Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!

A Writer’s Mind: Distracted


A red squirrel coming out of my hinged head.

You know that dog in UP? I swear the reason everyone likes him so much is because they’re all closet ADD sufferers and they identify with the canine that is so terribly sincere, but can’t keep his mind on a single topic for more than a few seconds. 

Can you relate? I sure can. My mind fidgets like a kid wearing wool socks in the summertime. (I’m picturing a church scene, circa 1907.) Seriously, though, my mind has the hardest time staying in one place. Even when I’m simply explaining something, I tend to wander all the way around the bush, sometimes several times, before I finally make the point I intended to make in the first place.

Not pretty sight. And I can’t help but feel sorry for whomever is forced to listen to me. 

This picture reminds me of a poem one of my kids taught me: Nuts? I love nuts! Almonds are my favorite. Peanuts drive me crazy. Crazy? I was crazy once. They put me in a cell. I lived in that cell. I died in that cell. I was buried in that cell. Flowers grew on my grave. The flowers grew up, and the flowers grew down. They drove me nuts. Nuts? I love nuts …

But writers will follow rabbit trails (or squirrel trails) like that. Driving down the road, they can picture a space ship matching their velocity, sending out duplicate drones that fill the sky like a mass of mosquitoes. Or they can sit at a volleyball game and devise how the line judge is really an FBI agent assigned to protect one of the star players who will be going into witness protection as soon as the game ends. 

(It’s one of the reasons why I write. I get the opportunity to organize those little wandering ant thoughts and tie them down to a semblance of order on the page.)

So the next time you’re talking to a writer and her eyes sort of glaze over a little, don’t be offended. Who knows? Maybe you’re staring in her next story idea? Just hope that you’re not the villain!

Your Turn: What’s your greatest distraction? Mine is music. I can’t think when songs are playing. Do you have that problem?

Author: Marji Laine

Marji is a recently "graduated" homeschooling mom whose twin girls have blessed her by sticking around the nest for a little longer. She spends her days directing the children’s music program at her church and working with the authors of Write Integrity Press to put out the best possible version of their books. Raised in suburban Dallas, she got her first taste of writing through the stories of brilliant authors of their day, Mignon Eberhart and Phyllis A. Whitney, and through stage experience. After directing and acting in productions for decades, Marji started writing her own scripts. From that early beginning, she delved into creating scintillating suspense with a side of Texas sassy. She invites readers to unravel their inspiration, seeking a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s Great Mystery that invites us all.

6 thoughts on “A Writer’s Mind: Distracted

  1. The ideal environment for writing is a quiet, isolated room. That said, I have the ability to slip into hyperfocus. When that happens, you have to physically assault me to get my attention.


    • I’m with you on the quiet, David. I got a ton of words in today waiting for Precious Redhead who was at a meeting. Totally quiet, no one walking around, and I got all sorts of inspiration from the view outside my car. Nothing interrupted me, not the blowing trees or the leaves falling, the traffic on the road next to me, not even the construction going on. And I’m convinced it’s because I couldn’t hear any of it.


  2. The question is what ISN”T my biggest distraction? I have the attention span of a gnat. And yes, I’ve wondered if gnats have attention spans. Oh, and am I the only person on the planet who didn’t like UP? I thought it was depressing.


    • Confession time! I never saw the movie. Only bits and pieces of it. My kids know I don’t like movies that make me cry so they would shoo me out of the room. But I saw some of the dog scenes! LOL!


  3. I love it. That poem is awesome and oh so true!


    • I came across it several years ago at a youth trip. One of the kids knew it so by the time we headed home, all of the kids knew it and kept reciting it over and over on the bus. By the time we got back to Dallas, the parents all knew it by heart as well. (And swore they’d never go on another youth trip! LOL!)