Sunday, November 6, 2011
Distraction vs. Stimulation
We have all heard of writers block. I can say that I have never had that problem. If anything I always have too many ideas and things to write and that causes me more trouble than anything. The question for me has always been what to do about that.
Many of us try isolation. That will not work for me. Most of the best things I create come from stimulation. I follow that with short bouts of quiet but intensive work. Gardening and taking long walks work for me.
The problem with using stimulation for inspiration is the double edged sword that creates. Stimulation can lead to distraction, and in many cases can be a crutch I use as avoidance.
Once we get on the track of avoidance it is very difficult to get back in the writing groove. Finding that balance of what is just enough stimulation without going over to the other side where it becomes an avoidance technique disguised at distraction is very tough.
With the proliferation of the internet, this problem has increased tenfold for writers. It was easy back in the day to just stop watching daytime tv. Soap operas, game shows and talk shows, sprinkled with just the right amount of sitcom reruns were easy to get tired of and be driven back towards the blank page.
The internet is all together different. It is the entertainment Super Bowl. A never ending amount of interesting books, videos and games that can totally pre-occupy you until the day, the week and possibly your year has slipped away.
The dilemma becomes that most of us writers need the internet. It is how we interact with other writers. It's how we get most of our research. It is where the majority of our feedback comes from. In most cases, we use our computers to write and store ideas and stories. Most of these are linked to an internet connection. Like a potential link to a porn site, that is so tempting. If you see it enough, you are bound to want to click at some point. Once you do, distraction takes over.
At that point you are both distracted and stimulated at the same time, but you are not productive in the least. It is a battle most of us face these days. For me, it is a real battle I struggle with on an ongoing basis.