A bit of fiction – with a touch of truth – about the writing life, juggling responsibilities, and subliminal messages (by yours truly).

Those Sneaky Austrians

By Joanne Sher

12:54pm Well, today’s the day. My professor told me that I just needed to set some time aside and protect it, and my goal will be within reach.

So, I did. Three hours once a month, starting in about five minutes. The phone will be off the hook. Email, Facebook, Twitter, and my cell phone will be off limits. This time, the kids will have The Sound of Music and Jenny from down the street to keep them company.

One hundred and eighty minutes to sit in my recliner: computer on my lap and reference books (and snacks) to my left and right. Three glorious hours to let my muse take over and actually make some progress on my novel. Ten thousand eight hundred precious seconds of uninterrupted writing time. I can hardly wait. Better get started. Jenny has to leave at 4pm sharp.

**
1:10pm Remind me to close the door next time. Apparently, while I was making breakfast for the kids, Evan came in and…um…reorganized my stack of books. I’ve found about half of them so far, and the cover has only been torn off one (praise God it wasn’t a library book). Glad I hadn’t opened my can of root beer, though it appears my drink choice will still have to change. Better find the rest of these books before any more time is wasted.

**
1:45pm Well, I found my thesaurus: under Lily’s rear end on the living room couch. That was when I remembered how much I loved this movie. Watching Julie Andrews sing “I Have Confidence” was enough to boost my own-self esteem, and I couldn’t possibly get to writing when I knew the scene with the children marching down those stairs was coming so soon. Finally tore myself away when the family finished dinner.

Doesn’t mean I’m not humming “My Favorite Things” as I get settled.

2:10pm I wish they’d turn down the volume on that TV. The soundtrack is lousy background music for my murder mystery. Every time I get into the ambiance and start writing those words, I hear the Von Trapps singing, or catch a favorite line from the movie. Totally ruins the mood.

Wish I had earplugs.

2:30pm For future reference: as odd as it may seem, stuffing cheetos in your ears is actually a very effective way to block out background noise.

3:05pm I am SOOO tempted to check Facebook. I just remembered Yvonne had a doctor’s appointment about her hip, and I’m sure there’s an update there now. Besides, I just found the most remarkable quote on writing in my reference book. Totally tweetable.

No, girl. Time is running out. The muse rules.

3:15pm The muse lost. Yvonne needs to have surgery. And I’ve already had 3 RTs on that quote. Good marketing, right? Getting my name out is important too – isn’t it?

3:30pm Okay – really buckling down now. I will write out this scene. Half an hour? Plenty of time.

3:55pm I did it! Got my scene done. Certainly not as much as I’d hoped for three hours ago, but at least the scene is done.

But wait. I don’t remember a hike through the Austrian Alps in my outline.

What distracts YOU from writing?

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