Oh, the places you will go: Turning distractions into ideas


It’s stunning sometimes the things I’ll do to get out of writing. Time to sit down and write? The toilet needs a good cleaning, now that I think about it. And I should probably make that dentist appointment, too.

Carnival (Flickr: chmeredith)

Carnival (Flickr: chmeredith)

Modern culture is filled with time-wasters.

Who hasn’t blown an hour hopping from friend to Facebook friend, browsing through photos and statuses?

Who hasn’t fallen down that black hole of Real Housewives marathons? (Don’t judge me!)

If I am not careful, those precious few writing hours I have squirreled away from children and chores are soon squandered and I am left to hope for a better tomorrow.

Whatever your distraction at the moment, consider this – aside from those addictive phone apps (yes, Candy Crush, I am talking about you) — there is a story just about every place you look.

Having trouble staying focused in your writing? Click here.

Those dentist appointments that I have ducked the last six months? Turns out, that was the character quirk I’d been seeking for my heroine the last two weeks.

And the Real Housewives? Every vice and character flaw you’d ever imagine comes alive on shows like these with all the color and pizzazz of a carnival that just rolled into town.

In other words, it’s perfectly natural for an artist’s mind to wander. That day-dreaming, people-watching, wonderfully-distracted brain of yours is exactly what qualifies you as a writer.

Rather than squelch those extra chores or phone calls, choose to see that little bit of meandering as the creative process at work.

Whether it’s a random conversation you pick up while standing in line at the grocery store or your little one finally being called off the bench for his shining moment in the big game – whatever it is, view every interaction through your writer’s lens to enrich your poetry, novel or screenplay.

Kerri S. Mabee is editor at Learn more about her at



Kerri S. Mabee

Leave a Reply