Anything But the Book Week: Distraction

January 21, 2009 at 8:13 am (Anything But the Book Week, Spiral Hunt)

First things first: If you’re interested in taking a look at Spiral Hunt, or if you’re planning on getting a copy but just can’t wait till next week, then check out the widget below:

Browse Inside this book

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The first fifty-some pages are available for you to read. Enjoy! (I’ll be adding this to the sidebar as soon as I can bully WordPress into doing what I want it to do.)

In the meantime, however, I’ve realized that if I keep thinking about Spiral Hunt over the next week, then my head will probably pop. So for the next week, I’ll be blogging once a day on anything but Spiral Hunt. Anything.

Today’s topic, predictably enough, is distraction. How do you distract yourself when you need to keep your mind off something?

It used to be that working with my hands would be enough – needlework, for example, kept me nicely distracted over a summer. But once I learn a skill well enough that I can do it without concentrating on it, the advantage is gone, and I get caught up in my own thoughts again. Cooking or baking something works, cleaning doesn’t. Writing only works if I’m writing something totally different from the matter in question. And while going for a long walk does wonders when I’m trying to work out a plot point, it’s no good when I’m trying to distract myself.

What are your favorite techniques for training your own thoughts in the right direction? Meditation? Conversation? Goofy TV shows?


  1. (other) Margaret said,

    When I need to distract myself I seem to wind up watching a lot of daytime programming on TLC. I don’t know if it’s quality distraction, but I seem to have absorbed quite a bit of information about people who are abnormally short/tall/large over the years.

    • mlronald said,

      I tend to do that, or something similar, when I’m home for the holidays and can take advantage of my parents’ cable. Although it more often involves Home and Garden TV. I end up with the urge to redecorate even though I rent.

  2. Christia said,

    Scramble (a boggle knock-off) on facebook. I tell myself it is enriching my brains.

    • mlronald said,

      Yes. Yes, it is. Your tasty, tasty brains.

  3. Kate said,

    You’re reminding me of the day I spent waiting to hear the novel workshop critique my second draft — only raised to the tenth power and an order or magnitude more awesome. Waiting for something mind-bogglingly good is still waiting.

    Story tapes help sometimes; cooking or knitting alone aren’t enough, because they leave my mind free, but a good enough story and something in my hands can work together. Or running — walking is good for thinking, but moving fast enough can clear my head. Dancing’s even better.

    And — and — yay you! Your accomplishments gobsmack me regularly. Thinking of you this week. If you want to talk, call any time.

    • mlronald said,

      (Huh. The reply function seems to be thwarting me. Not that your brains are not tasty, Kate, but the above comment was directed at Christia.)

      Story tapes might help. I’d been thinking about downloading an audiobook or two, but I’d mostly planned to use them in my commute. Thanks! And thank you for your support — you know you’re part of the reason I have the confidence to try.

  4. Auntie Lou said,

    I know you said cleaning doesn’t work, but have you tried it in combination with an old movie or movie soundtrack? I like musicals best. You can sing and dance along, and the less talented you are, the better. But soundtracks like “The Princess Bride” work, too. The cleaning gives you an excuse to move around while you fantasize. It’s also nice that you end up with a cleaner house. The biggest problem is that you have to make sure nobody else can see or hear you, unless you want to be carted away. (Which would at least make the week go faster.)
    Consider yourself hugged.

    • mlronald said,

      yay hugs!

      I think that might do it. I tend to sing and listen to goofy stuff when I’m working anyway, and the resident organist is very tolerant of my attempts at dancing.

  5. Christia said,

    Hey nice lady with the gingerbread house and big oven, why are you so interested in the plumpness of mah brains?

    For more distraction, every time you think of the b-word, you could instead force yourself to watch another numa numa video variant. ;p

  6. mlronald said,

    Er…no reason. None. You’ve been getting a lot of garlic in your diet, right? Only that adds a certain zing.

    And I wanted distraction, not scorched-earth techniques. But that’ll work!

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