Thursday, May 3, 2012

Shiny Objects



Congratulations to Pam, the winner of Julie's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Since I’m in the midst of a deadline this week, have a new release I’m promoting (THE MARINE NEXT DOOR) and I’m pressed for time to get everything I need to done, I’m going to rely on my go-to trick for coming up with ideas and getting them (and my life) organized to get this blog post written—I’m making a list.

One thing that the deadline pressure does to me is that it makes me particularly vulnerable to being distracted by what I call “shiny objects”.  When my brain is really focusing on accomplishing a certain task, I can get a lot done in a short amount of time.  However, my brain cells and body do have their limits, and when I start pushing too hard for too long, my subconscious mind tries to divert my attention.  Usually, it just means I need to take a break.  But sometimes, it’s because writing a book is hard work—a lot of worthwhile things in life are hard work—and, well, when things are that challenging, I don’t always want to do them.  So, in no particular order, here are 20 shiny objects that have distracted me recently.

1.  The next story on my agenda to write.  It’s not due until July, but I’ve already got a good start, and those characters are really talking to me. (The grass is always greener on the next project, eh?)

2.  Sampling new flavors of tea.  Mom introduced me to acai berry/blueberry green tea. I’m loving it.

3.  Going to the window to see what the dog is barking at.  Spring brings lots of squirrels, rabbits, and meter readers into the yard, and Maggie keeps track of all of them.

4.  Brushing the dog.  Apparently, Maggie got into some stickers and dead leaves while on morning patrol, and her curly hair is like Velcro.

5.  Ordering those slats you put under the cushions of a sagging piece of furniture so that a sumo wrestler can sit on them.  Been wanting to do that for a while.

6.  Looking at the shiny silver charm my writers’ group (Prairieland Romance Writers) gave me for selling my 50th book.  Think about how fortunate I am to have such good friends.

7.  Flipping through a jewelry catalog to find a new charm bracelet.

8.  Deciding whether to have baby Swiss cheese or mozzarella cheese sticks with my lunch.   Maybe I’ll eat the leftover pasta, instead.

9.  Rearranging the photographs on the piano now that I’ve added a new one of my son from his trip to Rome.  (I’m looking at the piano as I’m eating my lunch)

10. Doing the laundry.  This is a chore where I can see big results without nearly as much time and effort as, say, dusting and vacuuming require, so I feel good about accomplishing a task (but I probably don’t need to wash everything in one day).

11. Watching the birds go after the dandelion seeds in my back yard.

12. Let Maggie out back to see her flush 20 or so robins and chickadees.

13. Pull up a few dandelions while the ground is soft from recent rains.

14. Check email to see if there are any more requests from the other authors I’m working on this project with to make continuity tweaks on my current ms.

15. Go look at my brand new (awesome!) cover for my August Intrigue on Amazon.

16. Check the sales rank and scout out reviews for my current release, THE MARINE NEXT DOOR, since I’m already on Amazon.

17. Decide I need more Pepsi to complete my major writing job today, so take Maggie for ride to nearby convenience story to get a fountain refill.

18. Re-read through the scene I wrote yesterday and finetune it. Too much narrative—needs more dialogue.

19. Touch my late dad’s glasses case that I keep on my writing desk, and think about how much I miss him and how lucky I was to have had him in my life.

20.  Give myself a stern talk about how I’ve just wasted an entire hour when I need to be writing.  Decide to get Chinese take-out for dinner so I can use that prep time to write longer this evening.

So… What distracts you when you’re under pressure to get a project done?

I’ll give away a signed copy of my brand new release, THE MARINE NEXT DOOR, to one lucky poster.

Here’s to staying focused,
Julie Miller


Giveaway ends 10pm EST May 3rd. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email justromanticsuspense @ gmail.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway. 

33 comments:

  1. Hi Julie,

    That's quite a long list of "shiny objects" you have going there. When I need to get a project done, my distraction of choice is surfing the Internet. There are sooo many things here that can take one's mind off the task at hand. I surfed the Internet in a big way when I was in graduate school. I had a long, difficult research paper in French to complete. I could only work on it for about an hour at a time and then my mind just froze up. So, off to the internet I would go. On one of my trips, I ran across Dachshund Rescue of Houston, an organization that is near and dear to my heart. When I got back to Texas, I adopted my first dog from them. (Two more were to follow.) So in my case the "shiny object" served a worthwhile purpose--rescuing a dog in need. I think it is okay to reach for the shiny object when things get tough, just don't hold on to it for too long!!

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    1. I love it when a shiny object can serve a worthwhile purpose, Kathy! Good advice, too. All things in moderation. I'll have to remember that. And how wonderful that you adopted rescue dogs. I love hearing that.

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  2. 2. Sampling new flavors of tea. Mom introduced me to acai berry/blueberry green tea. I’m loving it. -This always distracts me. But tea is delicious and can not be ignored!

    5. Ordering those slats you put under the cushions of a sagging piece of furniture so that a sumo wrestler can sit on them. Been wanting to do that for a while. -Let me know if you do this! I want to know if they work :p

    Thanks for the great post! methornton @ rogers.com

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    1. Jasmine green tea is another favorite, too. I'm a big fan of English Breakfast tea, too, but I associate that with cold wintry mornings. I don't like them when they get to be too sweet with added flavorings. So, of course, I like straight up green tea, too.

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  3. since I am at stay at home mom and wife, the only thing that would make me be distracted is if I get any kind of paper work in the mail that I have to fill in and send back. So, I tend to wait until that last possible minute to mail it back. I really hate when the phone ring's in the middle of the three show's I currently watch knowing from the caller id that it's Jenny! Even she know's not to call and still does it! Gotta love best g/f's!!!

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    1. Oh, those pesky sisters. So what are your 3 shows, Pam?

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  4. Distractions well my boxer is a good one he loves attention and then my daughters school is right across the road so i ca watch her he does too and then my little kitty who wants cuddles she killed her first baby bunny yesterday then the phone calls and tv and fun stuff on the computer and of course books love to read

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  5. Ah, yes, the brave young kitty out in the world. ;) Maggie hasn't caught anything mammalia yet, but she's gotten a garter snake and several bugs since we've had her. But she does love to bark at and chase the squirrels and rabbits.

    Pets are a wonderful distraction (and stress reliever!). Maggie also seems to know when I've been sitting at the computer too long. She'll come touch my leg, insisting that I either (a) let her get in my lap for some massive petting, or (b) take her outside for fresh air and exercise. So yes, shiny objects can sometimes be a good thing!

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  6. Hi

    Great post, love the list of distractions. Some I can use :)
    My biggest distraction lately has been twitter - I can get sucked in fast and it is hard to get back out.

    Thanks for the chance. Your books look so good, I have always enjoyed Harlequin Intrigue stories.

    Pam
    tpibrew@msn.com

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    1. Thank you, Pam! I'm still learning the details of Twitter (I'm on there and do the basics, but I know there's a lot more I can do with it), but anytime I get online or I'm trying to figure out something technical that's new to me--that can be a time suck.

      I find it helpful to set a timer for when I go online. Or to restrict it to just when I'm eating lunch, for example. If I don't, I can get myself into trouble and lose several hours of writing time.

      Anybody else have some helpful time management tips?

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  7. Hi, This is my first tweet (is that what you call it) I can sure see where this can be distraction from getting things done
    And then of course there is harelquin ( ahhhh romance is in the air)
    And lets not for get my new color nook I got for christmas (which by the way started my tweeting)
    But life goes on and so does tweeting

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    1. Hey, NeeNee--I don't know what you call it when you post a comment to a blog...beyond 'posting a comment' ;)

      I've got a Kindle Fire (and several versions of Angry Birds!) that can distract me when I'm not reading books or browsing for new ones on it. I'd be up a timesuck creek if I used the Twitter or Facebook apps (although they're there...)

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  8. Since I work in an office I can usually let go of the "home stuff" distractions. However, when I am feeling a little stressed and overwhelmed at work, blogs (like JRS) are my distraction as well as twitter, my personal email and of course any books that might be on my Nook app or Kindle app on my phone! I have two kids and that brings a whole list of distractions at home! Some are easier to ignore than others. If I worked at home, I am not sure I could get anything done!

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    1. It took me several months to adjust to working at home, Amy. I had to retrain friends and family (and myself) to the idea that even though I was at home, I was working. It'll get tricky again when school is out and hubby and son are home more.

      I'm easily distracted if it looks like they're doing something interesting. Even when they're not.

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  9. I would love to be the lucky one! Your book sounds fantastic!

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    1. Thanks, MsChris! Everyone who posts has a chance to win a copy.

      It all comes down to my dog Maggie's nose. I throw a pile of paper scraps on the floor with everyone's name on it, and whichever one she sniffs or plays with first is the winner.

      And, of course, for those who don't win a free copy, THE MARINE NEXT DOOR is on sale everywhere. At a good discount, too, if you have a Kindle or Nook. Below cover price at online outlets if you want a print copy. Or, pick it up at your local Wal-Mart, Shopko, Target, etc.

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  10. This is a difficult question for me right now because my major distraction from my writing is grieving the recent death of my husband. His glasses sit by my computer.

    Please enter me in the draw. Reading helps soothe me...
    Jan

    janet_kerr(at)msn.com

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    1. Oh, gosh, Janet--I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. I can't imagine. That's an unusual circumstance where it's normal to be distracted by overwhelming thoughts, emotions and worries. So don't be too hard on yourself.

      That's wonderful that you have a passion that distracts you for a while and soothes you. And I love that you keep his glasses by your computer. That's where I keep my Dad's. It's comforting and inspiring for me to be able to simply reach out and touch something that was a part of him every day of his life.

      Sending prayers for strength and comfort to you.

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  11. Distractions... well myself for one when it is something I really do not want to do. My 3 yr. old nephew is another one, he always wants my attention... also books & the computer. ;)

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    1. I know what you mean, Colleen. There are some jobs I wish would just go away, or that the pixies would show up and magically take care of them for me. Vacuuming, dusting, grocery shopping are examples of chores where it's really easy for me to get distracted. I know they need to be done, but I don't like 'em. ;)

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  12. The internet is distracting.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Absolutely, bn100! 15 years ago I barely knew what it was or used it. Now it's almost like withdrawal to go a day without it. Sigh.

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  13. Um, I got distracted just reading your list of distractions LOL Amazing that we ever get anything done with all of the distractions we have everyday!

    bas1chsemail at gmail dot com

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    1. I agree. It's amazing any work gets done some days. ;)

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  14. Love it! Distractions are so easy to come by and so hard to get rid of! Love the look of both books :)

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  15. I'm distracted by people mostly. It seems that when I'm trying to get something done, I become the center of the Universe for the family.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Ain't that the truth? And I include my dog in the group that always seems to need me when I'm the deepest into my writing. ;) Still, it's nice to know they really do need me.

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  16. I know I'm late but I just wanted to let Julie know that my list of shiny objects is long, too.

    More KC Precinct books. *sigh* You are truly one of my all time favorite Intrigue writers. I've read every one of your books (Blaze and Intrigue) and savor them. :)

    Marika

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  17. Thank you, Marika--what a lovely compliment!

    On some days, I envy those who can tune out all the shiny objects--on other days? I think that just makes us interesting people that we have so many varied interests and connections in our lives. ;)

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  18. julie i love the way you write your books are outstanding thank your devoted reader sure hope i win tammyjackson75@yahoo.com

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  19. Thanks, Tammy! Check my website at www.juliemiller.org for other blog dates with giveaways. And, I have a monthly book giveaway on my website, too--not THE MARINE NEXT DOOR this month, but all are good opportunities to possibly win a book.

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  20. Smart post admin but i think you need more explanation and more Pics
    and I hope to visit my blog and subscribe to me :)
    The Advantages and Disadvantages of The Sole Proprietorship and Young Adulthood

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