Saturday, 11 April 2015

Lesson Learned - from The Bride, Prejudice and the Red October

Why list this post as writing advice? Because I learned a valuable lesson this past Easter weekend. The lesson was an important one, but it took me two days of procrastination and time wasting to realise what an idiot I had been.

The backstory :) 
I was home alone. My husband, Francois, was away on a photographic excursion with some friends, and I thought here was my chance to write the 15 000 words I needed to get ahead in Camp NaNoWriMo for the week ahead. I do some freelance work and since they are deadline driven, I thought two birds with one stone! I get ahead while I have no other person's needs to worry about, and then I could focus on the freelance work and get those articles done on time. Yeah, right. My good intentions didn't go as planned.
I have my own office at home, and use an old computer (and I mean, really old) to play DVDs while I am writing. They are pure background noise, since I know the stories backwards! This computer is on a desk to my right, so I can only hear the soundtrack. If I want to watch, I have to move my chair 90 degrees, and then I cannot write.

The lesson :(
This past weekend, being alone and all, I relocated my writing laptop, my DVDs with my writing notes and pen, and coffee mug to the living room. I put on a DVD, the sound of the television is so much better than a computer after all, and settled in to write.
And then I didn't. I might write about a hundred words, but then I had to get up and walk around or make a cup of coffee or play with one of the dogs. I never seemed to be able to get going. It was a little better at night, but not much. For some silly reason I did this exact same thing for two days.
Then it hit me like fist to the forehead - I might have watched these movies to the point that I could actually recite the dialogue, of each character, and in order - it was the visuals that kept distracting me. What an idiot!
I relocated to my office, put the DVD in the drive of my old computer, let it play and wrote about 8000 words in one day.
I didn't make my 15 000 word count target for the weekend, but I learned a valuable lesson: I can tune out music and dialogue from the soundtracks to write, but I cannot tune out the visuals of these stories.
I am still ahead of my word count target, and have started working on the freelance articles, but now I have to juggle my available time with better planning and management.

Just goes to show you - even an old dog like me, can learn a new trick!