How to murder Prevarication and Distraction


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You have a few hours free.

You’ve sent the kids off to play by the railway line (cos you know, they love Thomas the Tank Engine and there are so many nettles and hogweed, urban foxes and rats down there, it’s virtually a nature walk).

Your other half has gone to the football / aqua-zumba / sealion taming lessons you bought them last Christmas.

The house is silent except for the scritch of woodlice at the skirting board.

You open your laptop or take out your Transylvanian vellum notebook and ivory and tiger skin Montblanc pen.

You breathe deep, slow, open your mind to the ideas sloshing around it …

You catch sight of that unruly pile of Amateur Shed-Builder Monthly magazine. The untidiness distracts you, so you straighten up the stack and retake your place.

You breathe again …

Actually, now you think about it, you’re pretty thirsty – better put the kettle on. And there’s a piece of that Venezuelan Mud Pie left your mum made that would go down very well. And you’d better just check Ebay, because you put a bid in for the entire DVD collection of Chastity and Me staring Bill Clinton and your Aunty Paula would really love that for her birthday …

Six hours later and all you’ve managed to write is the word fish fifty times.

If only you weren’t so easily distracted …

Well, if you pop along to the Mslexia blog, I might just have a few suggestions for you …






9 thoughts on “How to murder Prevarication and Distraction

    1. Hi Susie, how are you? Yes, fortunately, those DVDs don’t exist, I made them up – I wouldn’t like to watch them either 🙂 And distraction is a terrible and wasteful thing, but so easy to fall into these days. I’m hoping to be less distracted in the New Year – that’s my intention, at least. All the best 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Prevarication and Distraction? That’s what I call Research … of a randomised sort.

    I was lucky enough to hear some of comic fantasy writer Jasper Fforde’s thoughts on writing at a Crickhowell Literary Festival session ( He likened our daily life’s actions and routines and explorations and randomised reading to a spiked ball. All the spikes, of roughly the same length, are likely to pick up bits of ‘stuff’ as they roll around, and all the picked-up bits of stuff are likely to be material for his current or next book, however unlikely their congruencies.

    On the other hand, selective and exhaustive research on one or two topics is like just one or two exceedingly long spikes on another ball rolling around: there’s less practical chance of them picking up significant bits of stuff, either in quality or quantity. And anyway, life’s not about examining one’s own navel fluff to the exclusion of all the other interesting multi-coloured fluff that’s out there waiting to be combed through.

    This very post of yours draws in all those little daily experiences that make your life simultaneously both a life very ordinary (such that people can identify with it) and a life less ordinary (things viewed from a different perspective render them, well, different). You’ve covered kids, hubby, writing materials, food, shopping — so far so ho-hum — and by kaleidoscoping them (is that even a word?) electrocuted the reader with the shock of the everyday (mixed metaphor there, must come back and redraft that).

    Anyway, take a leaf out of Cassandra Mortmain’s book (in Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle): she forced her author-father to write “The cat sat on the mat” over and over again until he was finally inspired to commence that ‘difficult’ second novel. Your writing fish fish fish fish … is effectively the same thing, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

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