Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Good Distractions

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I love my home, but I can’t write there anymore. There are just too many distractions, but that’s almost too negative a word because I’m very fortunate to have everything that’s competing for my attention in that apartment. Let’s start with the beautiful girlfriend, who manages to capture my attention in so many different ways. If I’m lucky she’s batting her eyelashes at me with a grin on her face. How do you write with that going on? I’d close the door to the study, except I don’t have a study. I write in the living room and she’s always about twenty feet away no matter what room she’s in. Anyway, not the worst problem to have, although sometimes those bedroom eyes narrow and get angry, most often for silly things like me not wanting to walk to the food co-op with her, or scheduling a weekend of drinking with buddies over a Saturday engagement that she is “100% positive I told you about you douche bag. Don’t even think about it…you’re fucking going.” Sorry Cake Man and Zombie, I don’t think I can make the DC trip. At least my next favorite distraction never gets angry or talks back. Oh Xbox.

I think Xbox 360 was made by God as a test to see just how determined some people really are in their pursuits. I’ve shot that terrorist through his red beret so many god damn times, but I can’t stop going back to shoot him again. It doesn’t matter if I’ve finished the game. I can still play it through on expert. Funny thing was last weekend my girlfriend was in New Orleans, so I actually managed to get two hours of decent writing done one day. I decided to reward myself, and for some reason the best way I could think to do so was to fire up the Xbox to defend virtual United States for six hours straight. I watched the sun go down, but didn’t want to get up to turn on my living room light. I’m just glad I got the girlfriend before I got the Xbox. I hear girls don’t dig guys sitting in their boxers, wearing headsets, and talking to their buddies across the city with videogame controllers in their hands.

“Are you talking to them or playing with them?”

“Both! What don’t you understand!?”

Have you ever been writing and making progress on a scene, and then suddenly the next moment you’re looking at porn and you don’t even remember how you got there? Cake Man says he disconnects the internet when he writes. I’m just going to assume the scenario that makes me giggle the most. You should do the same.

Anyway, to get back on track I’ll just say there are a lot of things at my apartment that I like, but they aren’t helping my writing much these days. So I’ve decided to return to a practice I abandoned several months ago and start writing at work again after work hours. In most cases once the clock strikes five I’m still in work mode and have a get shit done type of mentality. Some people have told me they don’t have the discipline for an after work routine at the office, but I think it takes more discipline to keep motivated for writing once you arrive back home at your sanctuary. This is the practice that led to some of the best writing I’ve experienced. Since I’ve gone back to working at the office I can say for certain that I’ve moved past my recent slump. It’s a beautiful thing to see that you’ve written four new pages in a day when it took you all of last month to reach that number. If anybody out there has been having trouble with turning out pages and you have a work environment that would allow you to stay on for an hour or two to write, I’d strongly recommend you give it a try. If you hate your job, knowing that your workplace has been a creative temple for your craft could give you a new appreciation for your space. No matter how much I might dislike arriving at my desk early in the morning, I’ll always know that this is the space where I wrote one of my strongest scripts, and that means something to me.


DOA said...

The funny thing about distraction is that, unlike Cakeman, I can't write if I don't have internet. Half of it is because I'm always on or wikipedia, the other half is that I actually NEED distraction to write. I check the weather 10, 20 times, I walk to the kitchen and wash half the dishes, I shower 2, 3 times. My old roommate used to have infomercial on while she writes for white noise purposes. On the other hand, if suddenly I have to THINK about my distraction, all is lost. I have many times suddenly realize that I've been drooling over for godknows how long rather than writing. Or if my boyfriend is within walking distance, forget it. He doesn't even need to bat his damn eyelash.

I'm confined to write at my apt since I can't install Final Draft on my work computer and my laptop is maddeningly slow, but have you tried cafe or any other place to write?

'Backer said...

Last year, I did a page-one rewrite at a Starbucks on 42nd street. I'd take my laptop to work three days in a week, then I got into a routine: order a grande, skim latte, write for an hour and a half, and go home. Starbucks does not allow free wireless, so I didn't have that distraction. Everything from clientele to the background music provided a great atmosphere.

I agree with Onyx about the distractions, but I've often wondered if it's the simple act of going home that makes it more difficult to write. Whether it's conscious or not, I usually find myself shutting-down switch when I leave the office, making it difficult to be productive. Lately I've been trying to curb it by going for a jog and then making myself food. But sometimes this leaves me tired.

I doubt you'll find me schlepping my laptop to Starbucks anytime soon. We had a company outting last night, and I told my boss that I'm here if anyone needs me (accounting is an inherently reactive job), but I'm going to start writing at work. He said it was fine. It took guts for me to ask. It'll take more guts to ask when he's sober.

Cake Man said...

Onyx, Onyx, Onyx... it's all about will power, my friend. Since I often don't have much when it comes to killing time online - no, NOT always porn, you funny little man - I unplug the computer. Xbox is another temptress, but I have her under control. But, I think you're right - it's all about your space. I'm looking forward to writing in my new abode. It's giving me good vibes. Now just to unpack my computer...