Archive for January 2020

Distracted? Who Me? #OpenBook Blog Hop   Leave a comment

Source: Distracted? Who Me? #OpenBook Blog Hop

Posted January 20, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Distracted? Who Me? #OpenBook Blog Hop   Leave a comment

Source: Distracted? Who Me? #OpenBook Blog Hop

Posted January 20, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Author Interrupted – Dealing with Distractions   Leave a comment

Lyndell Williams

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What are your top three distractions and how do you deal with them?
Note: I am writing this post on the road. Please forgive any typos.

A writer’s life is full of all kinds of distractions, which can make finding the time to develop ideas and getting out of one’s head and onto paper (or the screen) difficult. I have mentioned that time management can be an external factor hindering writing.

Damn those twenty-four hours in a day. They just won’t listen and become more. Authors have professional (novel writing is not the main source of income for most) and personal lives, each demanding energy and time. Finding sufficient time to develop a plot, construct character arcs and write content can be difficult.  One cruel irony is that creative often burgeons when there is no time. Authors scramble to find a moment to weave a story, but frustration usually…

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Posted January 20, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Blog Hopping. Distraction and me, the things that stop me writing.   Leave a comment

Richard’s Top Distractions

Posted January 20, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Sparkly Objects All Around   14 comments

January 20, 2020

What are your top three distractions and how do you deal with them?

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.

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Life is Distracting

Life is incredibly distracting. There’s the kids, the spouse, the house, the pets, the Internet, the phone, Netflix, Hulu, my friends, my siblings, books, church, the gym, summer, the furnace, making dinner, my friends at Bible study, the woodstove, the houseplants, my coworkers, the news, the Democratic debates, Trump’s antics, the hysteria of both Democrats and Trump supporters, Facebook, Twitter, Austrian economics, Medium, You-Tube, Word Press, my husband’s company, my father-in-law, my-mother-in-law, (occasionally) my brother and my recently-discovered sister, Ancestry.com, the neighbors … yeah, I could go on and on.

Yup, it might be easier to say what isn’t a distraction these days. We live in the Age of Distraction. We’re constantly trying to amuse ourselves. Amuse – a (meaning “none) + muse (meaning “thinking”) = no thinking. We are surrounded by things of less-value that constantly try to distract us from things of greater value.

And I’m trying to publish two novels this year. Yeah, I don’t need distractions in 2020 and I definitely can’t be a-musing. Writers need to think. I need to think. I need to get into the head of my characters and bring forth their stories.

My Big Three

The OP asks for three top distractions. Selecting from hundreds wasn’t easy, but here we go.

  • My husband
  • The news
  • Social media

Husbands – Am I Interrupting You?

I used to be able to say kids, but our 27-year-old daughter is a gypsy musician traveling the Lower 48 and our 21-year-old son, while he lives at home, is a quiet person whose most distracting behavior is playing guitar in his room (he’s actually getting quite good).

I love my husband Brad and he is very supportive of my writing, but sometimes he can’t seem to understand that there are times when, in order for me to get an idea from my brain through my fingers to the electronic page, I need him to SHUT THE HECK UP.

I’m really good with distraction. I grew up in small Alaska houses where everybody lived in one room, television blaring, conversations swirling, and you retreated to your bedroom only for bed (or algebra. I never could do algebra, carry on a conversation, and watch television all at the same time). I’m really good at screening out distractions. I can write while watching television, while the neighbor is mowing his lawn, while the kids were jumping around in the living room or while the dog chased her stuffed animal across the carpet. I really am good with distractions.

Except when I’m not. Sometimes, there’s just thoughts, turns of phrases or descriptions that I really need to concentrate on to write it the way I want. And Brad is really, really, REALLY good at interrupting my thought-flow right when I don’t need him to.

He means well. Last night it was a simply question –

  • Brad – “Do you want tea?”
  • Me – “Yes.”
  • Brad – “What kind of tea?”
  • Me – “Doesn’t matter.”
  • Brad – “But there’s four different kinds here. Do you want the Bengal Spice, the Cranberry Vanilla Wonderland, the Orange Spice, or the Apple Cinnamon?”
  • Me – “You’re interrupting my thoughts.”
  • Brad – “It’ll just take a moment.”
  • Me – (The image is fading. No, come back.) “How about you make the decision and let me think?
  • Brad – “So you don’t want tea?”
  • Me – (Urrggghhhh!) “No, never mind. Let’s now have a conversation since the thought I was trying to capture just ran off to the Delta Glacier, never to be seen again. Yes, make me tea, I want the Bengal Spice, and let me close my laptop since I’m going to get nothing else of worth accomplished tonight.”

Brad and I just celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary. We’ve been making tea for each other for 35 years. He KNOWS what tea I like and that I stop drinking caffeine after 7 pm. He also knows that he could give me any of those four flavors and I’d be good with his choice. Heck, he’s given me just hot water before and I didn’t complain – scarcely noticed if I was chasing a powerful image out of my mind onto the page. But, yeah, at least once a week, he is a major distraction.

News

Say what you will about the times we live in – the news is hyperbolic. It’s been going on for a while now. Clinton (Bill, with Hillary as the wind beneath his wings) was going to destroy America. Bush 2 was going to destroy the world. Obama was destroying the middle class. Trump is going to implode the galaxy.

I studied to be a journalist and worked for a couple of years at our hometown newspaper, so I have an interest in the news. When we had cable television, the news was on a lot. Then we cut the cord and now the news is only on if we go looking for it on You-Tube. But my god, you could get so caught up in it all — watching Nancy Pelosi try to stage a coup and Trump try to avoid the knife and the 357 Democratic candidates try to throw each under the bus, while the CNN anchors turn blue waiting for World War 3 to break out while freaking out over Trump’s latest twitter storm and whether Bernie is a sexist or if the statements his Iowa field supervisor made on tape are a sign that at least some in his organization want a Marxist regime. Thank God we only have You-Tube and not CNN, Fox, MSNBC, PBS, and BBC.

I don’t watch the news all that often anymore. I do scan Reuters and our local newspaper daily and there are a few libertarian analysis sites I go to more than once a week, but for the most part, I don’t hang on every moment of the news because — DISTRACTING.

But Brad does like to catch some news programs on You-Tube. Remember what I said about being really good with distraction. That doesn’t bother me. I can watch a news program while writing a book – usually. Except he sometimes wants to talk about it and he figures his wife — former journalist with a political science minor — probably would like to weigh in. After all, I do know something about the topic — more than the average viewer. I show that when I write Transformation Project. So why don’t I watch the program?

Well, sometimes I am writing a story that has nothing to do with political science. The YA I’m writing currently has a main character who knows nothing about politics and doesn’t want to. That is so appropriate for a 17-year-old!

I began publishing Transformation Project before Donald Trump became president. I never really saw that coming, so I have to constantly remind myself that he’s not part of the mythology. The deceased President Dotson is based on a Michael Bloomberg-like character with a dash of Richard Nixon thrown in. It’s hard to keep Trump out of Transformation Project when Brad is watching the Milwaukee Keep America Great Rally on You-Tube. Then he cuts to the protesters and counter-protesters outside and pretty soon, I’m not writing, I’m watching and so long as I leave Trump out of it, I can get some great ideas about how people act stupidly when they come to believe the pageantry of the elected nobility matters in real life, but ultimately, I am distracted from writing.

It’s a Village at Your Fingertips

Social media is a great societal good and an immense societal disaster. It’s insta-community and I have over 800 followers. At least 50 of them weigh in regularly to my discussion openers on Facebook. I enjoy doing them and I often get attitudes that are reflected by characters within Transformation Project. Sometimes phrases even work their way in. It’s a great source for inspiration.

And a massive time-suck.

If I let it be. I have easily wasted weekend afternoons that were prime writing time discussing topics that I already have plenty of source material for. People ask you questions, they wish you happy birthday, they post their own stuff and I want to respond … Distracting!

How Do I Deal With It?

Life is about accommodations. If you’ve got a family, you’re blessed. You can’t just leave them to go live on a mountaintop where you can write without interruptions. You shouldn’t desire to do so. Brad interrupts me and sometimes I’m frustrated by that. I remind myself that he can’t read my mind and sometimes his distracting behaviors are because he’s lonely. That will happen to author widowers. I sometimes need to set aside a project for an evening so we can spend time together. I also try to encourage him to pursue his own hobbies when my muse is throwing fast balls and most of the time that works.

Shutting out the world is impossible and probably not helpful in the long run. Brad has a shtick about someone we know who never pays attention to the news emerging from his cave to discover the zombie apocalypse has occurred and he was utterly unaware of it and completely unprepared. Paying at least some attention to the world outside of my writing is a good thing and it makes my coworkers less nervous that I might walk in front of cars while I daydream. But really, unplugging is not a bad thing either. Most people today are WAY too attached to the whole Trump-is-going-to-implode-the-galaxy back-and-forth hysteria. Go do something else and stop freaking out. It’ll resolve itself — and, hint, neither side is particularly right at the moment and perhaps we ought to be more concerned about what they’re trying to distract us from.

Social media – yeah, where the freak-out is really occurring. Yes, I use it for research. Am I on it too much? Probably. Can I let it go? Not entirely. But I also don’t take it as seriously as some of my commenters tend to take it. I also don’t need to “win” the debate. I will keep dealing in principles and making points and letting people be wrong if they want to be wrong. And, even people who I mostly agree with are sometimes wrong. I’m sure they know that experience too.

I relax my grip and don’t sweat stuff I don’t control. And, that’s how I deal with it.

Posted January 20, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Nobody Jesus   Leave a comment

Quit Poking the Bars   Leave a comment

If I were to synopsize the libertarian point of view into one sentence it would be “Leave the other guy alone unless he’s interfering with your life in a substantive way.”

Yeah, simple, right?

Apparently not because in 21st century America only about 10 percent of the population seems able to grasp the concept of “it does me no harm if it doesn’t pick my pocket or break my leg.”

Don’t misunderstand me here. Most libertarians will debate almost any topic from dawn to dusk. We’ll stick to our principles and refuse to change our opinion because the vast majority of us became libertarians because we believe in principles. That we’ve thought out the logical conclusions of our principles means something to us and we hope reasonable debate will introduce progressives and conservatives to a less authoritarian way of structuring society.

Unfortunately, almost all progressives and a majority of conservatives cannot grasp the concept of “leave the other guy alone.” In fact, it tends to render them apoplectic when we suggest they don’t need to control the other guy.

For a whole host of topics, Americans are currently locked in a deadly unyielding battle for the soul of our society. We’re willing to tear the country asunder to “win” the ideological war. We’re no longer listening to one another, but we flail away like apes flinging dung at the bars of our cages, determined that we’ll at least out-screech those we don’t agree with.

There are a lot of people I disagree with and a lot of topics I have strong feelings about. Going from a macro view to a more granular view — let’s just look at how this works. This article is not about theology. It’s about human interaction and I’m using theology and morality as examples.

I absolutely believe God exists and spoke to us through the Bible. I absolutely believe God is the source of all things good and that when He says in His Book we shouldn’t hurt ourselves in specific ways, we should listen. We human beings, with our finite lives, are just not smarter than the Creator of the Universe. That works out to my absolute belief that God’s moral guidance is right and any moral stance that disagrees with God is wrong. Mine, yours, the guy down the street — if we’re not agreeing with God, we’re morally wrong.

Ooo, see how bossy I am! I want to control everyone and force them to live their lives the way I want them to.

No, I don’t.

And — here’s something you’ll find in the Bible — neither does God. He created Mankind with free will and let Adam and Eve make their own choices. He even provided them the means to make those choices via a tree He planted in Eden and told them not to touch because if they did, it would fundamentally change their relationship with Him. The tree wasn’t magical. The change came about because of their actions. God warned them of the consequences of choosing to disobey Him, then He let them make their own decisions and face those consequences.

Why did He? God wanted Adam and Eve to obey Him voluntarily. He showed that by providing Mankind with the means to reverse the consequences of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, but He doesn’t force us to take Him up on the deal. He permits us the dignity of making our own choices and receiving the consequences of our decisions.

Now we move from the example back to the point of the article.

My moral stance is absolute — for me — and it includes the libertarian guideline of ‘leave the other guy alone” and let him/her live in dignity with the consequences of his own moral decisions. Sure, I talk to people, I debate with them about the advantages of following God’s plans, and I pray that God will put other people in their lives who will say the same things. And, no, you can’t talk me out of what I believe because I have worked my way through faith from presuppositional analysis to reasonable conclusion and I’m not changing my mind about what I am 99 percent certain is true. If that insults, enrages or otherwise frustrates you that’s your problem. I hope you come to believe what I believe voluntarily. I won’t force you. However, I will resist any coercion or force meant to change my mind or silence me about what I believe, and yes, there is a lot of societal pressure these days to convert to secularism or at least be silent on the topic.

Moral coercion goes both (or all) ways. Some people would like to control alcohol, cannabis or meat consumption. Others would like to control who/what we can have sex with, who we can enter into a marriage contract with, or how many children we’re allowed to have or whether we must send them to public school or can homeschool them, and whether we can introduce them to our nutty personal philosophies. There are those who feel zealous about drinking mega-sized sodas, smoking cigarettes, wearing baggy pants, gun ownership, who we vote for, where we go to church or if we go at all, whether we drive a “gas-guzzling” SUV, an “eco-friendly” electric hybrid or take public transportation, whether we live in an apartment, a suburban house or a tiny home,… and the list goes on and on. Moral coercion is all around us. It doesn’t matter on which side of the moral divide you’re on — all sides are guilty of trying to force or coerce the other guy to do life whichever way they think is best.

It’s led us to a stage of societal development where we resemble apes flinging crap at the walls of our cages and we wonder why. I recognize the real issue is that there are cages at all, but a good start would be for the morality nannies to stop poking each other through the bars. Stop trying to force the other guy to do it your way. Give him the dignity of his choices and maybe he’ll give you the dignity of yours.

_______________________________________________________________

Lela Markham is a multi-genre author and blogger, born-again Christian, libertarian Alaskan with diverse interests.

Posted January 15, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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Characters Being True to Themselves   Leave a comment

Lyndell Williams

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#openbook

Your characters have been placed in Witness Protection. What three truths about themselves do they want to keep?

We can never hide all of who we are.  Things will eventually come to the surface, even when the feds inject someone into a new life to safeguard them from immediate danger. The famous mobster Henry Hill is a prime example.

Hill entered the U.S. Marshals’ Witness Protection Program after he became an informant and testified against his fellow mobsters.

Think Tekashi 6ix9ine, who ratted out fellow Blood gang members. A book was written about Hill’s life as well as the movie Goodfellas.

Anyway, Hill spent years in the Witness Protection Program, committing so many crimes that he and his wife were eventually kicked out. He just couldn’t shake the lawbreaker deep inside. Although they are products of my creative author’s mind, there are things about my Brothers…

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Posted January 13, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Witness Protection on the Open Book Blog Hop   Leave a comment

From Author K. Williams —

Blue Honor Blog

Posted January 13, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Harmony In Witness Protection #OpenBook Blog Hop   Leave a comment

January 13, 2020 Your characters have been placed in Witness Protection. What three truths about themselves do they want to keep? I laughed when I read this week’s prompt and immediately thou…

Source: Harmony In Witness Protection #OpenBook Blog Hop

Posted January 13, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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