I've been spending most of my waking hours the past two months either writing and/or thinking about the third Kincaid Strange novel. Don't get me wrong - I'm happy with it, I'm enjoying it, I love my disgruntled practitioner - but it's had me thinking hard about the things that are constantly vying for my attention.
For me it's my phone - Twitter, Instagram, FB, email - they're not unlike slot machines, beckoning me to check them at frighteningly regular intervals in some perverse desire and craving to see what pops up next. It's had me thinking what did I do before I had a smart phone? I'm not pining for the days when there were no smart phones - Audible, instant messaging, the Internet, not having to lug a CD player and disks with me everywhere - I love all these things too much. And social media is a way to engage with friends, readers, family. It's part of an author's career. But, it's had me consciously disconnecting. Not completely - I've never been a teetotaler. Leaving my phone across the room, checking it only once or twice a day. Social media does not need my constant attention, what's more, it doesn't deserve it. Yoga, reading, taking a walk outside - there are so many other things to do with the hours in my day. And rarely is there something so important that it requires my immediate attention, and even those can wait a few hours.
But I won't lie. It's hard not to open that slot machine of a FB app, rolling and shuffling posts that just maybe I might be interested in, I mean, there might be a really good one a few more posts down the page, right?....Wait! Is that a cat? COME BACK CAT! I DIDN'T HAVE A CHANCE TO CLICK! ;-)
What are your attention time sinks and what strategies do you use to manage them?
I was over on Peter Clines' Blog, Writer on Writing, last week with a post on the problems with creative writing degrees called 'So You Want to be a Writer'. If you don't already follow Peter's writing blog I HIGHLY recommend it. He dispenses some valuable writing advice and insight into the nebulous minds of writers. He also writes Paradox Bound, The Fold, and Ex Heroes, all favorite sci-fi reads of mine. Paradox Bound is a particular favorite - Adventurers chasing the American dream through time.
One of the stories I still get asked about a LOT is Canadian Blood Diamonds and it's main character, Kelly Villaen. As some of you know I've been continuing on with some short novellas. So...this is happening!
It'll be up on Amazon in the next week or so. Keep your eye out for it and other short stories I've got in the pipeline ;-)