. Right on!”

Or “Hey, you  got your ass to work this morning even though you hate everything about it?  Good on you, because your co-workers would have had it harder if you’d called out. You did a right thing, even if you only did it because you need money to eat. It still counts.  Kudos.”

Yeah, sure, there’s the whole, “isn’t there more than this?” existential dilemma, and there’s the “pursue your dreams” mandate, and yes, we all should stretch for what we desire and ponder the big questions.  But the now keeps happening while we do that.

So I don’t like to let any mundane second slip by as if it doesn’t matter. In the end those seconds may be all we ever have–and even if not, there are a hell of a lot more Small Moments than Big Times.

Well, that was a downer, huh?

Oh, the pic? That’s me. At Newport Beach, I think?  A long time ago, when I was utterly, miserably, nauseously horrified by ocean surf. I couldn’t bear to swim or even wade out wearing a life jacket or do any of the exciting beach adventures my parents had planned for their three hatchlings. Parents pushed. I threw the world’s most hellacious meltdown and was banished to towel prison while my sibs adventured.

There I contentedly stared at sand grains and bits of shell until my sentence was served. Then I ran around at the ocean’s edge and caught water in my bucket and watched my toes disappear over and over in the tame, shallow wash of ebbing waves.

Very unexciting. But it was exactly what made me happy, and it’s my life.


Click here to learn more about the global #AdventWord event/calendar I’m bending to my bloggish purposes: AdventWord

Image credit: copyright William Morris. All rights reserved.