Saturday, June 21, 2014

Swimming in Circles

At a conference several years ago, editor/author/ teacher-extraordinaire Karen Ball told about the attention span of a goldfish—about 3 seconds. That's why it happily swims in its bowl astonished as it passes the decor. "Look! I have a castle!" Off it goes to circle around and once again exclaim,

" Look! I have a castle!"

My writing focus--or lack thereof--is often goldfish style. I'm distracted constantly. When I work from my recliner, the television tempts me, my dog is oh-so-entertaining, and laundry beckons. When I work in quiet periods at my job, where I do have time to write, I still procrastinate. A deadline looms and I'm like a high schooler the night before a term paper is due.

I do know, however, I work well when I edit and proofread other author's work. Maybe it's the red-ink-teacher syndrome still running through my veins, but I truly enjoy helping others learn the craft of writing. Or maybe....look I have a castle... It's easier to tell you what to do than to tackle the blinking cursor and empty page!!

Do you find yourself shoving your work to one side? What brings you back to the page? Tell this goldfish your secrets on how to improve her stick-to-it-ness! 

But first I should clean the goldfish bowl, fed the fish, dust the shelf, maybe catch up on Masterpiece theater ... Look I have a castle.

Eileen Key retired after teaching school for thirty years. She is a freelance writer and editor, with two mysteries and several novellas published. Co-owner of Wings of Hope Publishing, her days are filled with writers and words. Mother of three, grandmother of four, Eileen resides in San Antonio, Texas.


  1. I so identify, Eileen. I'm not sure my attention span is even 3 seconds.

  2. I'm there with you cleaning the bowl, feeding the fish, anything to keep me away from my computer screen. Share the secret when you find it.

  3. I think the reason for this common writer's procrastination is that almost EVERYTHING is easier than writing. Right?

  4. Hi Eileen--
    I've been there. It seems the less time I have to write, the more productive I am. Nothing like a deadline or lack of time to write to get me focused. But goldfish are pretty to watch swimming aren't they?

  5. Look! A new Classic and Cozy blog post! Wait. What's that sparkly thing? Oh yeah, I sat down to write. :) I hear ya, sistah.

  6. Oh, and I neglected to mention what helps me get past the goldfish syndrome, (a.k.a., A.D.D. - Attention Diversity Dilemma - not a disorder, which implies something negative and I firmly believe it's what makes us so creative). Check out She's positively inspiring. I have to make a list every morning of things to do, and then check them off as I do them - and I mean a LIST: clean (the room of the day - yes, I break them into days and just clean that one thing), take care of home improvement project - and only one, write, (not necessarily in this order, but it has to be done before the day is done), and do one thing toward contributing to the family income (besides writing). That's my not-so-brilliant/effective method. I still go in search of sparkly things though. (Drat. Forgot to brush my teeth. I'm off.)

  7. Eileen, I have a category tag for my writer's blog (everwriting): Displacement Activity which covers everything from gardening to tidying the closet. I hear you, loud and clear. Let's go ride our bikes!