An old mate used to talk about something he called The Diversionary Force, an ever-present spectre waiting to leap out and distract you the moment there’s any danger you might achieve something important. For writers, The DF is lethal. Its power lies in the fact that there is always some plausible, legitimate demand on your attention, something you must get done before you can start the day’s writing. And with any luck, when you’ve done it, you’ll have forgotten the searing insight you were about to explore.
In the world of DF, the Inbox is King at the moment. It’s almost impossible to open an email that requires action without dealing with it straight away. I suppose it’s the same misguided instinct that prompts some people behind desks to answer the phone while they’re talking to you and keep you standing there for ten minutes while they have a conversation with the person who couldn’t be bothered to turn up and talk personally. I digress – (y’see? I was about to expose the Diversionary Force, when it tried to lead me off in another direction).
Today’s DF for me is the bottom left hand drawer in my desk which I find is stuffed to the top with old crap that needs to be thrown out. It’s in my penumbra while I’m working, so I can’t ignore it and the OCD side of my nature is saying “Get it done, then you can write in peace”. Yeah, right. The truth is, I’m having trouble with Chapter Nineteen of THE ROAD TO AVERSAC, and it’s going to take effort to crank up the brain and address it. Far easier to clear out a drawer. SO… no way. The book gets my full attention. The Diversionary Force is beaten for today and the left-hand bottom drawer will have to stay stuffed.