Monday, July 8, 2013

Distractions and Rewards

Wow, is that the fourth of July in the rear view mirror? The weeks just keep whizzing by! Summers are like that, aren't they? I always have high hopes for what I'm going to accomplish during these few months. Maybe unrealistically high.

Photo courtesy of Free Artistic Photos
So far, I've made a slight dent in my TBR pile, including several ARCs I received at BEA. Reviews will be coming as their release dates near.

I've also begun work on a new contemporary YA novel. The fact that I've done more pre-planning with this story than ever before doesn't seem to be helping me get words down on the page. I managed a first draft of chapter one and then came to an abrupt halt. After a day or two of frustration, I decided what I needed was a distraction, yet  I couldn't settle my mind enough, even to read. I needed something to get completely lost in. Enter YouTube, where I found Catherine Cookson's The Mallens. This is one of the titles I've never been able to find at our library. When it comes to distractions, this was the jackpot! This is not just a movie, it's a saga: The Mallen Streak, The Mallen Girls, The Mallen Secret, The Mallen Curse. They actually ran as a television series back in 1979. I spent the weekend watching them all. And I don't even feel guilty about it. I wasn't getting anything accomplished anyway.



This wasn't my favorite of Cookson's works, but when you spend ten plus hours with a cast of characters, it's hard not to become enthralled. If you ever want to study flawed characters, they're in abundance here. In fact, they're so flawed that by the end of the movie there was hardly a character left that I genuinely liked.

I'm tempted go back to YouTube to watch the other hard-to-find Cookson titles, but I think I'll save them for another day, maybe as a reward when I get the next chapter written.

What are your best distractions and rewards?


60 comments:

  1. Whoa...that's some hair... =)

    My distractions are Etsy and Pinterest, and writing websites. My rewards are the same, le sigh!

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    1. I haven't given in to Pinterest yet. Maybe someday. . .

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  2. Oh, I do hear you about the need for distractions when I can't crank a few words out. My best distraction and regenerator is a long hike up the mountain. It always does wonders for the brain.

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    1. Yes, walks are always good, Lee. I need to take more of them.

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  3. My distractions are TV and snacking. I'd be there are more.

    It sounds like what you were really doing was "homework" to get you thinking about characters and character development for your own WIP! =)

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    1. Oh, snacking, yes, how did I forget about that. I've gone through more M&Ms this week than I'd like to admit ;)

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  4. I mean, I'd bet there are more.

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  5. I haven't heard of that show.

    I get distracted by Youtube, Goodreads, and a few shopping websites.

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    1. The shopping websites sound dangerous, Medeia ;) I definitely lose time on Goodreads as well.

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  6. I love Pinterest! And Grey's Anatomy--I just started watching it a few months ago and have been recording the old episodes.

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    1. Would you believe I've never seen Grey's Anatomy?

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  7. The entire internet is a distraction, lol! :D

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    1. Well, that's true, Ann. I lose plenty of time there too. But blogging or commenting on message boards, or responding to emails are all about interacting. This time I just needed to relax and do nothing.

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  8. Distractions never helped me get flowing. Scaring myself by telling same self that it's now or NEVER has gotten me back to work. Not necessarily with immediate quality work, but ho-hum flows into good. As long as it's flowing...
    I spent yesterday on YouTube, watching a series from Israel not available to me any other way. But this was a rewards for getting through one phase and before starting another.
    Eager to see your much-researched new WIP materialize. Get off this blog and do it. Then please come back.

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    1. Thanks, Mirka. There definitely needs to be a balance. Wouldn't want to get too distracted I suppose. The goal is always to come back to the work and get it done.

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  9. Hahahaha, Ruth. Riding my horses. They distract me to no end. And also give me quality time with God and the out of doors. Thank you for your prayers. We need them.

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    1. Your distractions sound much more wholesome than mine: horses, God, nature. Must not give in to YouTube next time ;)

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  10. Kids are my distraction. It is hard to focus during the summer isn't it?

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    1. When you put it like that, it makes me realize how quickly things change. Seems like just yesterday I was snatching moments of writing time between school lessons and play dates.

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  11. I didn't realise you could watch entire programmes on youtube! I thought it was just for short clips like home movies. I shall have to check that out now - there's my summer sorted!

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    1. Well, Lizy, the movies are posted in 10-minute increments. So there were around 17 videos for each title. But if you find a channel that has them all, it automatically queues up the next one for you.

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  12. I was just about to say the same as Lizy, I'm going to check it out. I think summer is the perfect time to fill the tank up. Thanks for calling by today.

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    1. That's it, isn't it Catherine. Filling up the tank.

      The movies are posted on YouTube in ten minute increments. So there were around 17 videos for each title. But if you find a channel that has them all, it automatically queues up the next one for you.

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  13. I've never heard of The Mallens. You have my attention. Everything distracts me. Look - a bright color...

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    1. Hahaha. I know who to consult next time I'm in need of a distraction then.

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  14. How wonderful you got to attend BEA. Books are always a great distraction.

    I'm a panster, but I have thoughtful periods when I think about what I'll write in advance. It sounds like even plotters get stuck. I hope you get to the point where words flow!

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    1. Thanks, Theresa. I know I'll find that flow again eventually. The problem is I want it NOW. ;)

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  15. Ha! Yes summer is always overbooked and it annoys me that there aren't enough weekends. I was just on the look out for exceptional characters, but your flawed ones might do in a pinch. lol. They do look interesting.

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    1. Definitely interesting. Do let me know if you watch it. I'd love to hear what you think.

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  16. It can take me months of pondering a book and outlining it until I feel I can start writing. I have to wait until I feel like I know the characters, the plot and the tone completely. I always find surprises along the way as I'm writing, but at least I never write scenes that I have to throw out later. :-)

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    1. Sounds like you've found the system that works for you, Lexa. This planning is all new to me, so I'll not pass judgment yet. We'll see how it all turns out.

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  17. I, too, love to watch movies, and especially series. I'll need to check this one out!

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    1. Like I said, not my favorite of Cookson's titles, but she sure does know how to tell a story.

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  18. Oooo... great question. Definitely music. I love to get lost in a song and just experience it. It's also what inspires me to write, so it's a cycle.

    Good luck with your current project, Ruth. I'm rooting you on!

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    1. Yup, music is another great distraction for me too. Hope you're caught up in the inspiration cycle right now, Morgan. And thanks for your support =D

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  19. Distractions are easy for me...Facebook. Rewards are easy for me...Facebook. Ha ha. Not really (reward-wise, I mean). I like chocolate :D.

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    1. I'd definitely pick chocolate over facebook ;)

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  20. Movies are my distraction... when I just can't get into anything, I put on a oldie and it always gets me motivated:)

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    1. There's just something about the oldies, isn't there?!

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  21. Good luck on your writing! Sounds like you've got a great project going. I'm starting two proposals next week after I finish my copyedits.

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    1. Good luck with the proposals and copy edits, Christina!

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  22. I definitely always have VERY unrealistically high expectations for what I'm going to get donein the summer! I don't know why. You'd think I'd know by now that I get less done with all the kids home... but that doesn't dampen my optimism :) Good luck on your writing - I hope it's going better than mine :) And I will have to check out those Mallen titles!

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    1. I think being overly optimistic is better than the alternative. Keep on dreaming big and setting your expectations high! Good luck with your writing, Susanna =)

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  23. I always think I will get way more done each summer. I often think I should make a shorter list- but I have to try to get it all done. :)

    Hope the writing goes well. The distractions you selected sound perfect. I have never checked out The Mallens- but the series does look interesting!

    I usually read to decompress, garden or go on a walk.
    ~Jess

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    1. Sometimes the long list overwhelms me and others it motivates me to dig in and get things done. But I think you're right, we have to try ;)

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  24. I do get more done in the summer. I think its because i am in a better frame of mind once the gray of winter recedes. Winters, I tend to get nothing done. So I read.

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    1. Yay, Courtney! Glad to hear you're making the most of the summer sunshine. Good for you =D

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  25. It is pretty extraordinary how the time seems to move, particularly on days when I'm abiding by my own timetable and not trying to comply with someone else's. Maybe it's just because the creative work takes more out of me and is slower to get through.

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    1. The days I'm on my own timetable are the days I always think I'll accomplish the most, but very often it's the opposite. If I have more time, I waste more time. On the days that writing time is in short supply, I'm sure to make the most of it.

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  26. Ah, another writer who admits to tv binges upon hitting a writing wall. Thank you! I don't do this often, but I watched House of Cards all the way through, every single episode, over the course of a couple of days. Guiltlessly, given that most of my life consists of a writing binge.

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  27. Facebook is a big distraction and reading is my big reward for getting work done. :)

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  28. Hi Ruth!! I know what you mean about having high expectations for the summer. Most of what I've accomplished is catching up with family and friends, housework and yardwork, and visiting a few local sites. My rewrite seems to be sputtering...oh well. Thanks for the book recommendation. Hope the remainder of your summer is grand!

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  29. It so nice to know that we aren't alone in this journey. I know there are times I need distractions -- so I ended up blogging book reviews. My distraction this summer has been watching PBS' "Downton Abbey" Season 1,2,3 and the "Bletchley Circle," which is really great. Was number 10 of 10 on hold at the library for that one. Hope you have fun the rest of the summer -- that's what they are for.

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  30. Great post. Now for another distraction. I've given you an award. Please find the details at http://www.terriehope.com/apps/blog/show/30630622-friday-focus

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  31. Reading and walking (not at the same time:) are usually good distractions for me. I'm not glad that you had trouble with the draft, but I am happy to know that I am not alone when that happens. If I come up with another solution, will be sure and let you know!

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  32. Gardening works for me! And chocolates!

    All the best!

    Nas

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  33. Oh Ruth, I'm having a difficult time focusing lately, so I've been searching out decades-old TV series that I never watched when they were shown. I won't name any names, but some of them are pretty lightweight yet diverting! :D

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