Wednesday, March 29, 2006


When I first started writing, which was over 20 years ago, one of the things that I had to struggle with were distractions. Back then, of course, sitting in the basement for days on end during the summer with an underwood typewriter with sticky keys, hammering out page after page of what I thought was a brilliant "Dungeons & Dragons" adventure novel (which was really nothing more than a young teenager enjoying writing a story with lots of sword fights and sex scenes), the distractions were my friends who wanted to go to the beach, go for a bike ride, play street hockey, whatever.

As I got a bit older, the distractions became girls, girls and more girls. Not that I ever had much success with women, of course. But I spent a lot of time chasing them. (The only reason I think I ended up succeeding with Francine is that she just got tired of running) But there were other distractions, too. Television was a big one. Heading out to bars and concerts, etc with my friends was another. And just plain goofing off.

When I first started browsing the internet (or "information super-highway" as it was known years and years ago), it was pretty exciting, and took away my writing time. Then, when I first moved from a text-based isp to one with images, I was blown away. And like many young men, I immediately discovered internet porn. That was a distraction for a while. Fortunately I've gotten over it. For the most part. Some might argue that my HNT obsession is nothing more than artistically masked porn. I beg to differ, of course.

Something I haven't gotten over, would be the distractions from the thousands upon thousands upon thousands of VERY interesting people I've discovered online via blogging. Just look at my blog links on the right nav and you'll see. And the damn thing continues to grow. So many fascinating people to read and catch up with, so little time.

All time that gets taken away from the already precious and limited writing time. Distractions are such an issue for me as a writer that I actually wrote a story about Distractions plaguing a writer, a fun tongue-in-cheek dark humour story, which I reprinted in One Hand Screaming and you can read for free. Click here and following the link to the story entitled, you guessed it: Distractions)

And right now, for example, while I had planned on spending 15 minutes making notes on a few unfinished writing projects (I have a half-completed sci-fi novel, a half-completed mystery novel and a children's book that needs to have a red pen taken to it to reduce word count by 20%, nevermind the fact that I'm about to get to a point in I, Death that I haven't properly mapped out yet), I've spent it blogging.

Well, at least blogging is writing. Right? And one of the huge benefits about that writing would be that people out there actually read that writing. And, unlike writing a story or a novel, the feedback is almost immediate. It feeds that little writer ego that longs, not for positive comments or praise, but mostly just to be read and acknowledged.

Oh, and something that I rarely admit. I actually love my distractions. That's what makes it so tough, it's one of those love/hate relationships. They plague me, but I couldn't live without them.


Tish said...

I love the distraction of your blog, Mark! For instance, it's distracting me from my job right now. hehehe. By the way, when I'm at work, I show on the SiteMeter as Mexico! *LOL* Talk about a long drive to work! ;)

Sheri said...

I for one, am liking this distrction of your writing!

Keep up the great work!

Mr B said...

I'm glad that you enjoy your distractions, if you were to go the way of your story Distractions that would be trouble for everyone.

Ameratis said...

As an amateur writer, I completely understand the distractions part, but I must say for myself I am very glad that you take the time to keep your blog updated because it is always funny and very encouraging to read your blog!

The Imp

lime said...

oh man, i am all over that. blogging totally distracts me from schoolwork. and i got a bit of a rebuke from my son about the time i spend on the computer. that it hurt his feelings. time to re-examine the time i spend blogging. that stung, but i needed to hear it, it seems.

lecram sinun said...

I like blogging though I did go through an obsessive period for a while - sort of like discovering a new toy. I do agree with you... for a writer blogging is probably the best distraction because one ends up writing anyway.

My ritual use to be 3 games of freecell then plunge into the script at hand. Now it's 3 games of freecell, blogging... then plunging into the project of the moment.

(I have found that freecell is a wonderful exercise to organize the brain.)

Wenchy said...

I declare blogging to be writing! There... distract away.

Rainypete said...

I think that is why my writings are fluff a ttheir best. I have all the focus of a 20 dollar television. Maybe with a little more discipline I coudl make something of it......oh wait ...... there's that lack of talent thing. Riiiight.

Fran said...

I think that you forgot a couple of your distractions, especially in your youth - BEER! Now of course, there is Mr Man when you are at home. And then there is always a napping wife in there, a al Fred Flintstone style!

Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel. I have so much writing stuff that I want to get done...illustrating stuff too...and I find half my night taken up with responding to emails, posting/reading blogs (course yours is one of them!!!)...not to mention any housework that needs to get done.

But my instructors always said that it's best to write each day...even if it isn't one of the projects you're working on. So blogging is writing...and that's a start!