Writing Through Distractions

I cannot write through distractions, not real ones, anyway.

Yes, I can write and listen to music. Sometimes, music can inspire my muse.

I can write while I eat a sandwich, drink my juice infused water, or let the cat sit on my lap. But turn on the TV? I’m done.

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I just have to look.

I don’t know how people write or do homework or do anything that requires concentration in front of a television. I see people doing it all the time, but I’m not one of them. I would just stare at my computer screen while I kept sneaking glances at the TV until I was just watching TV. Even if whatever was on was something I didn’t care about. Even if it was something I didn’t like.

To write, I need to focus.

In college, I used to hide away in breakout rooms to study. I seldom studied with anyone else because then I couldn’t study.

I know the rage today is multi-tasking. Easy enough if the work requires little to no thought. But the moment it is a difficult or in-depth problem, I need to focus on it. I will set time aside in my work calendar to dedicate to a particularly difficult analysis. If our open concept office environment isn’t conducive when I need it to be, I will squirrel away in a conference room.

If I need to think, I need to minimize distractions.

I really like to have that kind of focus when I write, but sometimes my only writing time comes while DD gets her episode of TV before she goes to bed. Focus is impossible for me as DD watches My Little Pony. Until she’s watched the same episode the 15th time (thanks Netflix!), and then I can mostly tune it out.

It’s so bad I have a hard time paying attention to conversations I really care about when someone has the TV on. I actually have a hard time hearing their words over the light and noise box clambering for my attention.I simply can’t do sports bars. I feel like my head is going to explode from information overload as all those channels bear down on me.

At our house, we generally do not have the TV on unless it is being actively watched. Probably because of me. Okay, definitely because of me. Most other people seem to have it on as background noise and don’t even notice it.

Ahhh, to not notice children’s television programming. Now that truly is a gift.

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