Feeling Distracted?

Let me begin with an update.  Following on from my last post, mentioning that I am testing the service offered by FeedARead, and a suggestion in the comments, from Nick Gerrard (thanks Nick!), I have now also commenced a test of Skoobebooks.  Skoobebooks is another POD (Print on Demand) publishing service.  Their services are rather different to FeedARead, with two free options and some paid ones.  The free options also include the option to pay for extra services.  I found that their process offers less assistance to the author in submitting their work.  The section in which you input text for a short description, more book details, author bio, table of contents and sample chapter is buggy, with some weird effects when attempting to copy and paste text and then edit it.  There is also no opportunity to preview your cover – so make sure you’re happy with it before you upload it!  I chose to go for the most basic package and uploaded a Word DOC file, but I had to ensure that I had formatted it for the dimensions stated for the book size I chose.  I also made sure that all new ‘chapters’ began on an odd numbered page, even if that meant leaving a blank page.  I am now waiting to find out if I have to do any more work on the manuscript format.  I’ll keep you posted!

Distraction Free Writing?

This is a subject that enjoys some very widely varying opinions!  I’ll open by describing my own writing habits, and how they relate to this concept.  I don’t have a study, den, office or whatever room can be assigned to one purpose – separation from the normal hubbub of Life.  That said, there’s only two of us now, and Jenny works full time so isn’t home as often as I would like.  I write, therefore, in the living room, sat on the sofa and working on my desktop computer, which is sort of beside me.  Being the room it is, there’s a television in it, and it’s on virtually constantly (it only goes off if we both go out).  Much of the time, I have it tuned to my favourite sports, when they’re available.  The rest of the time, it tends to be tuned to channels showing stuff we’re almost word perfect on!  On the rare occasion that we put on a movie or a new show, it’s hit or miss as to whether I actually watch it or not.  Now add in Jenny coming and going, sometimes frequently passing between me and the PC as she fetches craft materials or makes meals and/or drinks, and the constant drone of traffic on the main road just outside – frequently punctuated by loud emergency vehicles or lunatic drivers speeding by.  So it’s hardly a ‘distraction free’ environment!  But, I grew up in a family of four kids, Jenny and I had three kids ourselves, so home was rarely quiet.  Then, too, I worked in an open plan office of around thirty people for almost twenty years – each person having two telephones on their desk – a far from quiet environment.  Now, confined to home by my health (or lack thereof) for very lengthy periods, to work in the idealised ‘silence of the ‘distraction free’ environment would drive me insane!  I simply can’t stand silence any more.  I need to know that I’m not alone in the world.  Music doesn’t do it, even via radio.  On its own, music is just sound, not the voices of people interacting.  On radio, the all too often inane babble of presenters are more than I can take.  SO there it is.  I’m bound by need to an environment that is, in effect, the very opposite of ‘distraction free’.

The question, then, must be: what works for you?  Are you one who demands the silence of a library, profound and unbreakable?  Do you have to have your favourite music playing?  Are you one who needs the minimal ‘there’s people out there’ of radio?  Or are you like me, able to contend with all the distractions a home can throw at you?  I would love to know!

~ Steve

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About Steve

An author since the age of 13 years, writing again dominates my activities. My "Imagineer-ing" blog is my primary site. Also: Beginner knitter since November 2010. Favourite knitting techniques: cable and lace. Beginner cross stitcher. Beginner jewellery maker. With the promotion of self publication and all the other work that has been going on here, Dad decided around 2am this morning (22/11/2013) that it was time to begin his next adventure. He was seen off earlier the previous evening by myself, my brother, my sister in law, and my sister, as well as his wife (our mum), and an enigmatic being known only as A Lorraine. After this time of story telling, laughing, crying, joking and mickey taking, we saw how tired both mum and dad were, and we decided to leave them under the (sometimes) gentle care of The Lorraine. When Dad found the timetable for his travels, he let Mum know gently, which woke her from her drowsing, then, with the same gentleness he showed in this universe, he boarded his favourite mode of transport, the Interdimensional Steam Train, and set off with a smile and a wave. For those of us closest, that smile was a reminder that his pain has ended, and the wave, an indicator that he will pop in to all those that knew him, from time to time. Usually at the most inconvenient and in opportune moments he can. While we are sad that he is no longer here, we are happy he now has no pain, and is experiencing more extraordinary things that his writers mind will be frantically weaving into a new story. Posted by Son Damien

8 thoughts on “Feeling Distracted?

  1. About Skoobe….For the first format it seems a bit complicated, but the guys work with you after, honestly! Took me ages to get the cover photo right, and they made suggestions about the photo and the back cover and were really helpful…don’t work for these guys, but have to say I found it really easy and they were really helpful. And also, they then get your book out there all over the place…for sale in loads of bookstores..good luck

    • Thanks for the info’, Nick! Sounds good. I look forward to hearing back from them and seeing how things go from there. It certainly sounds excellent :)

  2. Re my writing-environment needs: Because I live and write in NYC, on a busy street (think firetrucks and ambulances wailing past at 2 am, and traffic jams whenever there’s a Yankees game), I don’t need a TV. It’s all happening outside my window. After 24 years in the same apartment, I almost don’t hear the noises. Only a loud car stereo’s throbbing bass can derail me. To counter that, I have ancient or ambient music playing. Nothing soothes better than Brian Eno or St. Hildegard (I love that she’s a saint now). A little bit of noise helps me focus. I’m with you, Steve — I need something going on out there, some kind of “white noise”, to help me focus.
    I’m lucky to have a separate office, with north-facing windows — light-filled, but never harsh. I’m so used to this space that I hardly notice what’s around me, and I can’t work elsewhere, not even within my own apartment. Last week I tried writing at the dining room table, across from my daughter (she was completing an internship application): impossible. I had to move back to my regular space, with the distractions I’ve learned to ignore.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Lizzie. Sounds like a scene from TV itself, that’s for sure :D I’m afraid I could never survive in a city – the town we live in, with just over 150,000 population, is actually too big already! Don’t you just hate those booming cars? To me, they’re the opposite of ‘music’!

      • After nearly 40 years in the big city, I definitely feel I’ve reached the limit of gaining from this experience. I envy you your town of 150K, Steve. And, yes, I hate those booming cars. I’m waiting for our nanny mayor to find a way to ban them, along with salt, smoking and large sodas.

      • I can imagine ;) An hour in a city finishes me lol. As for the nanny mayor, you can be sure that such things will be banned decades before politicians voting on their own pay rises is ;) I’d rebel – being a salt-loving smoker who likes the occasional soda :D

  3. Over the years I’ve found the “perfect” writing environment depends on what I’m writing. Creativity requires mostly solitude, but I can totally focus on something I’m editing even when there is noise around me. I think that’s because I began editing when I worked in a busy office environment that was never distraction-free. Now I can be so focused that I don’t even realize someone is speaking to me when I’m working.

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