Spring, The Best And Worst Distraction


There are few things I love more than the first month of spring.  The temperature changes, the air is buzzing, the world turns green.  In a matter of days people go from hurrying door-to-door, shuffling along the sidewalks with their heads down, to taking the long way home just to enjoy the feel of the sun on their skin.

I love Spring because it means baseball games, days at the dog park, beer gardens, kickball on the National Mall, wearing shorts to the gym instead of sweatpants, lounging outside just because… I love Spring because it mean leisure.  There’s no rush anymore.  No rush to get home.  No rush to find warmth.  No rush for the day to be over.

Spring also means distraction (unfortunately).  More and more I will find myself wanting to end my day earlier, go outside, take Maisey for longer walks.  I stare out the window for no reason, watching passerby on the busy street I live on in downtown DC.  I’ve been drinking my tea on the balcony, savoring it for 15 minutes instead of 5.

Luckily I think I’m one of those people who can manage to write outside or by the window (as opposed to having to be sequestered in a dark room), so I’ve planned excursions for the next few weeks.  Parks, coffee shops with outdoor seating, rooftops where I can take my laptop and work for a few hours in the middle of the day.

But the key, as always, is to not let the workload dwindle.  I’ve been starting earlier in the day so I can finish earlier (that’s how math works, right?), and taking a shorter lunch in favor of a longer afternoon break.  Spring means a change in routine to accommodate a change in weather.

But I don’t mind change.  Because Spring is here, and I couldn’t be happier.

And while Spring means leisure when it comes to most things, it means intensified effort when it comes to writing.  58 days from now is June 21st, the last day of the season.  That’s the day I’m planning to finish this latest major rewrite of my book, which will be the last rewrite before I send it off to a group of beta readers for feedback.  That will lead to final edits, which should only take a of couple weeks, and then sending query letters to all the agents I can find.

The end of this phase of writing/editing is drawing to a happy conclusion, and thanks to Spring’s new deadline, it’s even closer than ever before.

What are some of your favorite places to write outside?  Any tips on how you focus?  Favorite part of Spring?

38 comments on “Spring, The Best And Worst Distraction”

  1. I love writing in the lilac grove in Central Park; it blooms for such a short time that I try to go as much as possible while I can in spring!

    1. That sounds lovely! I have a terrible confession to make – I’ve been to NYC probably about 2 dozen times and never been inside Central Park. Definitely need to explore there next time I visit

      1. Really?? I like it because, although it gets crowded, you can always find a spot to write. I recommend the lilac grove or the Ramble, which has a bunch of little pockets of greenery great for settling down for a bit.

  2. I am freed from confined enclosures when I’m outside. I feel my skin soaking up all the inspiration. Sometimes, we need to take that extra time for just this reason… temporary distraction for a refreshing drink of creativity.

  3. I need quiet to write so outside doesn’t work for me. Too easily distracted.
    On the subject of spring, we had our first warm day today, for all of four hours 🙂 Top down on the car, sun on my face…the whole world and everyone in it felt magical for a few minutes there 🙂

    1. The very first taste of warmth is always the best. Soon enough it turns into complaining about how muggy and hot out it is – but in the beginning it’s glorious!

  4. You are a good writer. I compliment you on that. Stay with the dream and sacrifice everything if you need to. Many famous writers did this and lived almost homeless lives for many years until they got their first good break. I’m just saying. You have the talent. Stay with it. You are good at writing. Best wishes.

  5. I don’t write outside often enough. As it gets warmer I realise I’ve got a perfectly good garden table to write on. I’m going to try and use it more often this spring. I use classical music in background to help me focus. And rewarding myself for writing a certain amount of words. Helps me focus quite a bit.

    1. I love listening to classical music – I also opt for movie scores very often. A garden table outside sounds lovely, especially as a change of pace for an hour or two!

      1. I need to use the garden table more often. I should get more movie soundtracks to listen to. I’d probably end up picturing the film whilst listening and not getting much done!

  6. I have the attention span of a squirrel, so I can’t write outside; too easily distracted by sun and spring scents. But I can write near a window, not as distracting.

  7. I like writing near a window and also writing at the lake we have at our complex. There’s a stone bench and usually, no one is there. I can look at the lake while I write. The only time I can’t go out there is when the bugs start getting bad. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen until summer. You do have a lot of writing talent. Looking forward to seeing your book! I know I will enjoy it as much as I enjoy these blog posts.

    1. Ugh I know what you mean – sometimes I’m so excited to go outside and then I see two yellowjackets and have to run away, paranoid.

      And thank you so much! I cannot wait to get the book out there and get feedback from people – so excited!

  8. I have been writing now for well over forty years. Am published in both poetry and prose. Taught writing at the University from which I graduated and don’t often write outdoors. That’s mostly because nature intervenes and I am easily distracted. However, I applaud anyone who has a longer attention span than I do. I enjoyed reading your post and am cheering you on. You write well and obviously have a receptive audience. Wishing you the best…


    1. Thank you so much! That’s amazing to have accomplished so much with writing and teaching, congratulations!

      You’re totally right – I do admit that the outdoors can get distracting, but I find those distractions for refreshing than anything else and can generally write better once I go inside because of them.

  9. Hi David!
    Finally someone was able to voice EXACTLY what I thought of spring! 🙂 I used to be more of a summer girl – what with me being born in July and love getting a tan and all. But over the past few years, I’ve come to realize that I love that change from cold and dark to bright and green in spring way way more, and just like you, I feel somewhat more alive and happy.
    Also, all my fingers and toes are crossed for you that you’ll make it until your own deadline – but “knowing” you and your work through this blog, I am more than sure you will. And also, more importantly, I cross everything I got for you to soon find a good and the right agent, and I am very very looking forward to one day get to read what you’re currently working on.

    1. I’m the same! I was a summer guy for a while – I was a lifeguard, on the swim team, etc. But now, not being able to be in the water all the time, the heat can really get to me. The novelty of warmth that comes with Spring is amazing.

      And thank you so much for the well wishes! I’m so excited, but mostly just determined to hit this deadline. Have to do my best to control what I can control. I really hope I can find a good agent to work with, and get my book out there as soon as possible! I really appreciate the kind words!!

  10. Favorite part – I write in a coffee shop. I like it in there. Much gets done. But every hour, I take a break to walk for a few minutes. Walking recharges me.

    Today is full of warm, warm sunshine with a light, cooling breeze. I stop my walk to stand on the sidewalk, breath, and soak in sunshine. It’s instant refreshment. Just a minute is required, then I finish my walk, go back in and continue my writing.

    Enjoy the spring…summer is coming. Cheers

      1. Same coffee shop every day, often, by happenstance, the same table. I did skip around for a time but found it’s an unnecessary distraction.

  11. David, That was a joy to read. And, oh, how lovely it would be without the yellow jackets.

  12. I guess I find that I write my best in bed, usually first thing in the morning when it’s still dark out, occasionally at the end of the day, or sometimes having been woken in the middle of the night—like something has been growing and developing and finds its way out. Sort of sounds like giving birth…Ha! Hadn’t realized that…thanks for asking. 🙂

  13. The days getting longer, that’s the best part about spring. And the birds singing. I’d like to say I discover a new spark of life in my writing, but when spring arrives I get the urge to clean everything! It’s still a bit chilly here in the UK to sit outside and write. I like to write at the beach in summer, there’s no distractions, the temperature is just right and the days go on forever.

    1. So true – the days getting longer is such a huge bonus. I hate when it gets dark at 4:30pm. I much prefer when the sun stays out till past 8. It feels like you have so much more time to do everything!

    1. Totally agree – alas, I am landlocked in D.C. (unless you count the Potomac). I do love getting to a beach/lake/even a pool as often as possible

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