The Best Distraction

I had plans for Monday. Those plans involved gardening and laundry, mostly. I got sidetracked – for the entire day. The distraction absorbed my attention, and I was reminded that it shouldn’t be a distraction, but a purposeful, scheduled part of every day.

While I ate breakfast and watched the news, I checked my twitter feed. One of the writing sites I follow tweeted about Monday’s deadline for submissions on the topic of starting over.

Immediately, my drowsy attention perked and I clicked on the link. I know a thing or two about starting over AND I have drafts of essays on that topic that I can tweak for the purpose and audience called for. One of the requirements is that the piece hasn’t been published anywhere. No problem.  Before Monday, the only people who had read this piece were fellow writers in a non-fiction writing graduate class I took a few years ago. Wow. Time lapsed by and its passing escaped my notice. That class seems more recent and further in the past simultaneously.

Searching my writing files (all digital drafts), I found the essay. Reading it again, I was a little skeptical as to whether I could make a deadline less than 12 hours away. The theme of starting over permeates my life, so I started revising.

About an hour later, I realized I needed another pair of eyes to offer feedback on the piece. I have quite a few writing friends, but such short notice was a problem. One of my dearest writing friends was available for feedback on a draft or two. Super! She provided feedback I needed. Her comments helped me focus on the purpose and audience. I needed to clarify some background that I had not included in the earlier drafts.

Two more revisions and the 2,109 word essay was ready to submit. I ate lunch in between the fourth and fifth versions. I had to create a writer’s bio, as I had not created one in a long time. I forgot about eating dinner. With twenty minutes to spare, I submitted my essay on the topic of starting over.  It doesn’t feel like I worked for over ten hours on revising that piece. On any other subject, I would not have attempted to write a polished essay ready for submission with only a few hours to deadline. I’m grateful I saw the last day reminder of the call for essays, it motivated me to submit work. Whether or not it is accepted I won’t know for weeks, but that wasn’t the point. Well, not the whole point.

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The point of working all day on revising that essay for submission served as a motivation for the act of writing each day. My Monday was gone; I’d spent the entire day writing.  Writing! Monday evening I drafted this post. My eyes were exhausted, so I put the draft away. Tuesday and Wednesday I worked on gardening. Today, I remembered I had a post “in the hopper,” and I’ve spent more of my week working on writing that will be sent off or posted here than I’ve spent doing yard work and gardening. I do have to admit that I’ve spent more time sleeping than either writing or gardening this week.

That tweet on Monday was the best distraction to remind me that writing need not be inspired by a tweet that sidelines my other plans.  Daily writing was once like breathing to me. How did I veer from that? That’s a subject for another essay, and I feel inspired.

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