Whenever I face an obstacle, I read a book about it. In this way, I am usually more informed and therefore more at easy since I have some form of an understanding of the particular situation at hand. For example, pregnancy scared me. There were so many variables: what the baby was doing developmentally, what the proper ways of childbirth were, how to stimulate a baby, what was changing in my body and how soon it would change back, which direction to face when sleeping, how to name your child so that they won’t hate you forever…the list when on for days and I eagerly devoured stacks of books and magazines on every parenting topic I could get my hands on.
The problem with this approach is that planning and preparing for something are quite different than actually doing it. While reading maternity books, I was able to intelligently say that I preferred a “natural” childbirth process and wanted no part of an epidural. Ten minutes into labor however, and I was glad to have them stick a giant needle into my spinal cord.
My newest distraction is reading books on writing. I have one called Story Structure Architect that is really helpful. It has chapters on the major types of story structures and different stories to add conflict. It really is a “plot reference book” and I enjoy looking through it and can see my characters experiencing some of the tension that they listed. I can also see things that wouldn’t work in my story and the structures have helped me to clarify where I will need to go in the story, elements I will need to change to make it more suspenseful or even more predicable. It really is a great book.
I also have a writing tools book that has 52 chapters, each devoted to one aspect of good writing. I can easily get lost in this book too and learn plenty of new things. At the end of each chapter is a list of exercises to do to perfect the writing tool, but I easily skip those.
The problem here is that I don’t WRITE! I just think about writing. Even right now, when I could be actually writing pages of a story, I am working on a website that most likely, no one will look at besides me. I enjoy putting my thoughts on the page but every time I stare at my story I question whether I am just another person with some story in my head because I’ve read to much fiction or if I’m a writer because it’s what I’m supposed to do. It’s terrifying to work so hard on something and still question whether or not it will be any good by the end. Enough chatter on the subject of distracting myself. I am getting sleepy and it is only nine in the morning. Must do something productive now, though I think I will let my kids distract me this time.