Friday, December 3, 2010

It's a conspiracy, I tell ya

I've noticed with my friends who have dogs that nothing makes the pets crave their attention like getting on the phone with someone else. "I don't understand it," my friend will say after being interrupted for the fourth time. "The dog was just lying there ignoring me, and suddenly she needs to bark and get into things and play!"

It's like cleaning--no sooner do I start to attack one part of a room than I get a great idea for how to organize another part of the room, or I realize that some other cleaning project is really more urgent than the one I've already started.

Similarly, for a writer, nothing makes shiny new story ideas come flying into the brain like committing to a single story idea. Especially if one is working on a long project with a deadline that requires solid focus and commitment. Then the Muse comes dancing around, tossing out exciting new suggestions like confetti. "How about this? Or that? Or this other thing? Ooh, look! Perfect! Brilliant! This one will be the Book of Your Life!"

In vain does the writer respond that yes, those are very nice ideas, but the current project has to take precedence. Fortunately, there are notebooks and little scraps of paper on which to record the shiny new ideas while keeping on course with the work in progress. Those scraps will lurk on top of the writer's desk. Waiting. (And occasionally barking a bit).

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