Shiny Things Distract Me

Alternate title: Sharing my OCD—Obscure Creative Directives

Get inspired to write something brilliant at a completely inopportune time. Forget about it for a bit.

Start doing something else, remember your idea and head into the living room to turn on your computer.

While waiting for it to boot up, go into the kitchen to make a cup of tea.

The water takes a minute to heat up. Notice that the shelf next to the sink is dusty, grab a rag and quickly wipe it down.

This leads to cleaning the whole counter, as the power of Lysol 4-in-1 knows no bounds.

Remember the water is boiled and make your cup of tea.


Head back into the living room (still inspired.)


Decide to check your e-mail for just a second before really settling in for the composition of brilliance.

Twenty minutes and a witty Facebook status update later, return to your writing.

Write without self-editing. Just write.

Realize you have the word “spatulate” stuck in your head and decide that yes, it can be used in a sentence.

The word “spatulate” makes you think of cake, which reminds you of the Sara Lee commercial, the jingle of which is now stuck in your head.

Remember that until you saw it in print, you thought is was “Nobody does it like Sara Lee” because “Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee” is a double negative and doesn’t make as much sense. 


Focus; not on the grammatical shortcomings of the Sara Lee Corporation.

Start writing and soon realize you forgot about your tea, so go into the kitchen and throw it in the microwave.

Fill the 30 seconds by getting your lunch containers ready for the next day, and while you’re at it, fill the lunch containers so you’re good-to-go.

Notice the shelf in the fridge could stand to be wiped down. Call in Lysol 4-in-1 again; it’s power knows no bounds.

Remember about the tea, retrieve said tea and head back to the computer.

Focus. Write a bit.

Bite your tongue—literally.

Tea makes you pee, so go relieve the problem—among other things.

Wash your hands and decide to replace the Glade Plug-In in the outlet.

While in the closet, take note of the Swiffer and decide it’s time to go for a ride.


Turn the radio on—loud—not because it’s a mandatory step, but because it makes you happy.

Swiffering also makes you happy, so clean, sing and dance around your kitchen with your freak flag flying high.

The floor needs to dry, so head back into the living room.

Remember you were writing.

Turn the radio down. Find yourself humming.

Bite your tongue again in the exact same spot. Curse—loudly—not because it’s a mandatory step, but because it makes you feel better.

Turn the radio off.


Write without self-editing. Just write.

Decide you don’t want to overdo it, so hit “save” and go put the kitchen rugs back on the (clean) floor.

While you’re throwing things, throw your yoga mat on the living room carpet as a reminder that you are going to do it later. If the mat is on the floor, you will do it later.


Light the “Fresh Baked Cookies”-scented candle in your living room, not to set a romantic mood for yourself, but to make it smell like delicious baked cookies you didn’t bake (as nobody does it like Sara Lee has given you a temporary  inferiority complex.)

Return to your computer and read what you wrote without judgment, and then read what you wrote with the addition of judgment.

Decide it’s not brilliant, but it’s you.

Marvel at how much that candle really smells like Fresh Baked Cookies and resist the urge to lick it.


Attempt to add an image into your post, as you’ve heard that people like to see images in posts.

Shrug and decide you don’t care what people like to see in posts.  You can’t please them all.

Reread your words one more time.

Brush off self-doubt and embrace what you are.

Hit “publish.”

Start doing something else until you get inspired to write something brilliant at a completely inopportune time—maybe yoga.


23 responses to “Shiny Things Distract Me

  1. Haha, I wish I had done all those things to my apartment today. I definitely do the yoga mat thing though. In fact, it’s down right now and I should go use it…
    Your process is definitely genius.

  2. Rinse, lather and repeat. 🙂

    OCD? Or perhaps ADD? Kidding! ADD would probably be ME.

    I find myself doing the same things. Except at least you like, remember to go back to finish.

    I always manage to forget about that pot of water on the stove until I smell something funny. Or RUN to the toilet to pee, only to discover I’ve peed all over the scrubbing bubbles I sprayed in there because I forgot to go back and scrub it.

    This is in addition to forgetting to sweep up the little piles of dirt, etc that I always mean to go do ‘later.’ And clothes I completely forgot to move from the washer from the day before (sometimes two) to the dryer.

    • I just realized I got lather, rinse repeat backwards. That doesn’t sit right with me. And I can’t edit it. I guess in this particular case, MY ocd is getting the last laugh. Oh well.

    • Most certainly a combination of OCD and ADD. And the events described above might not have all happened at the same time, meaning there are a LOT of unfinished posts but clean things in my house…and impromptu dance parties.

  3. At least you were productive with it all! I get in those moods every now and then where I just start cleaning random things and forget about what I was doing. I also get “interrupted” by myself whenever I write a post and I find myself coming back to it later, only to have either A) forgotten what it was I wanted to write about in the first place or B) did something amazing in that time I was gone and completely shift gears and change post topics mid-post.

    And there’s something about tea that just screams “steep and forget.” I always forget I have tea steeping whenever I want a glass. 😛

  4. i could honestly put quotes around this post and repost it as my own. except for i’m not that witty and i have no idea what a double negative is.

  5. brilliant. as usual, you are hilarious and true. in the midst of reading, im sorry but i got up to flick off the fireplace, grab a spoonful of refried beans, check my email, and then surf to cnn entertainment to check the oscar winners (ok the dresses, i haven’t seen any of the movies or heard of 3/4 of them.)

    forget OCD or ADD. this is all WOMAN.

  6. Hahahaa! Loved this. It describes me when I’m writing an essay on a topic I could care less about (–> sucky grammar, ignore please).
    But if I’m blogging, I usually don’t ever get distracted, because I find writing about myself very very entertaining, more than making a cup of tea. ;-p

  7. I guess you blog is shiny cause its seriously distracting from me writing for my own blog! then again, I’m hesitant to replace your post since all my readers are demanding I abdicate and let you take over 😉

  8. I adore reading your posts : )

    As for focusing, I had the same problem yesterday! I had all of this work to do and I sat down at my computer and could NOT do it. At one point I tried to make a paper crane out of a 3 square inch piece of notebook paper. I took a walk to the bathroom and that seemed to help (maybe I just had to pee? Sorry TMI!)

    Sometimes when I tell myself to focus it has the opposite effect. One time a yoga instructor told me that instead of “ordering yourself” to do things, just tell yourself “try to do _____ just a little bit”. I need to remember that!

    Whoops, sorry for the ramble!

  9. Writing with reckless abandon is my favorite way to write- just do it.

  10. Ah, you had me at the title and alternate title. This post definitely sums up most of my weekends. And you know that I LOVE to fly my own freak flag. I may have had an inpromptu dance party after dinner last night. By myself. Just because 🙂

  11. Kath (My Funny Little Life)

    This pefectly described my life. I have some ADHD issues, so I’m always distracted and have a hard time to get to my things, especially when everything around me is looking at me and saying, “do something with me!”, “clean me!”, “put me away!”, “get to me first!” etc. Gah.

  12. Haha, I sometimes think I’m ADD because I space out..whoops 😀

  13. This post is ironic because I really should be doing an essay right now, but instead I’m sitting here giggling at your wonderful post 🙂

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  15. LOL, I like the part….oh darn, a raggy nail.

    Okay back! I liked the part where….oh god my show is on.

    All right. Sofry about that! What I was going to say is that I really liked gthe part where you said….did I turn off the coffee maker?


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  17. I ONLY have inspiration when I am in the middle of other things. I cannot schedule my blogging time because I don’t have ANYTHING to say at that scheduled time…Who am I kidding. Even when I have an idea I still end up on Facebook and doing a hundred other things before I get around to it. Except I am NEVER as productive as you are with my distractions!

  18. Very funny. I can completely relate. I’m sitting here writing, doing laundry, dusting, watching tv, organizing my dresser…. all at the same time.
    Found your blog today from TRDC.

  19. *laughing* This describes my attempts at both writing and reading my blogroll! Well, minus the many of interruptions by my children, of course.

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