Wanted: Distractions

Colourful-selection-of-squashThese beautiful squash jumped into my car the other day when I was visiting Piercy’s farm. They were so beautiful, I couldn’t resist. It’s not like I run a home for wayward squash, but I am a sucker for fall colours, and they do perk up the porch.

They’ll eventually end up in my oven, which makes me feel a bit like the cannibalistic witch in Hansel and Gretel, but I’ll live with the guilt. In fact, we’ve already devoured the spaghetti squash and the others will be baked until the sugars caramelize around the edges into brown bits of crunchy heaven.

Why, you might ask, am I going on about squash? I have a good reason – I need the distraction.

You see, I finished writing the first draft of Book IV almost three weeks ago and I’m determined to leave it alone for another week: no peeking, no tweaking.

Yikes! A whole month.

I don’t think I’ve ever stayed away from these characters for that long. But the next part of the process is the first edit, and I know I’ll do a better job of it if I can distance myself from it, which is easier said than done. For months, I’ve spent every day with these characters and without them, there’s a gaping hole in my day — a hole I need to fill with distractions.

I’ve already cleaned the house, I’ve groomed the dog, and I’m up to date with the programs I had on the PVR. I’ve returned to the gym (sadly out of shape, I’m afraid) and caught up with friends over leisurely lunches and coffee dates.

I tackled the gardens. It’s a good thing it’s been a great fall — warmer and drier than usual, and I took advantage of the extended season to take care of those outdoor chores that should have been done months ago. That’s one of the downsides to writing – you have to give up some things to make time to write. Anyway, I’ve rather enjoyed getting dirt under my fingernails again and filling up the composters.

Now the rains have started and I’m back inside…studiously avoiding the characters who lurk dangerously close to this blog. One more week…

Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate this weekend.

If you’re looking for a distraction, give yourself The Gift: Awakening with one simple click here.

About JP McLean

Author of The Gift Legacy, a contemporary thriller with a twist of fantasy that will leave you believing the impossible and wary of the night sky…
This entry was posted in Editing, On Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Wanted: Distractions

  1. sknicholls says:

    I so miss being out in the countryside. Living in the city has its conveniences, but having my own flower and vegetable gardens, visiting local farms, the feel of the seasons changing. I just miss it all. Sounds like you are on track for a good season. Also, the ONLY vegetable my husband won’t eat is any kind of squash. I’m so jealous. I miss that, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Vanessa says:

    Hi Jo-Anne: Your post about distractions and pumpkins is as refreshing as the autumn winds! Any of us that write know how difficult it can be at times, leaving us ‘driven to distraction’ for obvious reasons. I can speak of this on a personal level ..very close to me…as a matter of fact …. last night in fact. I settled down with ‘Revelation’ book two of your series at 12:30. I could not put this down, and kept reading until 3:00 a.m. The benefit was evident, I did feel rested this a.m. accomplishing the task of organizing my thoughts to the physical realm….a nice Turkey dinner shortly. Our passions drive us, as do our intuition and I will look forward to book IV. This will bide me time to get through book three. You are truly amazing each time, I hold onto my seat to the thrill ride of your books! Well done. Vanessa

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha! I have the exact opposite problem, being the Queen of Procrastinators, as my editor, Rachel Small, well knows I am. If anything, I need a pep-talk or a good kick in the butt to get me back to what I’ve been trying to avoid doing all along – finish rewriting my second novel. Those favourite characters are fast becoming more like strangers every day I delay. And now your blog post has me thinking about going out to look for squash and researching recipes … Great post, Jo-Anne! And best of luck with that second draft!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jo-Anne, love the squash distraction. Like you I’m a fan of that vegetable, not only for the color, but also for the shape and taste. You’re smart to leave your first draft alone. I’ve learned that with time. It’s amazing what you can see when you give words a break from your watchful eyes. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.


  5. Sally Rae says:

    Hi Jo-Anne, I totally agree with your method of finishing a piece, then ‘giving it distance’. Although I’m sorry that it has left a gaping hole in your day… on a positive note, look at all the neglected work that is now caught up!
    I have personally used the ‘give it distance’ method with a seasonal food column that progressed into my first cookbook. The distance cleared my head and I was able to read and edit with ‘fresh eyes’. It is amazing what jumps off the page, so to speak, once you stop reading the same words over and over for a few weeks.
    Enjoy that squash, Happy Thanksgiving and good luck with the second draft! I look forward to reading what your characters are up to this time!


  6. olganm says:

    Hi Jo-Anne: I also like to live some time before I start editing and it is difficult but the distance is very good. We don’t get such variety of squashes here but I’m going to catch up with the recipes and see what I can find. All the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    • JP McLean says:

      Good luck with the hunt for squash recipes. If you have the butternut variety, that’s my favourite for blending into creamy soups. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.


  7. Inese Poga Art Gallery says:

    Distractions are needed, indeed. It’s great you’re making use of fall treasures and harvest attractions! I live in the downtown of a small town, and have a huge backyard, that gives the convenience of walking distance stores and shopping, and I can have as many plants as I would like to. The only thing which is totally destroying this greatness is a big crowd of squirrels which do not allow any plant to grow: they simply dig it up until it dies if I don’t come to rescue quickly. Have tried everything, nothing helps. It’s a fantastic way to live as you do!

    Liked by 1 person

    • JP McLean says:

      We are very lucky here – the squirrels don’t bother with the squash, but we do have racoons and they LOVE the fruit and nut trees. Always nice to hear from you. Love the pumpkin paintings your group has been working on.


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