Butterfly Syndrome

I sit down at my computer to write.  I’m really going to focus on the book this evening.  It’s been a busy week so far, and I’m going out of town this weekend; I really want to put some work in on this thing.

So I grab my Diet Coke, get comfy on the couch and pull up my latest Word document to read over what I’ve been working on most recently.

Well, I don’t really like what I wrote last.  Oh, that part’s kind of funny.  But the rest of it is mostly crap.  Or am I just being overcritical.  Damn, now the laptop is getting hot on my lap.  My technical equipment does not extend to an iPad, but it does extend to one of those lap desks that are hyped to college students.  Better grab it.

And, since I’m already up and hot, let’s turn on the ceiling fan.

Okay, is it just me?  Ceiling fans are not supposed to squeak, right?  They’re not supposed to sound like the rhythm of the bed during the throes of… well… you know.  At least, I hope you have the pleasure of knowing.

My husband is from Florida, the land of ceiling fans, and he assures me that this noise is perfectly normal.  But I foresee that one of these days that fan we love so much for its cooling powers will rock itself to the point of loosening the screws holding it into the ceiling and crash down ten feet into our lovely hardwood floors.  But perhaps I have too vivid an imagination.

At any rate, the squeaking is rather distracting, so I think I’ll turn on some music.  But nothing with words – as that would also be distracting.  Perhaps an instrumental.

I should note, at this point, that I’m not much for classical music, so the only instrumentals you’ll find on my iPod (yes, I do have some cool stuff) are the Titanic soundtrack (don’t judge – I was 14 when that movie came out and thought it was wildly romantic) and bellydance music (I can totally pull off a maya, for those of you who know what that is).

But you can see, I hope, how neither the heartbreaking strains from Titanic culminating in the powerful “My Heart Will Go On” or the vivacious music that inspires me to shake my hips repetitively as fast as I can without losing the correct posture … no neither of those is particularly inspiring to my book.  I think somewhere – perhaps deep in a box – there is a CD with calming spa sounds in it.  Maybe I should go focus on unpacking the things that I stuck in the closet and ignored after our move a few months ago.

At this juncture, I must pause and ask “Does this sound like writing a book to you?”

I don’t know why this is so hard today, but I know many writers go through this.  It’s not really writer’s block, because I have plenty of ideas of what could happen next in the book.  It’s more like distraction or short-attention span.  Butterfly syndrome, perhaps.

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s plaguing me tonight.  Unfortunately, I am usually a go-with-the-flow kind of person (well, when it comes to what I want to do next… not so much when it comes to clearly laid-out plans that should unfold exactly as I anticipate, right?).  So I don’t really have a built in mechanism for dealing with this.  I guess the only way I can get past it is to go back to the page, stare the cursor down like we’re in an old Western movie together, each daring the other to shoot first.

And then just do it.

But I wonder – do you ever find yourself getting distracted from what you really want to be doing?  If so, what are your methods for getting around that block and back to making progress?

(I wrote this Wednesday evening, as I’m going to be out of town all weekend, but I refuse to allow that to be an excuse for slacking off on my commitment to post on my blog.  I will stick to it for the readers [well, both of you that are currently checking on me.])

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2 thoughts on “Butterfly Syndrome

  1. I break the task into smaller bits and start with the easiest and quickest first. Usually once I start doing them, I get into it and am ready to tackle larger bits.

    • That’s a good idea, Claire! Getting some “quick wins” might help keep me focused. I agree that once I get into a task, it’s much easier to keep going.

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