Saturday, July 10, 2010

Let Me Rephrase the Question

Do you, personally, notice a difference, when reviewing a manuscript, between the parts that you wrote when you were feeling alert and focused, and the parts that you wrote when you really weren't in the mood?

In other words, is there any actual evidence to support the idea that we write less effectively when we are distracted?


  1. Interesting question. I notice more typos, but I haven't noticed a problem with content. Next time, I'll have to look more closely.

  2. It does seem that when I'm on and in to it, I wax poetic. When I'm not, it's wooden and stilted. I end up editing most of that out. Or having to rewrite it. But I have no answers. We'll get through this. And breathe a sigh of relief.

    that rebel with a blog

  3. Today I turned a very negative mood into positive energy and did a lot of cleaning and baking. I had to cancel a Scout field trip I had been looking forward to for months, because of rain. Phooey!

    But DS and I baked those cookies we keep saying we were going to make (chocolate chip and M&M), and I also made DH's favorite: blueberry and peach brown betty with our ripe, local Jersey fruit, picked by me and DS at the farm yesterday. And I did a bunch of sorting, organizing, cleaning and scrubbing. More to do before I start working but at least it's progress.

    I recall the housekeeper in one of my favorite novels telling the main character, a young girl, that whenever she was depressed she would scrub the kitchen floor.

    "Does that make you feel better?"

    "No, but at least I have a clean floor."

  4. Absolutely I notice the difference. I have many more adverbs and that's.

    And that housekeeper hit the nail on the head. That's how I get my muse back. I clean.

  5. at this point, i've re-read the darned thing so many times, it's all sounding like drivel, even the parts i thought were so good before.

  6. I can totally relate, Michelle.

  7. I'm always distracted when I write. I can't seem to just sit and write for long, and constantly get up and do something else, then sit again for a short period.

    My mood changes my writing however. If I'm upset or feel forced into producing quality work, my tone is more pessimistic but vivid. When I have a concept burning to get out I notice the typing is atrocious; there are mispellings and missing words - but there is more description and less dialogue. Scenes run on and on and have to be meticulously edited.

    I wonder if I ever have a right time to write

    But yes, I do notice a difference in my writing if I'm distracted by the usual life affairs.


  8. I would say it depends on how long you've been writing.

    That is, for beginning writers, I suggest (and I did) write every day, at least x-minutes or x-words. To get yourself into a habit.

    Once you've established that, though, it's usually all right (at least, in my experience) to start slacking off.

    On days where I'm distracted, yes, I have noticed a difference in my writing.

    Sometimes, the "distracted" thing in my head may be my inner editor. So I always try to push my way through it.

    But, if I find I can't, then I close the document and go work on something else. Read a favorite book, clean, take a walk in the park, etc. Because I've found, if I truly am distracted, most of whatever I write will be scrapped.


I apologize for the word verification. I hate it, but the spammers made me do it.