Plus giveaway below of autographed copy of OLIVIA TWISTED
by Vivi Barnes
In celebration of the launch of Gilded, I thought I’d share a post on managing the distractions in life and focusing on what’s important—much like an archer does as he focuses his arrow on the target when there’s commotion going on around him.
FOCUS—for many, the word may bring to mind the quiet determination of an Olympic athlete or a pleasant sunlit writing room with gentle classical music playing in the background.
But what if you can’t get away from distraction?
Welcome to my world: three young kids, a job, a writing career, and a frequently messy house. (Guess which one has to give—sorry, house.) Focusing is a bit of a challenge for me.
Don’t get me wrong—I love distraction and typically will distract myself if someone else doesn’t. It’s how I’m engineered, but it does make it hard to focus on anything fully. So I started tackling the parts of my life that needed focus one by one:
1) Family: My husband has always been quick to take the kids places so I can write, offering up lots of support when I need it. Sometimes too much. I found myself coming home from work, eating dinner with the family then straight to my computer. Then came the day when my son wrote out the things that mom loves most, and he put my laptop above himself. Ugh. Time for a change.
FOCUS: I now close my laptop when the kids want to talk to me. I reserve my writing time for those times that the kids are in their rooms reading or in bed (yes, I don’t get a lot of sleep but there you go). I play games with my kids now, even if I’m on a deadline. Granted, the game ain’t Monopoly, but we still have fun.
2) Job: Thankfully, I enjoy my job. When I’m working is one of the few times I’m not distracted by my books. It’s actually freeing in a way to not have my characters talking in my head as much as when I’m not working. So a win there. But I used to check my work email so often that I ended up getting stressed at this or that when I was at home.
FOCUS: My coworkers have my personal cell number if there’s anything urgent, and I check my email only once or twice when I’m not “on the clock.”
3) Internet: GAH what a time suck! As in TIME. SUCK. I love chit-chatting on Twitter and interacting on Facebook, and reading this blog and that blog and playing those darn Buzzfeed quizzes to find out what dog I should be and…you get the picture. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds the Internet the greatest distraction of them all. I close out of my browser just to accidentally reopen it out of habit.
FOCUS: FAIL. FAIL. FAIL. I’ve tried steering clear of the Internet. It’s just too hard, so I am going to have to break down and buy that Mac Freedom thingie. That program keeps you off the Internet so you aren’t tempted to check your numbers just one last time.
4) Messy house: Heh heh. Anyone who knows me well knows that housecleaning is at the bottom of my priority totem pole. But it still drove me crazy that I could barely stay above laundry and dishes, not to mention anything else.
FOCUS: My mom was nice enough to gift me six months of housecleaning by Merry Maids. Yay! As for the rest…I’ll get to it when I get to it.
5) Writing: Shiny object…shiny object…shiny object!
FOCUS: Here’s an interesting one—I have to have distraction to a point to be able to write, and that comes in the form of music. With lyrics. And electric guitar. Other writers might think I’m weird, but music helps me focus. A quiet house doesn’t do anything more than remind me I need to clean it!
How do you focus?
Originally from East Texas (the accent comes out more often than not), Vivi now live in the magic and sunshine of Orlando, FL with her very understanding husband and three kids. She’s an extrovert with awkward blogging tendencies. Her debut novel, OLIVIA TWISTED, came out on November 5, 2013 from Entangled Teen. She’s represented by Pam van Hylckama Vlieg of Foreword Literary.