Look If You Dare: A Peek Into a Sometimes Writer’s Mind

My writing space.  Sometimes paper, sometimes digital....my mind can't decide.
My writing space. Sometimes paper, sometimes digital….my mind’s all over the place.

The kids are in bed.  I can finally write.  Where are my- ah, there are my novel notes.  I read several paragraphs to get back into the story.

Did I make the car payment?

I add several sentences.  I re-read and it’s awful. Delete it all.

Yes! Perfect idea!

I type eight words before stumbling into fog.

When was the field trip permission slip due?  I unearth the form sent from school.  Another week to procrastinate; I toss it aside.

I have the attention span of… aw, look at the adorable kitties!

01-09 kitties


Did I mention I have a blog?


In case you’re wondering what exactly you just read:  Nancy at Spirit Lights the Way is having a little contest and she’s giving away prizes (number of prizes depends on number of entries).  Click here to see the contest details and submit your own entry.  It’s only 33 to 100 words…you can do it!  (Mine came in right at 100 words.  Whew!)

I chose to write about how I write (or don’t write, as often is the case).  Now that I look at it, the format may not count as essay.  It’s more of a peek into an average writing night for me.  Scary, isn’t it?  Let me tell you, it takes a lot of time to be this unproductive!

So it seems I have a short attention span and I can’t follow directions either. (I don’t have to wonder why I’m not a household name :))

58 thoughts on “Look If You Dare: A Peek Into a Sometimes Writer’s Mind

  1. Tori Nelson January 9, 2013 / 4:38 AM

    Ha! I found this post comforting. I’m not alone! I’m so used to stopping and starting a million times while writing that if I have any length of uninterrupted time to type I don’t know what to do with myself. Wall staring, that’s how that normally goes 🙂

    • jannatwrites January 10, 2013 / 8:06 AM

      Wall staring, huh? I can’t even do that because then I’d see the crooked pictures and feel compelled to go straighten them 🙂 You’re getting blog posts done regularly, so I think that deserves some credit, Tori!

  2. Seyi sandra January 9, 2013 / 4:57 AM

    Wow! Great post, that’s me on my worst days, I usually shut down my computer and sauntered to bed, and if I can’t sleep, I’ll go back again until I finally when my head is typing for me then I’ll get the hint and scramble off… Life of a writer!

    • jannatwrites January 10, 2013 / 7:39 AM

      I’m glad you can relate, Seyi (but I’m sorry that you feel the frustration of relating to it!) It’s so hard to just pack it in and go to bed…it’s like I’m giving up. I think this is why I do so many short stories – I can get them done in about an hour…not a long period of concentration and I get the endorphin rush of feeling like I accomplished something. I appreciate you stopping by and taking time to share your experience.

  3. J. P. Cabit January 9, 2013 / 5:05 AM

    You are so not alone. Here is what is on my desk right now: A bonsai tree, a little red fan (that’s not plugged in, it’s only there because I like the color!), a bottle with wooden roses and dried flowers, university payment papers, two candles, receipts, a q-tip (unused, never fear…), two pens, chapstick, coupons that expired a month ago, a pop-tart, and a tin can with matches in it. This is after I’ve cleaned up, mind you. I think it’s just a personality type, really. Oh well, at least you got some writing done! Right?…

    • jannatwrites January 10, 2013 / 7:43 AM

      Your desk cracked me up. A Pop Tart, Seph….really? Good news it that it has enough preservatives, it should keep until 2027 🙂 (That being said, I do love the cherry ones!) As for the matches…they could easily be used to take care of a cluttered desk problem 🙂

      Sure, I get writing done, but not much on the novel. I gravitate to short stories so I can feel the rush of knowing I completed something. (Yes, I know the short-term gratification makes a novel an impossibility…that’s something I’m working on!) Glad you stopped by….haven’t ‘seen’ you around in a while.

  4. suzicate January 9, 2013 / 5:19 AM

    Boy, do I relate to this!

    • jannatwrites January 10, 2013 / 7:44 AM

      I’m so sorry, Suzicate – it can be so annoying! I’ll pray we find focus this year 🙂

  5. nrhatch January 9, 2013 / 6:23 AM

    Yes! This is EXACTLY the sort of thing I was hoping for . . . a glimpse through the window at our writing lives with an accompanying photo. Perfect. Thanks, Janna.

    Hope Tori, Suzi, Jasmine, J.P., etc., will decide to play along. The more the messier . . . er, I mean, merrier. 😀

    • jannatwrites January 10, 2013 / 7:47 AM

      Really? You mean I actually followed directions? Well, that was completely unintentional, Nancy! I read a couple of the other entries and they were so thoughtful and introspective…and this came-into-my-mind-at midnight post certainly isn’t. I hope you do get more entrants…it’s a fun idea!

  6. Debbie January 9, 2013 / 9:22 AM

    Janna, sometimes I have the exact same problem staying focused! There are sooo many distractions when you’re responsible for things other than just writing — things like another (paying!) job, family, household chores, and even pets. And why, when we finally get a few minutes to ourselves, do we squander it worrying about that other stuff, rather than concentrating on our writing??!

    • jannatwrites January 10, 2013 / 7:52 AM

      Debbie, you asked the question that I’ve wondered, too. I have no idea why I let other stuff sneak in on “my” time. Each month, I keep thinking, “okay, things will slow down now.” Each month, time laughs at me. Right now, we are planning the annual Cub Scout dinner (which happens in February), I’m coordinating the spring Cub Scout fundraiser that starts next month, and I have to make sure all of my scouts have their requirements done to cross over into Boy Scouts in March. Dare I say, I will have time to write more in April? 😆

  7. pattisj January 9, 2013 / 10:23 AM

    You have summed up nicely what it means to be a writer.

    • jannatwrites January 10, 2013 / 7:53 AM

      Thanks, Patti. I thought I was the only one who couldn’t get focus. I’m a little surprised at my company 🙂

  8. C.S. Severe January 9, 2013 / 7:22 PM

    The distractions are endless and if you can bleed 200 words on the page, then you are a trooper. 500- you deserve an award for being so amazing. 1000 words – you are a writing god.

    • jannatwrites January 10, 2013 / 7:57 AM

      Okay, before I pat myself on the back (or kick myself in the rear) I have to ask: Do blog comments count as writing?

      That’s the difference between me being a loser (a level below ‘trooper’) and a writing god! 😆

      Seriously though, it’s pretty bad. During my sort of time off in December, I managed to write about 1600 words on my novel. I need to get out of my frame of mind that I can’t make real progress without a large block of time, otherwise, it’s never going to happen. I’m not going to get three hours of uninterrupted writing time.

      Thanks for stopping by, C.S. Severe. I really enjoyed your comment…it made me laugh.

  9. pattyabr January 9, 2013 / 9:26 PM

    I can relate to the distraction piece. Pretty kitties!

    • jannatwrites January 10, 2013 / 8:07 AM

      Thanks, Patty. Those are my sons’ cats but they keep me company when I’m on the computer late at night. Maybe 2013 will be the year of focus?

  10. nyparrot January 10, 2013 / 10:14 AM

    Happy, Inspiring and Prosperous 2013 to you and your family!:-)

    • jannatwrites January 11, 2013 / 9:44 PM

      Thanks, Nyparrot…I hope you have a happy 2013, too 🙂

      • nyparrot January 11, 2013 / 11:23 PM

        Thank you so much, actually – I do!!?:-)

  11. Tessa January 10, 2013 / 1:43 PM

    🙂 Less interruptions than me. I have the focus of a gnat. LOL!

    • jannatwrites January 11, 2013 / 9:46 PM

      Focus is the hard part, Tessa. Glad I’m not alone on that!

      • Tessa January 12, 2013 / 12:06 PM

        Nope not alone. Probably a lot of us. Sometimes though something has to be written and there are no focus problems.

        • jannatwrites January 12, 2013 / 7:33 PM

          The moments of clarity (distraction-free periods) are so nice, Tessa.

        • Tessa January 13, 2013 / 10:39 AM

          Course it helps that I don’t have kids, just a cat that sometimes is quiet and sleeping LOL!

  12. diannegray January 10, 2013 / 2:48 PM

    LOL! A reflection of my life 😉

    • jannatwrites January 11, 2013 / 9:46 PM

      Oh, I doubt that, Dianne… You’ve at least written and published several books, so it can’t be that bad 🙂

      • diannegray January 12, 2013 / 11:55 AM

        I takes very little for me to get sidetracked, Janna 😉

        • jannatwrites January 12, 2013 / 7:34 PM

          And you still get books written…life is so NOT fair, Dianne 😀

  13. agjorgenson January 10, 2013 / 6:09 PM

    I have a well checked email: my favorite distraction when I hit a blank.

    • jannatwrites January 11, 2013 / 9:48 PM

      Email is good distraction…several hours can slip away unnoticed if I’m not careful! Glad you stopped by, Ajorgenson.

  14. styler2013 January 10, 2013 / 8:39 PM

    LOVE that you still use paper at least for notes in your writing! I did that always with my novels. I even used blank sketchbooks. Maybe I’ll get back to that if I can get back to the novel form and like you find the space in my head to focus for more than 2 seconds before I remember that I DID forget to sign that permission slip..

    • jannatwrites January 11, 2013 / 9:51 PM

      Hehehe…those silly permission slips! I work both on paper and PC…I like working on the PC so I don’t have to retype everything. However, paper comes in handy when I can’t use a computer. Hope you find focus in 2013, Styler2013

  15. GodGirl January 11, 2013 / 1:32 AM

    Haha – this made me chuckle. What is a writer’s life without distractions hey?

    • jannatwrites January 11, 2013 / 9:52 PM

      I’m glad you were entertained, GodGirl. I wish this were an exaggeration 🙂

  16. Widdershins January 11, 2013 / 1:00 PM

    Ah yes, the flea-brain-on-speed variation of deflection and avoidance! 😀

    • jannatwrites January 11, 2013 / 9:53 PM

      Hahaha! Your comment cracked me up, Widdershins 🙂

  17. Reyn January 12, 2013 / 9:58 PM

    Relatable posts huh! This is what i am way back when i opened a blog. Nice entry..

    • jannatwrites January 13, 2013 / 12:38 AM

      Thanks, Reyn. The ability to concentrate should not be taken for granted!

  18. Imelda January 13, 2013 / 7:20 PM

    Essay or not, that was a nicely written piece. It brought your writing methods or non-method 😉 to life. 🙂 Wow, here you are, easily distracted as you say and yet producing lovely written works. What will happen if you only need to think about your piece? 🙂 Ah, well, you might get bored. 😀 Just teasing.

    • jannatwrites January 14, 2013 / 11:42 PM

      Thanks for your words of encouragement, Imelda! I don’t know if I am physically capable of concentrating anymore. I doubt I’d get bored, but one day, I hope to find out 🙂

  19. viviankirkfield January 24, 2013 / 8:49 PM

    Hello Janna…nice to connect via Nancy’s contest. Your post made me feel so comfortable…yes, unless we have the ability to leave this world…as in live in a monastery or hermit’s hut…we must deal with the daily responsibilities and obligations that go with that…bills to be paid, dishes to be washed, etc. Which is why I am always so impressed with the beautiful words people write while juggling all of those mundane things. 🙂

    • jannatwrites January 25, 2013 / 9:18 PM

      Thanks for stopping by to let me know you read my entry, Vivian! I would have to agree that everyone is so busy, but there is a lot of good writing out there. It’s amazing, if you think about it 🙂

      • viviankirkfield February 2, 2013 / 1:43 PM

        Congratulations, Janna! Your entry is one of the seven finalists in Nancy’s contest.:)

        • jannatwrites February 3, 2013 / 12:02 AM

          Thanks, Vivian! I’m just now catching up on things a bit and will soon check out the other finalists.

  20. Grannymar January 31, 2013 / 5:11 AM

    I am here via Nancy’s competition – my first ever. I am loving how everyone has a unique way of treating the subject. Now, if only my attention span fog would lift…..

    • jannatwrites January 31, 2013 / 11:12 PM

      I’m glad you stopped by, Grannymar. I still have to get back and read more of the entries.

  21. coyotero2112 February 3, 2013 / 7:12 AM

    A tip on swimming in rough oceans – dive down into the wave, let it rush over you, then come on the other side for air and calmer waters. I do this every day – literally and metaphorically…it works for both. And, of course I voted for you, and didn’t have to use 33 words to do it. Can’t compete with you and your 33 word proewess.

    • jannatwrites February 3, 2013 / 10:49 PM

      I will keep your advice in mind (metaphorically). I have a fear of oceans and don’t swim in them (I did do some snorkeling in a calm bay area, though.)

      I appreciate your support/kind words, Coyotero. The problem with 33 words is that I’m afraid I’m getting to the point that I can’t write a longer thought!

      • coyotero2112 February 4, 2013 / 7:24 AM

        Asked to greet someone in 33 words – I would have to edti for an hour. And, I don’t feel I’m very social. Some sort of cognitive dissonance, I fear.

        • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:03 PM

          A 33-word greeting would be hard, Coyotero. I’m not all that social, but I end up babbling because I get nervous!

  22. Tom (Aquatom1968) February 3, 2013 / 2:58 PM

    Hello Janna – good luck with your entry. That fog you mention.,.. I know it very well!

    • jannatwrites February 3, 2013 / 11:00 PM

      I guess it’s comforting to know that others recognize the fog, Tom…to bad I can’t see anyone else.

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