Driven to distraction

by Richard Perkins

Here’s a testament to the danger of distraction for a writer on a deadline. The chart below shows my word count progress on my current project, the sequel to the Renegade’s Door. The blue dotted line shows the target word count over time. The green, square data points show my actual daily word totals (on the left axis), while the red triangle data points show my words per hour writing rate for each writing session (on the right axis).

Missing my word count

As you can see, I did pretty well meeting my daily writing goals right up until July 4th. Then my progress practically flat-lined for nearly a week before starting to inch back up toward the trendline in the last day or two.

What happened in the circled area from July 4th through July 10th, you might ask? I went on vacation. I visited my family at the lake house in Charlotte, dutifully lugging my laptop along with me under the sad delusion that I would be able to make time to write while I was visiting. Stupid, stupid writer.

As you can see from the data, my words per hour rate dropped a bit, but not enough to completely explain the stagnation in word count progress. Which means that in addition to writing slower while I was away, I just plain didn’t spend enough time writing. That’s real BICHOK time. (writer-ese for “Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard”)

Don’t me wrong. I love my family and enjoy the time I get to spend with all of them. But even the most well-meaning, well-intentioned of distractions is still a distraction. And for a slow writer like me… distractions are a death sentence for deadlines. Now I have to work that much harder to make it to the end of the novel by midnight on July 31st. Sigh.

Wish me luck!

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