Squirrelly concentration at best

Have you ever read a book and realize that you’ve been reading the same paragraph or sentence over and over and over again? It happens to me from time to time. That doesn’t mean that the story isn’t good, or the paragraph for that matter, it’s a symptom that I’m distracted or tired or I simply can’t concentrate.

Concentration is necessary, but so is distraction. I mean within my writing not outside of it. Distraction outside can be… distracting.  People get distracted, they fail to concentrate and it might not be a bad thing to toss into a characters day.

Some causes of distraction

Bad news
Good news
Shocking news
Too much work/work overload
Death/illness
Leaving something unfinished
Crush on someone
Falling in love
Falling out of love
A fight, physical or emotional
Injury or accident
Exhaustion
Embarrassment/Humiliation

Any situation that can’t be shaken for the sake of normal or expected day-to-day activities.

The loud smack of a palm flat on the desk startled Amber causing her to yelp.
“Amber.” Scott’s firm tone and narrowed eyes made her eyes widen. “I needed that proof half an hour ago and Wilson’s called you twice and you didn’t pick up.”
She blinked quickly and stood. “Sorry. I’ll get it now.”
“Don’t bother.” Scott glanced at Dale who was paying too close attention. “I got the proof myself. Wilson wants you in his office.” He leaned closer. “You’ve been a space case since lunch what happened?”
“Nothing, sorry. I must still be off from yesterday.” She ducked around Scott, shot Dale a ‘keep your mouth shut’ look and scurried off to Wilson’s office.
Scott stared at Dale who stared back. “Scott that editing won’t get done on it’s own man.”
“Yeah sorry.” Dale turned back to his screen.
“You okay?” Scott pressed his lips as Dale nodded and waved him away. He turned and went back toward his office mumbling. “Everyone’s gone mad around here.”

The bench across from Anne’s office edged a concrete path in her favorite park. The mature gardens splendid in their panoply of colours and textures. Anne sat on the bench and looked off to the distance; a slight smile curling her lips as she sighed. The unseasonably warm day smelled as if rain was coming. Anne’s thoughts turned inward. A pigeon crept up on her, flitted to the bench seat. She blinked lazily at the Sedum and Astor’s rustling in the gentle breeze. The skulking bird stretched its neck, grasped half her bagel right out of her hand and retreated to the middle of the path.

“Oh you dumb bird!” Anne uselessly kicked toward the pigeon with his prize. “Oh well, I bet you have a family to feed.” She watched the bird absently as it pecked away a large chunk of bread. Fat raindrops pelted the ground around the pigeon and she watched as it dragged and tried to fly with the carbs in beak.
She looked up suddenly when she realized she wasn’t getting hit by any mini water bombs.
“Were you just going to sit here and get soaked?” Tony smiled down at her his umbrella in hand shielding her from the rain.
“Oh! What a nice surprise.” She jumped up, grinned and threw her arms around his neck. “I was in la-la land and you valiantly saved me.”
“Yes.” He chuckled and returned the hug with one arm. “Those dastardly raindrops were up to no good.”
“Oh but they were, sneaking up on me while I let the pigeon steal my snack.”
“I saw.” Tony chuckled and then kissed her.

What was I writing about? Oh right, distraction and concentration. It can be minor or it can be major. People can make huge mistakes while distracted. Crash cars, Lose children, lock keys in the car, break something valuable, and let a secret slip or much worse. They can be funny or serious. My point is if there is a lot going on in someone’s life they might have a moment or two of distraction so I try to include them in a story if I can.

My advice about distraction.
Distraction is a good way to… oh, look a chubby adorable squirrel… Right my advice… what a fluffy critter with his bushy tail jumping up to… So I think if you write about distraction you need to… and now it’s destroying my bird-feeder. Yay! The little vermin jerk! Gnawing with its stupid sharp teeth, being all cute while… Oh yeah. People get distracted, it happens, so why not let a character get squirreled. I mean distracted occasionally?

-Sheryl

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