Do you ever feel like you're so preoccupied with constructing fictional lives for your characters that you fail at real life?
We all multitask, right? Whether we're good at it or not. We're trying to get more done in a day than is reasonable so we try to juggle more and more.
I am not great at multitasking. Mostly, I am aware of this shortcoming. I don't talk on my phone while driving. In fact, if you know me well and you're riding in the car with me, when I come to a particularly hairy intersection, you stop talking and let me focus. (Yes, I turn down the radio, too.)
The other night, when I finally peeled myself away from the computer to prepare dinner, my mind was still on my WIP. In my head, I was writing the next scene as I prepared two dishes - chicken Parmesan for my husband and I, and a stuffed chicken breast for my daughter. When the timer rang, the table was set and we were ready to eat. I went to the oven and pulled out one casserole dish. My daughter's dinner was done, but where was the chicken Parm? It didn't take long for me to find it--in the fridge. I have no idea why I put it there and no recollection of doing so, because my head was in a fictional land of my own making, putting words in my characters' mouths instead of dinner on the table.
Do you make these blunders, or are you better at turning your stories on and off?
Many writers have this problem, it seems! Luckily I don't cook, and I tend to switch on and off from my story thoroughly (unless I allow myself to drift to it while doing other stuff). I don't like multitasking. It slows me down and I'm already not the fastest arrow in the quiver ...ReplyDelete
You are not alone there Ruth. I'm multitasking all the time with an epic fail most of the time.ReplyDelete
Ha! I so do that. Though, honestly, it doesn't take my writing to distract me that much. Everyday life is enough to end up with the roast in the pantry and the hot pad in the fridge. My personal favorites are when I get everything ready, but forget to actually put the pan in the oven. And when I put the soap in the dishwasher but then don't turn it on. It's a good thing dinner is late because we don't have any clean dishes....ReplyDelete
"I don't talk on my phone while driving. " Ha! If I believed in past lives, I would have said this is yet another proof we were twins in another life. I won't use a blue-tooth or any other toothy thing while driving, which is challenging enough.ReplyDelete
I find that the only multi-tasking I can do decently reagrds things that are neither deep nor demanding. Sure, I can walk and chew gum at the same time.
Yes, I do find myself doing this sort of thing. Found a side dish in the microwave one time (while we were eating dinner) that I had forgotten about. I'm usually good with details, well, overall anyway, but the busier I am, the worse it seems to get. I think I need to hire a stunt double to do things like laundry and make dinner so that I can focus more on writing. Or perhaps we could do a timeshare thing with one, you get the stunt double for two weeks, then I will for two weeks...I'm thinking our productivity and fully completed meals might increase. :)ReplyDelete
Oh, dear! I hope you got a full belly that night! Just the other week I cooked two baked poatoes in the microwave for ten minutes, opened the door...and realized I'd never put the potatoes in. *face palm*ReplyDelete
What did you guys eat?ReplyDelete
I work, blog, and watch movies at the same time. So far nothing as gone awry...
I hear you, Ruth! I do stuff like that all the time! I am a terrible multitasker, though I wish it were different because I always have so much to do :)ReplyDelete
This tends to happen to me when I am more tired than usual. Trying to do a lot and having a lot on your mind can cause some things to get mixed up. :) I can't think of any specific examples- but it has happened to me! Hope you still had something to eat- and your story must be a great one. :)ReplyDelete
Oh, yes indeedy, I sure do make those blunders! Almost poured coffee into an upside-down mug the other day! I turn the radio down in the car, too, and stop talking to anyone with me when I'm at a hairy spot while driving or trying to find the place I'm going to. But other than that, some of my best brain storming is done while driving!ReplyDelete
On any given day I may find a carton of milk beside my laptop and a cup of steaming coffee in the fridge. I constantly go into rooms and then forget what I went there for. I've put things on the stove and come back later to find I never lit the burner. I've gone to the store with a list and gotten home to discover I forgot something even though the list was right in front of my eyes. I often have the TV on as I'm editing. When a foreign language channel is on, I may not realize it for half an hour, or I may actually turn up the volume, thinking that if the Polish/Italian/French is louder, then I'll understand it. I have to stop now. It's too embarrassing. :PReplyDelete
Thanks for the comment:) I have to admit that it depends on the day:) Some day I menage to be multitasking,others not:)ReplyDelete
I'm pretty good at multi-tasking, but I'd rather focus on one thing at time. I'm still thinking about my WIPs when I'm doing other things.ReplyDelete
Oh dear! Multi-tasking is a myth, definitely. I think the time has come for you to hire a chef! How lovely would that be.ReplyDelete
Haha. I could totally seeing myself doing something similar. The only way I manage to multitask at all is with the help of lists. Without my handy lists telling me what I should be doing next, I'd probably never get anything done.ReplyDelete
No one can multi-task. :-) Like Anna, I have lists. And reminders on my phone. And calendars, both on my phone and fridge. Not necessarily because of the stories I'm writing or my characters -- they add to the confusion -- but because I'm all kinds of forgetful.ReplyDelete
It's to the point where I almost don't recognize the sound of the oven timer anymore. I've gotten so used to tuning out background info when I work, that I've started automatically tuning out the oven timer. Not good!ReplyDelete
Do I ever make blunders like that?! Yes!! Thank you for owning up because it reassures me that it's not some kind of irreversible ageing process. I hope your husband was happy to wait for the dish to be cooked!ReplyDelete
Oh, yes, I do this kind of thing too often. Last night, I dutifully collected trash from around the house and put it in the garbage can. Then I forgot to put the garbage can at the curb because my mind was on the blog tour. Thankfully, I remembered this morning before it was too late.ReplyDelete
Ha ha, your poor hubby! And yes, I make those blunders a lot. However, other than driving, I'm not too bad at multi-tasking. I've had to be as working in human resources most my life and in the admin world, I would have been a complete failure if I couldn't handle a few tasks at one time.ReplyDelete
But like you, I'm not so good at talking and multi-tasking while driving. I hate when my phone rings because as soon as I answer it... the danger begins!
And just like you, my mind doesn't stop when I have a character or book idea in my mind. In fact, if I don't turn my brain off from writing by 8:00pm, then I won't be able to ever get to sleep. I've tossed and turned and gotten up to write down notes, many a time all night long!
I've done that kind of thing too! And yes, I turn down the radio when things get intense.ReplyDelete
Hey, I've done that too ... multitasking is a myth. We pretty much shift our focus from one task to another, in reality, so it's practically impossible to be fully engaged in two tasks simultaneously.ReplyDelete
I could pretty much have written this post. I also turn the radio down when facing a hairy intersection, an unfamiliar neighborhood, or when I know my freeway exit must be coming up any mile now. I agree that multitasking is a myth and that most people aren't as good at it as they think. I also heard about some study that showed the subjects got two tasks done faster if they did them consecutively rather than trying to multitask them.ReplyDelete
You sound like me. :)
Hi Ruth I nominated you for the Libster Award if you'd like to partecipate take a look at my blog:)ReplyDelete
This post made me smile, Ruth. (I have put the boxed cereal in my fridge before!) Usually what happens to me is an inability to fall asleep. I have fictional characters visiting me most nights!ReplyDelete
Lol! Yes! It happens to me too!ReplyDelete
Oh man, I make these sorts of slip ups all of the time. I prefer to do one task at a time, I really function better that way, but my current life necessitates multi-tasking. Which is why my husband's breakfast cereal ended up in the Tupperware cabinet instead of the pantry.ReplyDelete
Ruth, I love that graphic with the feet and the arrows - it depicts the little dance I find myself doing when I've got too many things going at once! And your dinner slip-up? I've done similar things many times. I no longer believe in The Myth of Multitasking!ReplyDelete