Writing in a Distracting Environment

I am the primary learning coach for my two sons as we homeschool them under the K-12 online curriculum.  My youngest, Lucas, is in the 2nd Grade, and my oldest, Logan is in the 4th.  Some days are a breeze, but most other days it’s a challenge to even get them started.  Sometimes, it takes 2 hours of screaming, groaning, and table-banging just to get them to figure out that 2 x 2 equals 4.  The main struggle is in keeping the boys focused on their studies.  It requires diligent attention and strict enforcement.  I now understand why some teachers grow into that perpetual disapproving glare over the years because if I’m not careful, I’d be wearing that glare all day now.

My wife works from home as a web developer for our web development firm, Satdaya Studios, and a partner in our online business venture, Eventida.  She sits across from me at her desk  and typing away on her old, frail laptop, oblivious to the world beyond the screen.  This is good – she is the breadwinner of the household now, the moneymaker.  She deals with the clients, the projects, the bookkeeping, and everything else that I’m too burnt out to put any lasting interest into. Sort of my own inverted Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes, in a good way, of course.

I am also the de-facto Mr. Mom, cooking all the meals, washing most of the dishes, and doing the other household chores that I don’t do.  I am also responsible for making sure that we get our regular exercise; that we do enough enrichment activities so that no one gets bored and no potential in my kids gets wasted.  It’s more than a little challenging to do this because, growing up in the 80’s, I was pretty much left to my own devices as a latch-key kid.  I would ride my bike all over town, play with my dog and toys, and tool around on my Atari 800XL and Nintendo Entertainment Systems.  Sure, maybe I missed out on a whole bunch of clubs and enrichment activities, but I had the complete freedom to do whatever struck my fancy at the time pretty much up until high school.  Boy, do I miss the 80’s.  There just wasn’t as much pressure back then, do you think?  Is this the evolution of society’s expectations, I wonder, or is it just something that I’ve totally (and perhaps luckily) missed out on because I grew up in different than “normal” circumstances?

In the midst of all that’s going on, I’m trying to start writing again.  To start writing in this blog, and finally start writing that sci-fi/fantasy/horror mash-up of a novel that’s been knocking around in my mind for years and years now.  I actually wrote the first draft of it, by hand no less, back in 1997-98, but lost my manuscripts with no clear memory of how I did.  Fortunately, I remember most of the major scenes, and the ideas behind them, which have changed over the years.  I think it’s going to be a fantastic novel, but only if I actually write the darn thing.

It’s a big challenge, but I’m going to do it.  I have to do it because I won’t be happy and satisfied if I don’t.  If reporters can write in a warzone, with bombs going off all around, I can write in this distracting environment.  Yeah, I’m going to write my ass off, and my family is going to have to understand if I get a little distracted for awhile.  If the kids have gone a little native.  If the house gets a little messy.  If things are still left a little undone.  I mean, I’ll do my best but I probably won’t be able to do it all.  It’s because I’m going to write like hell, so I can make up for all the unwritten years I’ve tossed into the past.  I’ll write my daily musings, my poems, my short stories and whatever else I can dream up in this blog and I’ll also write that damn novel.  Or two.  Or three.

Laurence Lee

Insert a long drawn out biographical statement that tells you absolutely nothing about who I really am here.

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1 Response

  1. Elise says:

    Keep in mind that in the 80’s there wasn’t as much to do inside the house as there is nowadays – all kinds of gaming, computer stuff, TV (entertaining, that is – back then, during the day time there were basically only soaps and talk shows, today there’s cartoons all day, animal planet, discovery, etc), and so on. We literally have to kick our kids out the door only to have them come back in 15 minutes later wanting to do something electronic.

    So, when I am encouraging you (yes, readers, it’s me behind this pressure on Lee) to make sure the boys get out and about doing “activities” – my main motivation is just making sure they get out of the house and experience those enriching activities we did during the 80’s, being creative, wandering around outdoors using our imagination. Also, to get exercise because they are being homeschooled and not getting any PE.

    It doesn’t HAVE to be structured, but when they are structured, it makes it easier to keep up. And consider this; the opportunity to take a break from being responsible for the boys and letting the class or activity leader lead the boys through their sporting or creative activity, and you’ll be free to, say… write something for the hour they are in class or activity. ;-P

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