Monday, August 16, 2010

The Battle

Since last week's theme was a topic I hadn't touch in quite some time (work), I thought that a good theme for the next half dozen posts Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! or so, would be a writing. And why not? Surely you miss my ramblings, rumblings, grumblings, musings, whinings, moanings and groanings about one of the main components that this blog was originally built on.

So without further ado, I present to you for your reading pleasure (or confusion), the opening salvo of what I hope, besides taking one and a half minutes out of your very interesting day, will be a week or two of truly fascinating and 100% certifiably abby-normal posts about writing.

Early one Sunday morning, I gathered up my implements of self destruction (pen, paper, lap desk and short story) and headed outside to my favorite office space to work on my short story.

Note: My office (such as it is), is located at the base of the perfect triangle. I am between two trees (the base) and directly to my right is Cedar Mountain. This triangle is the only place in my yard where 98% of the time, the sun does not shine and the temp's always 10 degrees cooler.

Like I said, my intention was to work on my short story, and in fact I started doing just that. While I was doing some grammar oriented editing (always do that before I start writing fresh material), I was thinking about the second phase of the plot and how I was going to go about writing it.

However, while I was thinking about that particular issue, another issue started to worm its way into my subconscious. What issue? The great outdoors. Like I've stated on many occasions, my neighborhood is like a slice of country smack dab in the middle of suburbia.

The first inkling that this might be a morning in which no writing, save for this blog post, would get done, was when a robin flew by just a few feet from my face. After watching it for several seconds prancing around my backyard, I turned my attention back to my story. However, It wasn't long until the various sounds and visuals of the mountain and the neighborhood started to worm its way into my brain.

What sounds and visuals?

Like, the various birds that either call the mountain their home or use it as a rest area to better places. A staggered cacophony of feathered friends, while great for cleansing the spirit, is murder when you're trying to hash out plot details.

Like, people walking or driving by. Not too much of a distraction when people are walking by, because in my neck of the woods, you can often see people at their most unguarded. Driving is a little more distracting. Because the side road is seldom traveled on the weekend, driving instructors often use it to have their students practice their K turns, so I wanna make sure that they don't one, drive into my back fence (some 15 feet away from the road) and two, into the ditch some one foot from the road.

Like, feeling the semi-cool mountain breeze blowing down and across the yard and setting off all 19 wind chimes.

As you can probably guess, I lost the battle. After about a half hour, I cried uncle. Instead of spending time tying to crank out another 400 words (not very easy if you're saddled with the physical limitations I've got and you're deathly afraid of voice software) for my story, I took the blank paper that was sitting in front of me, and wrote this blog post lamenting the fact that once again I chose to sacrifice my troops by crossing a river at a bridge instead of going downstream a few hundred yards and crossing it there.

I know, a very bad and probably pointless analogy, but I do so enjoy working in truly minute (and 100% verifiable) minutia into my blog posts.


  1. I'm blessed because whenever I write everything surrounding me falls away. I've sat in the middle of a busy mall with folks swirling around, typing away.

  2. Oh G, lol you need some really nice headphones. Not to listen to anything just to block the outside noises. :)Bea

  3. well sometimes you just have to be productive with what comes to you.

  4. Do you find that when the writing is going well that nothing (not even a bomb going off in close proximity) can distract you? I'm sorry you had such a distraction filled time, but I enjoyed reading about it. :)

    You really should try the voice-activated software. It's pretty cool. Takes some adjusting to speak writing instead of write writing (if that makes any sense), but it takes the strain off the fingers. I haven't ever used mine when the birds are singing close-by, but I think it would ignore them - lol!

  5. David: I have the ability with reading. With a good book, ain't nothing gonna get to me.

    Writing is a bit different. I used to go to the mall for the unfamilar people that surrounded me in the vain hopes of doing writing without the familar surounding me. Didn't work out too well and now the only way I can write is with very minimal distraction in a familar but none too friendly surroundings.

    Bea: Sadly, my hearing is halfway there, so what I got left I cherish. However, I did move to a new set of digs right on my deck, and that has seemed to do the trick for me.

    Charles: Absolutely. The old cliche applies here, when life gives you lemons, make lemon flavored jello shots.

    Talon: I tried to do original writing with my Dragon software. Unfortunately, I developed a major brain freeze in the process. Whereas it's pretty easy to write the normal way, going from brain to voice is way more difficult than imagined it to be. So, I use my Dragon mostly for dictating what I wrote by hand to the screen.

  6. Minutiae is the stuff of life, are you kidding? :)

  7. Sometimes they are, and sometimes they aren't.

    Minutiae only works when other people find it amusing or interesting. It does not work on intellectuals and those who find microfilming exciting to talk about.

  8. I think you should give the voice software a try. I've heard good things about how it jumpstarts creativity. And it could be fun!

  9. Kelly: I do have voice software, but for the time being, I use it more for dictation then I do actual writing.

    Still don't quite have the nerve to write with my voice as opposed to using my hands.


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