My Top Ten I’m Trying to Write Annoyances
Written by
Jeanne Nicholas
July 2013
Written by
Jeanne Nicholas
July 2013

My Top Ten I’m Trying to Write Annoyances

The countdown begins.

10. Thirsty. I get thirsty when I write. I really like cold water but that damn bottle gets hot after 30 minutes. I haven’t figured out the cure for this little annoyance but thought I would mention it. Snacks are one thing but being thirsty is hell-a irritating. I know there is ice…but the cup gets all wet…I’m truly working on this, lol. My lame number 10.

9. Music. Sometimes I’m in the mood to add a little drama sound into my background to keep me going. And the annoying thing turns out to be none of my tunes are doing it for me today. My solution…Pandora. That skip feature is oh so lovely. I have setup specific artists that really bring home the bacon…if you know what I mean. Of course if you don’t like music when you write…the fix is to set your lighting correctly, make sure you have sufficient back support, and start typing. But for us audiophiles we do the music thing whenever we sit down to write.

8. My dog is a noodling stare monster. I sometimes have to put her out of the room. That stare is ridiculous. She is blaming me for not paying attention to her for all the 1,440 minutes in a day. Honestly, putting her outside the room is not as much torture for her as it is for me. I feel guilty and she just goes next door to her sister dog’s house that my mother owns. They often spend time together.

7. Thesaurus. I needs me some words peeps. I often use my online thesaurus to find the right words. The annoyance comes in when the word I need is not showing up. I have a fairly large vocabulary but rely on this resource a bit too much. Guess what, there’s an APP for that. YAY! There are a ton of app games to build vocab and to learn more words. I use these daily.

6. Lack of time is an annoyance. I schedule my writing, like I’ve stated more times than I probably should have. I write in the early morning hours. But, I really want to write more. I have found the answer is the egg timer method. An author on She Writes Joanne Tombrakos wrote a book called It Takes An Egg Timer. It helped me write efficiently and definitely more productively. I recommend it.

5. Creativity is an annoyance sometimes. I have great ideas for plots and storylines. Yes, I think they are great and I’m the one that loves to write. Even if I’m not that good at it I love doing it. For me, that’s enough. I’ve not spent endless hours trying to get published. I mostly write for fun and for me. However, one day I just might write something worthy of being picked up. It would be fantastic. But, it’s not my end goal. I once read a book that was the suck. Yes, the suck. I said to myself, I could write something better. And with that thought I’ve never stopped writing. Sometimes I have a great creative streak that shoves some unknown story plot into my head and it won’t get out. But, I’m writing something else right now. So I make a note in a file that is my saved possible plots. Usually, this may be enough to get it down and write on it later. Unfortunately, sometimes that is not the case. Right now I’m writing four stories. I often have to go back and read one story after I’ve updated another. I do have some sort of fan base but I’m sure I’m driving them to drink. Sorry. I promise to finish every story soon, but the one I’m writing on the most is the most clear in my mind (for today).

4. Separating my characters quirks. I have read books where one character uses a certain phrase like ‘Eyah’ when she speaks. I thought this was a dialect thing from a northern state, like Minnesota. But, for some mysterious reason, two of the other characters (not from the north) began to use that phrase later in the book. It struck me as strange but I ran into this annoyance when I began to use some dialect for my character building. I was typing along and suddenly I realized the wrong character was talking in southern lingo and she wasn’t southern. Erp! That was irritating. I had to go back and figure out where I suddenly changed her culture? Again, cue cards, sticky notes, or a mind map or even a diagram on a white board help with this. Keep them darn characters separate.

3. An emotional scene is coming up and I can’t feel it. I’d say a sex scene is coming up but I’ve never had many issues writing a sex scene, totally dirty sex or even a nice clean touchy feely scene is doable. It’s the emotional overload scene that when either a character has to relive a trauma or someone is injured/dies, or maybe the love is rejected. Those scenes require a connection and sometimes I’m not in the mood to get all moody. This is a relatively easy fix if you just skip it and go back to it but VERY annoying if you start to write it and find out that it’s just not flowing. I found remembering scenes from movies that really hit me hard are the corner stone of putting me in the mood. I’ll give you a few: Saving Private Ryan, Rudy, Marley and Me, Ol Yeller, Philadelphia, Terms of Endearment, My Girl, etc.

2. I’ve forgotten a character’s name and description. I have one story about a couple who are having triplets. Triplets and twins however, run in their family. The eight siblings begin to show up and there are 3 sets of twins, a triplet set, and they have children that are twins and triplets. I created a spreadsheet but still…it got pretty crazy when the babies were about to be born and all the relatives gathered around to wait it out. I was highly annoyed because eight or nine chapters back I pointed out one of the twin sister’s characteristics and I wanted to bring that up again. But, what was her name???? Grrrr. OK so I had to go back to find that chapter and sibling and from then on I made cue cards of the family – sticky notes on a board. I also added a column onto the spreadsheet that gave descriptive features and job titles.

1. Number one annoyance is I’m losing the drive behind my story idea. This was a great story plot initially, but now it’s dragging. I can’t seem to find the plot moving forward. My motivation is disappearing. Now that I’ve written that scene that was continuously bugging me to be written the story is just sitting there on my hard drive. This really sucks. My motivation cannot always be a triple scoop of ice cream with Hershey’s chocolate syrup, as much as I’d like it to be. I found if I go back and reread what I’ve written and try to outline the story, ideas begin to expand. It sounds so easy and it is. I have written a few more chapters each time I do this. I usually remember what I was trying to write about in the first place.

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  • Alexandra Caselle

    I can totally relate to #1, #2, #5, #6, #7, #9, #11.  I would have to add family who do not respect my writing time and space as a big annoyance. They see writing as a hobby or a past time and not as a real job, and they want my writing time for themselves.  I consistently have to fight for my writing time and space.

  • Claire McAlpine

    Ha Ha LOL, we have a cat that does the paw tap thing, but he does it my cheek very softly, usually early in the morning or at night if he thinks its time I went to bed. I haven't enough cat language to know exactly what it means, but its very endearing and astounds the rest of the family who don't get the same treatment. Walking across the keyboard is a little annoying, difficult to see the screen. 

  • Great list! My biggest annoyance is myself. I am a nasty critic to myself, and far too often delete more words than I write! :-)

  • Jeanne Nicholas

    Claire - The dog stare is usually followed by a soft paw tapping my leg, over and over and over.  It can get very challenging :D  She is looking at me right now!  The technology annoyance is minimized.  I turn all that off and only have my Word open and an online thesaurus if necessary.  I start my egg timer and I have limited time to write so I try and focus.  My desk is in a corner and faces a wall.  I don't have that window affect.

  • Claire McAlpine

    Amazed that there are very few distractions, like looking out the window, checking email, if these are your annoyances, I'd say you are doing well!  Love the dog-stare, that's original and must be torture I imagine! Cats are probably better to have in the writer room, dogs a re great for when it really is time for a bit of fresh air to unclog those top 5 you've mentioned.