Saturday, 5 April 2014

Writing Distracted versus Knowing When You're Beaten

At this very moment, I'm sitting here attempting to write this post while my seven-year-old son is playing a computer game on his daddy's computer, less than five feet away from me. Which means that, while attempting to put words on a screen that actually sound like a human being with a working brain, my world is filled with the sounds of:

"CHING-CHING-CHING CH-CHING! DUUUUUUDDDE! AWW DUUUUUDDDDE," *pounding of jumping feet and sound of several nearby objects crashing to the floor from the vibrations* "CHI-CHING CHING AAAAAAHHHHH NO-NO-NO-NO DUUUUUUUUUDDDDE!!"

And guess what? Today is the first day of his two-and-a-half weeks of Easter holiday.

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my little laddie and I'm thoroughly looking forward to spending time with him, doing all kinds of things out there in the big wide world outside while he's off school. And he is independent enough now that he can find other things to occupy himself for a two-hour period of a day without needing my constant supervision. So, grabbing my precious two-hour daily writing slot even while he's at home should still be doable, right?

Well yeah - in theory... the 'theory' being that I can still make my brain work while an accompanying backing track that sounds like a cross between the lyrics of a Katy Perry song and a battle scene from 'Lord of The Rings' plays constantly at ear-splitting volume nearby. Seven-year-old boys are incapable of playing any game - computer or otherwise - quietly, as anyone who has one will know. And, as a mum, I am also constantly aware of the potential for damage and/or danger that can come from the actions of a mega-excited seven-year-old living the dream of being a Jedi Knight in a tiny terraced Victorian house. It's not like you can afford to just switch off and ignore the racket entirely - you gotta keep one ear open just in case...

I don't know if this is a universal truth (since I'm only married to the one bloke) but my impression is that Dads (i.e. men) appear to be wired differently. They have this innate ability to focus in so deeply on whatever they're doing that the rest of the world almost seems to disappear into the ether. My husband can sit in the same room with my son, tapping away at his laptop or watching something on the telly, and remain completely oblivious to the chaos unfolding around him, to the extent that my son will come and find me elsewhere in the house and say "Mummy, can you get me a drink, please? I've asked Daddy ten million times but he won't listen to me." (Don't worry - it was probably only about three times really, but my son has a sublime gift for exaggeration.)

HOW DO YOU GUYS DO THAT? No seriously - what's the technique? Because if I can't master it, I'm thinking that I might have to give up on the idea of sticking to my writing schedule for the next two-and-a-half weeks. I don't really want to do that - even thinking about it makes me sad. But then, so does the idea of spending every two-hour session writing six words (five of which I hate so much I'm probably going to to delete next time anyway) because I can't stay 'in the zone' for more than thirty seconds at a time.

Hmmm. Need to decide which of the two options I hate the sound of less, I suppose, and go with that. Sorry this isn't an upbeat post today, but I have, throughout the time of writing this, been hearing mangled lyrics of various songs mixed with shrieks, lines from Star Wars movies and occasional suspicious-sounding crashes and clatters. And it's kind of hard to concentrate.

I am completely and utterly open to any advice or suggestions, believe me.

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