Monthly Archives: February 2020

Top 5 Writing Distractions–Part One

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Top 5 Writing Distractions–Part One

In the YouTube ad for her writing MasterClass, Joyce Carol Oates says, “The great enemy of writing isn’t your own lack of talent; it’s being interrupted by other people. Constant interruptions are the destruction of the imagination.” Yeah, that’s true, but if you’ve ever struggled to find a block of time to devote to your writing, or if while you’re working you can’t maintain your focus, then you know people aren’t the only problem. In this article I enumerate what I consider to be the top 5 writing distractions, and how to defeat them.

Top 5 Writing Distractions

  1. Family. Members of your immediate and extended family are undeniably the biggest source of interruption of creative flow. While you can’t shouldn’t disown your spouse or your children, with communication you may be able to negotiate some undisturbed time. Your family’s needs come first, but under certain circumstances their requirements may need to be delayed, such as when you’re under a deadline, or you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, or you must get down a critical wording before it escapes your memory. Your family deserves your undivided attention, so be sure you’re providing at least some on a daily basis. But, realistically, as an artistic person, even if you’re not earning money at it yet, your craft also needs focused, undisturbed time. Perhaps you can schedule writing hours (or minutes) during which you post a sign that says, “Writer at work. Do not disturb until 4:00 PM.” You’re still available for emergencies, but spell out what constitutes an emergency: blood, flames, etc. “I’m bored” is not an emergency and will result in extra assigned chores. Ditto for “I can’t find my purple socks,” “He’s breathing on me,” or “How soon is dinner?” Come on, people, be reasonable. (If your beloved family members are behaving like jerks, you have my permission to read them this paragraph in an authoritative voice.)Writer at work.
  2. The phone. If you can, turn your ringer off during writing time and let your calls go to voice mail. Why lose your train of thought to someone who wants to buy your house for cheap, or someone pretending to be the government wanting to suspend your social security number as soon as you tell them what it is? Don’t stop writing to listen to a robocall about a time share or a presidential candidate. Don’t squander your writing time catching up with the friend who hasn’t called you in two years.
  3. Household tasks. If you’re lucky enough to have private work space in your home, sometimes it’s a mixed blessing, because during lulls you remember the piles of unwashed laundry and the dirty floors and the unfiled tax return just around the corner. If your work space has a door, close it. Commit to working your allotted time; the chores will still be there when you’re done writing for the day. That’s easy enough when the words are flowing, but as soon as you hit a dry patch, you think about all the other things you could be accomplishing. So, from time to time, shake things up by going somewhere else to write. If the weather is nice, try writing in the backyard or at the park. Or bow to the cliché and go to a coffee shop or to the library. Just don’t get caught up in people-watching.

Come back on Saturday for Part Two of this article and learn how to combat two more top writing distractions.

Monday Morning Wisdom #246

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Monday Morning Wisdom #246

MMWJust because it’s easier than ever to create doesn’t mean it’s easier to create something good. ~Josh Spector

From the Creator’s Heart #243

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Franz Schubert

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Franz Schubert

Franz Peter Schubert (January 31, 1797 –November 19, 1828) was an Austrian composer of the late Classical and early Romantic eras.

Schubert’s gift for music was evident from an early age. His father gave him his first violin lessons and his older brother gave him piano lessons, but Schubert soon exceeded their abilities. In 1808, at the age of eleven, he became a pupil at the Stadtkonvikt school, where he became acquainted with the orchestral music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. He left the Stadtkonvikt at the end of 1813, and returned home to live with his father, where he began studying to become a schoolteacher; despite this, he continued his studies in composition with Antonio Salieri.

One of Schubert’s most famous lieder (art songs), Der Erlkönig, as a shadow puppet animation, with English translation:

In 1814, Schubert met a young soprano named Therese Grob, daughter of a local silk manufacturer, and wrote several of his liturgical works (including a “Salve Regina” and a “Tantum Ergo”) for her; she was also a soloist in the premiere of his Mass No. 1 (D. 105) in September 1814. Schubert wanted to marry her, but was hindered by the harsh marriage-consent law of 1815 requiring an aspiring bridegroom to show he had the means to support a family.

During the early 1820s, Schubert was part of a close-knit circle of artists and students who had social gatherings together that became known as Schubertiads.

Four of Schubert’s brilliant piano impromptus, opus 90, played by Alfred Brendel:

In 1821, Schubert was granted admission to the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde as a performing member, which helped establish his reputation in Vienna. He gave a concert of his own works to critical acclaim in March 1828, his only such concert in his lifetime. He died eight months later at the age of 31, the cause officially attributed to typhoid fever, but believed by some historians to be syphilis.

Schubert was remarkably prolific, writing over 1,500 works in his short career. The largest number of his compositions are songs for solo voice and piano (roughly 630). He completed seven symphonies, and a large body of music for solo piano.

One of Schubert’s most famous symphonies is No. 8, known as The Unfinished Symphony:

Information for this article came from Wikipedia.

Creative Juice #178

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Creative Juice #178

The strange, the beautiful, and the funny.

In The Meme Time: Inspiration

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Inspiration

Guest Post: James Abbott McNeill Whistler – Landscapes, by Joy of Museums

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Guest Post: James Abbott McNeill Whistler – Landscapes, by Joy of Museums

Thank you to Joy of Museums for this discussion of some of Whistler’s landscapes.

James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903) was an American artist active during the American Gilded Age and based primarily in the United Kingdom. He was averse to sentimentality and moral allusion in painting, and was a leading proponent of the credo “art for art’s sake.”

He found a parallel between painting and music and entitled many of his paintings “arrangements,” “harmonies,” and “nocturnes,” emphasizing the primacy of tonal harmony. Whistler influenced the art world and the broader culture of his time with his artistic theories and his friendships with leading artists and writers.

A Tour of James Abbott McNeill Whistler – Landscapes

Southend Pier by James Abbott McNeill Whistler

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Southend Pier by James Abbott McNeill Whistler depicts groups of people walking at the water’s edge. Southend Pier, a major landmark in Southend-on-Sea, in southeastern Essex, England, is in the background.

In the early 19th century, Southend was growing as a seaside holiday resort. The coast at Southend consists of extensive mudflats, so the sea is never deep even at full tide. The pier was built to allow boats to reach Southend at all tides. By 1848 it was the longest pier in Europe at 7,000 feet (2,100 m). By the 1850s, the railway had reached Southend with it a significant influx of visitors from London. After this painting was made, it was decided to replace the pier with a new iron pier.

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