insecure-writers-support-group-badge Happy Beltane and blessed be to those who celebrate! And also a happy Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day to you. Yes, I think of it all in capitals like that and so now must you. Embrace the chaos that is my system of proper noun-ing. Also sign up for the group yourself by clicking here.

This beautiful May month we owe our thanks to the co-hosts  Victoria Marie Lees, Kim Lajevardi, Nancy Gideon, and Cathrina Constantine!

And our question for this IWSG posting is: How do you deal with distractions when you are writing? Do they derail you?

The short answer? YES. SO much de-railing takes place.

derailing gif

The longer answer is to tell you about my writing* process. So lets talk about my writing process, which looks something like this:

  1. An idea ricochets off of my none-too-stable mind, leaves a groove, and starts demanding to know, what if? The thing won’t leave me alone, bugging me with scenes (these usually play out like a movie, always useful when waiting in a boring line) but always that over-arching question: what if? This distracts me easily from things like Daily Life, and so of course a little thing like writing has roughly the same odds as a snowball in a retort of making it through on the rails.
  2. I start writing it down to make it go away. It’s like exorcising an extremely uncooperative demon. Trying to pin it down into some recognizable form, wrestling with the metaphysical and desperately chanting prayers that might work, if I said them right and the demon was in a listening mood (they never are).
  3. I research a little, and then fall down the black hole of random facts and Wikipedia. Distractions abound. Outline a little. Figure out a tentative ending? Because I am a pantser and a neurospicy and this makes things like a “process” pretty laughable, and adds the difficulty of being easily distracted. Hey, look, a squirrel!
  4. By far the hardest step, turning the idea into a 60,000+ word story. This is the part where distractions absolutely send me off the rails, and then I usually keep going. I haven’t seen the tracks in months, let’s be honest.
  5.  After the Sisyphean task of getting all of the words down, the beta reading and critiques seem merely Herculean by comparison. And once the words are down and someone else is reading them, being distracted isn’t an absolute tits-up for the writing process anymore. It’s kind of a relief.


I might be exaggerating a tad. But that’s how it seems to me. Beautiful ideas circle my head refusing to land on the page in my clumsy writing. It’s like getting a lasso around butterflies, but then also not damaging their fragile wings when I try to pin them down. Impossible task.

I hold on to the hope that one day after lots of writing and squeezing out words and editing and writing some more, the emotion will flow more easily from me and onto the page. Practice has to make me better.

Writers in the know, please reassure me. Lie.