Concentration: The problem when you think for a living

It’s been one of those days. Clare opens computer intending to open Scrivener and get typing. Clare can’t think of anything to write. Clare should, because there’s a mountain of stuff to be done. Clare opens YouTube instead and watches a lot of clips from the Graham Norton show. Clare shuts Youtube and accidentally finds herself on Facebook instead of Scrivener.

Gah! I can’t get my brain to work. It will, by 3pm when I have a teleconference and hopefully before that when I successfully get something done. But in the meantime. I’m blogging on the woes of concentration glitches when you think for a living.

Problem #1: The internet ruins all your hopes and dreams. It’s a fact. It gets in the way. When there is a problem too great, too close to home, too inconvenient for you to want to think through, there is literally no end to the distractions you can find on the internet.

The easy fix is to walk down the hallway, turn off the router and refuse to turn it back on. Also to place my phone in a water tight bag, place it in a bucket of water and freeze it. Also to lend my iPad to a sibling who lives a few suburbs away so I have no further internet options.

Who am I kidding? Thats not going to happen.

Problem #2: Nothing inspires you to spring clean like a bad-concentration day and a deadline. Hubby and I have a guest arriving on Saturday. So I need to scrub all the skirting boards, bleach the bathroom roof, vacuum dust and polish all flat surfaces, clean out my wardrobe, scrub out the sinks and do copious amounts of washing, right? Never mind that I have a deadline to meet. Make that two.

The easy fix is to keep my workspace clean, shut the door to the rest of the house and just zone in on what needs to be done. All the cleaning can come later. But who am I kidding? That will just amount to claustrophobia. (You see, I’m a smart person. For every solution I can think myself into, there is another problem I can invent to think myself back out of it. Yay me! I’m a talent).

Problem #3: Don’t even get me started on the garden. Lucky its raining today and freezing outside. That’s all I have to say on that matter.

Problem #4: Fitness kicks start at odd times for me. Reading all about how muscular health can contribute to longevity does make one drop right to the floor and start doing situps. I’m not kidding. On days like this, there is actually temptation to do crunches instead of paragraphs. I can’t believe me! Really!

Eh. I would just give up and do something else for the day, but I can’t. So I went for my go-to solution: achieve an easy task to get the ball rolling. Then at least I can tick one item off my to-do list! Some days, thinking for a living is like rolling a gigantic snowball. You have to start little so you can work your way up to big. I’ve written this blog post. I’ve consulted a client and decided we need to be a bit more heavy-handed with a certain lot of negotiations. I’m off to tackle something slightly larger. Thanks for listening.

Meet the Character: Sidra Zayne

Hey guys,

It’s been a while since I introduced a new character on the blog. Whilst I’ve got one more major character to introduce, I haven’t gotten around to editing the photos so I’m going to make you wait on that one.

However: there are some really cool minor characters in the Remnant. So I’m going to introduce you to one of them. Most of her backstory won’t appear in book one at least, so here’s the scoop.

When Sidra Zayne started at the prestigious boarding school, Shakespeare House (just outside of Tricapolis), she was a girl with a vendetta. She’d been weeded out of her  school some three thousand kilometres away because she was ‘gifted.’

What this meant was that President Saul Raymond reserved the right to uproot her life, tear her family apart and decide what her future held for her: a gruelling intellectual attainment schedule and a career in intelligence. They’d teach her to kill in the name of the Worldwide Coalition. They’d kill her social life, monitor her every move and expect her to gain mastery of languages, computer systems and hand-to-hand combat. It didn’t matter that her conscience told her she didn’t want to do it. She wasn’t a person any more. She was an asset.

Her IQ test scores, her above average spatial awareness results and her President had collectively decided that she was a WWC weapon in the making. The government then cut all communications with her friends and family, placed her in an academically selective private school and expected her to answer their beck and call.

Sidra started noticing something strange the minute she arrived: some of the teachers at this school were the definition of boring – uptight, nerdy and serious – but then there were ‘the others.’ They had eyes that seemed to see straight through you, straight into your soul. Their smiles had more warmth in them and their eyes held a bit more of a lively glint than the dead, soulless eyes of the other teachers. Making friends at a snobbish school like Shakespeare House was a tough call, so she decided to track these teachers with her spare time instead.

It would take her all of a week to find a way into their underground home. But rather than sell them out, she watched.

Fast forward a year, and Sidra is one of an integral member of the Remnant. She’s a hand-to-hand combat expert with no intention of using her skills the way they were intended. These days, she’s got those eyes that see straight through people. She’s smart, quick witted and a pain in class if I’m honest. Currently, she’s helping Milo and Ezra train the Remnant for the tough next chapter in their lives – one they’d only been able to guess about until now.

If you find yourself in a dark Tricapolis alley after dark, or find yourself facing off against a corrupt regime, you’re going to want this girl on your team.

The Remnant (2 of 1)

The Remnant (1 of 1)

Time, she wars against me

Good Morning,

This week has seen me locked in a struggle against an overloaded brain. Thank God (literally) for a husband who recognised it and demanded I take a little time to smell the roses.

Shame that can’t happen until next week! This week I’ve got a book to get to the printer, a proof to get perfect and a product line to finalise.

Next week I’ll rest. This week I push through.

I had ever so fervently hoped that my second fiction novel would be released the year after Shadows. We are now just ticking over the 18 month mark, and I”m still a few months off with the Remnant. Bummer. I do have a book going to press next week, but my name isn’t on the cover and it isn’t fiction. It’s still wonderful. It’s still going to change lives. It’s still my second book in as many years and thats still a huge achievement.

But I’ll admit the blood pressure was tempted to hike up just a bit this week. I need a clone of me. Or maybe two! Because I’ll be honest, splitting my brain in too many directions is a little interesting, especially when three deadlines hit at once. At the moment, I’m a busy ghostwriter, a passionate fiction writer, an in-demand content writer and a frequent photographer.

Unfortunately for now, I’m split four ways work wise. But I’m pressing on. I’m incredibly blessed in that I get to do what I love…writing and photography. It’s just that, at the moment, I’m having to put my foot down, prioritise what’s burning on my heart and brain, and write fiction.

If I’m honest, its not just fiction. It’s fiction that explores something – what our use is as Christians if we let ourselves lose our voice, if we don’t prioritise compassion, and if we let the world back us into a corner. It’s about how we get out of that corner once we are backed into it.

It’s just ironic that time is backing me into a corner now. Dear time, why can’t we be friends? Why must you war against me?

I just wanted to touch base, to say I’m working hard to deliver for you! Next week will see a blog post introducing another character (Yew!) but for now you get the life update!