What Knocks You Off Your Game?


Writing is not an easy path. Many authors live very full lives, so the precious few hours available for writing are considered cherished.  I don’t need silence to write. I only need a cup of coffee, my mp4 and the television on but muted. Yeah, it’s odd but the colors on the screen help me concentrate in my peripheral vision.

What knocks me off my game is:

1. Endlessly arguing teens for no absolute reason other than boredom.

2. Waking up in a bad mood. Rare but it happens.

3. Multiple interruptions, the kids call, the school calls, the phone rings incessantly, or my mind just wanders.

4. Youtube

5. OCD- No really, when I get upset about the kids or the man or things not going how I like, I tend to obsess over my imperfections and it prevents me from moving on right then. Takes a day for me to get over whatever ‘it’ is. Totally unreasonable and unhealthy, thankfully it doesn’t last long and it’s never happened over edits.

6. The sad moments when I still think of my mother who passed three years ago. Still I have days where it hits hard and I don’t even want to crawl out of bed period.

7. Computer sharing. No laptop right now it died. So when I’m moving along good and need to get off for whatever reason, coming back is not as smooth as if I’d gotten to finish the scene. I rectified it by making sure I finish the sex  scenes at least. I hate beginning one and having to go back.

8. Having plans to write and the family having plans for family activities or date night.

9. Technology, I am not talented at learning the finer aspects of coding, html, building sites, although I can finally update my own website. Still working on conformity though. However when it gets too difficult and tests the bounds of my lacking impatience, it’s like the world has ended.

Here’s an example of how I fixed a total fit of Hales exasperation!

Unedited and coming one day– sometime soon—-somewhere

“Why does bad shit happen to me?” Hopeless of finding a solution, Paige slinked down, out of her chair with dramatic flair onto the cool tiled floor. “Umph,” the muffle sound escaped her mouth as she hit her head on the underside of the desk. Squinting, and on hands and knees she crawled looking for the itty bitty piece of metal determined to cause her heart- failure.

“Number fifty-four,” calling number fifty-four,” a nasally voice rang out over the sound system.

“That’s my number,” Paige tried not to hyperventilate. A pair of scuffed tennis shoes filled her line of vision. A glint of color on the tiles caught her attention.

“Can I help you?” The voice belonging to the sneakers asked.

“Are you good at screwing?” Paige tilted her head up, getting her first look of her savior, least she hoped so.

Coughing ensued.”I’m sorry, I misheard you.”

“No. I need someone good at screwing. Really good with—small, tight holes.” When her hand landed on the piece she needed she heaved a sigh of relief and scooted on her hands and knees, popping up at his side.

“I’m sure we can come to some kind of arrangement, outside of public view.”

“I don’t have time for an arrangement. I need it now—“She gave him a damsel in distress look, or at least she thought she did.

“You want help right here, right now?” The young man slipped his glasses off.

“Yessssss.” She pleaded catching his perplexed expression. He has nice lips, she pushed the thought out of her head.

“Number fifty-four, last call.”


“Oh thank the Lord. She slapped her glasses in his hand, and the tool kit. “I can’t get the screw in and I’m up for my driving test— right now.” She pivoted and ran to the window at the counter. “Just a minute, my lens popped out and a kind gentleman is assisting me.”

“Please hurry, there are others waiting.” The clerk replied.

“Oh I will.” Paige hurried back. “You’re the best ever… I mean one more pair of replacement glasses and the cost comes out of my pocket.” Yammering like a fool, she took a moment to appraise him while he had his head bent intent on her designer glasses. For frames so expensive, they had a habit of breaking all the damn time. She inhaled a pleasant scent, a woodsy fragrance, his face sported a trace amount of stubble. He wasn’t Adonis by any means, not with his rock band tee-shirt and ratty jeans, what she could see of them from her position. When he looked up at her, she got a view of eye’s the color of a turbulent sea, reminding her of her childhood crayon colors. Not a color well-defined but a mixture of green with a hint of blue. His hands held her glasses with ease, a feat she failed a few minutes before.

“It’s nothing,” Marcus reached up and adjusting her glasses on her face.

“I could kiss you,” She gave into impulse and kissed his cheek. “I um, have to go. Thanks again.” She walked off— mid way across the room, she realized she hadn’t gotten his name. Ignoring the glaring waiting customers, she ran back.

“I’m sorry. I’m not usually so frazzled. “I’m Paige.”


“Well, thanks Marcus.”

“For fixing your glasses? No problem, glad to help out. Better hurry for your driving test before the mob gets you.”

“Yeah, I should.” Why she stuttered like a teen-age girl she had no clue. 


Paige blushed beet red and tucked her chin down, turning she made a hasty retreat toward the instructor waiting for her. She couldn’t afford to lose her Driver’s License. Missouri had new rules for vision impaired individuals. No longer possessing twenty-twenty vision in her right eye, she had to prove her skills behind the wheel.

She led the instructor to her compact car. Before climbing in she did the perfunctory walk around of the vehicle, lights, tail brake and turn signal. Her mind kept straying to the man who helped her, and the mortification of his original thought. He must’ve thought she was insane. God, she couldn’t believe how sexual her words sounded, or that she’d wigged out, scared of losing her place in line and stuck in the hellacious, overfilled, understaffed Department of Motor Vehicles.

A place worse than any filled super grocery store. Shuddering, she slid in and buckled arranged her mirrors, and buckled her seat belt. Unlike her hero, the man next to her didn’t give her the friendly vibe. “I’m ready.”

“Start the car and pull out into traffic. I’ll give you instructions as we go. You must pass with ninety percent acuity or retake the driving exam.” The stilted voice said.

“Yes, Sir,” Her attempt of wry humor didn’t gain her any brownie points.  The instructor sat rigid in his seat, his expression, mildly annoyed. She doubted he had a funny bone in his entire body. She tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ears and followed his orders, determined to gain enough points to pass without using her vivacious charm and bubbly enthusiasm. The damned test looked to be unentertaining. 

 I hope you enjoyed this little sample of a story in the works to come. It materialized over exasperation at fixing my son’s eye glasses. Tell me why the screw kit has a million screws but none of them will screw into where the arm meets the glass part. Soon as I’d get it close the lens would pop out. The screwdriver for it is miniscule like a fairy could use it. I said fuck it and got him contacts, we’re both satisfied. I did take them in to get fixed but I was so grrr over my inability to screw in the fricken screw I needed a oulet to make it humorous. Viola you just read it!

What knocks you off your game?

How Do you Overcome it?  I wanna know!


About mahalia2010

Mother, Sister, Friend, Author

Posted on January 21, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. This was a great post, Hales. While my biggest block is and has been writer’s, there’s also the matter of complete and total lack of privacy. I don’t know about you, but when I write, I have to inside my head own head, if that makes any sense. Distractions are the number one “off my game” knocker than I have and there’s plenty of those in my house. Between my husband, my daughters and my granddaughter, I have all but given up writing. In fact, any writing (the only real writing I’ve done is fan fiction) I’ve ever done has been at work when bossman has been out and that was few and far between. Sad? You betcha. Writing is difficult for me (albeit enjoyable). Throw these issues into the mix and forget it. I’m totally feeling you on all these points, but at least you are still plugging away. Speaking of which, I’m loving this taste you gave us. I hope you will be able to get it finished and for sale someday soon.

    • Thanks Liz. Yep I understand that distractions are a issue. I write after they leave for school! In the summer before they get up, other than that I write with noise silenced headphones and block everyone out!

      You’ll get there one day. I began on a loop. Not a fanfic one but authors who just write stories and post them in sections.

  2. Wonderful post. And so right. For me it’s the everyday life that gets in the way. I try to write when I’m home by myself, which is usually between the hours of 8am-2pm. When the mister and the kid comes home no writing gets done, no matter the voices screaming in my head.

    Emails and social networking, even the promotional aspects hinder me too.

  3. Hales, fabulousness!

    And I agree. Interruptions kill me, which is strange, but I can multi-task with a lot of other things–but writing just isn’t one of them. My muse is too temperamental If I abandon her for anything more than it takes to get up and go get a drink. I come back to find myself deserted. I don’t have the teens, but a cat and dog that fight–well, like cats and dogs at the most inopportune moments. You’d think social networking or too much, would be on the list, but no. If anything, it allows me a minute or two to step away and think about a plot hole, character flaw, etc, without completely walking away and losing the thread (the more you see me on facebook, the more trouble I am having writing). What I would consider on the list however, is my e-mail. I can’t just let e-mails pile up. I have too many projects at any given time and it drives me crazy when I allow a million and one things just sit there unfinished. I can’t concentrate on writing, lol.

    Awesome post!


    • Hey Kayden I don’t have a tempermental muse. I clock my normal 3k if lucky and most I can do is 5k and I’m done for the day. I wish I could knock out 10k in one day it’d be fantastic. LOL I can imagine animals are just as bad. Thanks for commenting. I ignore emails too. If I didn’t I’d never get a thing done.

  4. Great post Hales. A rough scene not going the way I want can do it to me. I notice I have tweets, emails and I ‘take a quick break’ that can go for hours! Family will do it every time. Sharing a computer, I know the pains there, though hubby is really good at trying not to interfere. Bless him his forced solidarity. lol Having the grandkids over…need I explain?

    Loved your anxiety breaker!

    • I’ve had that happen Calisa, the scene is going crappy and tweets. Tweet deck gives me a migraine lol. Ahhh I have my niece and nephew every weekend so I get minimal writing done with a four yr old underfoot.

  5. You post is right on Hales! I have a 3 yr old and a 12 yr old. I really need to schedule better. She will allow me some “writing” time, she knows what that means. Then I’ll get home and spends time with her reading practicing basic kindergarten till its time for a nap.

    When my 12 yr old and hubby get home, I MIGHT be able to get some more done if they will give me the chance. The best time for me to write is when the house is asleep after 12am. I may be able to stay up till 3-4 only to wake up at 630 and get my 12 yr old off to school and fix the 3yr old brkfast.

    Keep working at it Hales. I like the excerpt too btw.

    • Thanks Sharita,

      I haven’t tried writing early in the AM, my DH would wake up and tellm e to get my tail back in bed prob lol. Thanks I thought it was too funny not to share.

  6. Great post..For me it is just things that happen in daily life…Nothing speciific, but it does affect my game in some way. No matter how much I try sometimes I can’t get back on track…

  7. Allowing distractions… youtube… reading a book instead of writing… When I start writing a story, or a series, I have a very hard time focusing if I’m in the middle of reading a book as well. I have to finish one or the other. I can’t seem to do both. At least not with any focus. I have a couple really old school computer games that will bite me with the ‘gaming bug’ every once in a while. I can normally get that out of my system in a day or so and then get my focus back. Having too many stories started at the same time! That can be a problem. I like to have two or three going at a time, that way if I get stumped, or hit writer’s block, with one story, I can normally work on one of the others. But if I have more than that rattling around my head my brain doesn’t know what to focus on first.
    The teaser you posted was very cute. It should make an interesting story. I love finding a story idea in common, everyday happenings. And I wore glasses for years, so I can certainly relate to how difficult getting that dang screw back in can be.

  8. I distract easily so there many things that block me but once I hit ‘the zone’ nothing stops me. Until I get there I get blocked by tv, browsing and especially my cat!

  9. Great post! You have so much in your life, it makes mine look puny, yet I still don’t have the time I need. What really throws me off my game is a fight with my beloved that was unresolved, or even one that looks resolved, but the reason underlying the conflict still exists. It forces me out of my characters’ heads and into real life, and it takes me days to regain my equilibrium.

  10. You know, the number one thing that knocks me off the writing path is when I’m ticked off. I don’t mean a bit annoyed with TV, naughty kids, or other interruptions. I mean p*d off, like when my spouse and I have had an argument. Some people are able to journal or write as a catharsis to get those feelings out, but not me. When it comes to my fiction, I have to have a clear head to get the job done, or my muse completely shuts off.

    That used to derail me for days, sometimes longer. Nowadays, I’ve learned to bring my muse back around by playing ritual drumming or other music, watching a movie, or other distractions to stem the tide of anger and get things rolling again. What used to take days now can be just a matter of hours. Now when my muse decides to take an unscheduled holiday, well, that’s another story.

  11. Loved this post!! What knocks me off my game? Negative people sniping at me. How do I over-come it? Chocolate first and then I “convince” myself that I won’t give them the power to make me miserable.

    • Thanks Maeve!!! Negativity does it everytime. I’m fairly optimistic so negativity really hits me bad. Chocolate is great and yep don’t give anyone power to make you feel less than perfect.

  12. Distractions! That would be the number one on my sh** list. I need to be in my own head to write, not thinking about the phone, the tv or *yikes* the bills! LOL
    Second would be when my characters do something totally unexpected. That’s when I sit there and think, “well crap, now what am I supposed to do?” 🙂

  13. Internet for me – research in particular, which I tend to do a lot of online. Names, places, dress – it’s so easy to find what you need. But then I go off on a tangent and get lost in another country or era. Before I know it a few hours have gone by. I really need to get a handle on this.

  14. Biggest distraction… reading people’s blogs! (Just kidding.) I’ve struggled with most of the issues everyone else has listed. Is anyone immune? When it comes down to crunch time, I somehow manage to “just do it.” It’s work, plain and simple, but then that’s why they pay us the big bucks. Oh… wait. No they don’t. o_O

    But honestly, the worst thing is staring at a blank page, or that says “Chapter One.” Grrrrr…. >_< I will sit there for a few minutes, file my nails, clean my keyboard, wipe the monitor, fidget with stuff on my desk, and then go get more coffee. When I get back, the dang page is still blank though, so I close the window and jump online to see what's happening on Facebook. *sigh*

    I make myself stay offline, stop reading my email off and on all day, and when I really don't have time to read them, I trash digest emails and try not to wince as I empty the trash. I guess being online anywhere is a problem for me. The only way I've discovered to overcome it is the close button on the browser. As long as I don't open it again, I'm good.

    Really great blog. I liked your fun excerpt too. I giggled over her needing a screw right now. LOL

    • Yep. I allow myself only a bit of Internet and say okay you need to do this much today and then you can play and read the book you just bought. 🙂 Thanks for the excerpt. I thought it was funny and it was how I turned a aggrivating moment into something positive!

  15. D'Ann Linscott-Dunham

    The big things that keeps me from writing are work, Facebook and lack of interest. There are times when I just don’t feel like it.

  16. I’m a person who usually writes during fall and winter and has to have every scene finished before garden season begins. It’s odd, I know, but I like to spend my time outdoors as long as the weather is (at least) dry and halfway warm. Some friends tell me to take a notebook outside, but it’s not the real deal.
    I agree with being torn away from writing by my kids (no surprise here) and RL demands I have to meet. I need two hours free time in a row to get a scene going. If I don’t have that time, I prefer editing over writing new scenes.
    Right now, I’m at the beginning of a new English story. The plot’s already there, and my muse and I spend afternoons with the “fine tuning” of the singular scenes.
    Thanks for the opportunity to share your blog.
    Have a great weekend,
    Ann Raina

  17. What knocks me off my game? I do. So much to read and watch and just, well, do. And my body betrays me with fatigue and illness.

    I nominated your blog for the Stylish Blog Award. You can pick up your award here: http://pennyrader.blogspot.com/2011/01/my-blog-won-award.html 😀

  18. Hi Hales,

    What stops me from writing is my daughter being sick, like she is right now.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: