Monday, January 24, 2011

Confessions of a Spaced-out Writer

Janet Tronstad here and I'm ready to confess. I am at my parent's home for a few months in Montana and deep into writing a book. We have two phones in the house. My parent's line (they are gone and no one calls that number but telemarketers) and the line I have in the back bedroom I use (which is a cordless). Anyway, I decided to take a break and call my sister who lives very close to them. So I go out to stand by the fireplace and dial her number. When I do so, my parent's phone rings and I hang-up so I can go answer their phone in case it's not a telemarketer. When I get to the phone, there is no one there. I do this three times, getting increasingly frustrated with the telemarketer and muttering to myself about them -- until I realize I've been dialing the wrong number and I am the one tormenting me!! My only excuse is that when I'm really deep into a book, my brain doesn't work the same. I've talked to other writers who don't function so well in the outer world when they are deep in the world of their book. One of my writer friends says she tries not to even drive when she's close to the end of a book because her mind is just not too aware. I know this kind of absorption in something isn't only true when writing a book. Is there something you do that makes you a little spacey because you're so involved in it in your mind? Please tell me there is and that I'm not alone!


  1. Janet, when I am deep in a deadline, even one of my own making, I do very little else. I am also of the type that won't answer the phone. It drives my hubby nuts, but I figure I have an answering machine. Let it do something for a change. If it's important, they'll leave a message or call back. No sweat.
    You're not alone. Dedication is the word here, not absorption.

  2. Oh, Janet, that is hilarious!!! Thanks for the big laugh out loud moment this morning!

    I have to say I get that way, too. If I'm working on my computer and really focused, my daughter will sometimes have to come put her hands on my face and turn it towards her to get my attention. :)

  3. At least you didn't answer and start talking to yourself. hehehehe

  4. It's good you're at your parents' house, Janet! we don't want you on the loose! It would be interesting if scientists would do a study of the brains of authors near the end of a deadline.

  5. LOL, Janet. I'm glad I'm not the only one who does stuff like that.

  6. Barbara -- I like that -- dedication instead of absorption. It sounds better.

    Missy -- you have a good daughter!

    Pamela -- the only reason I didn't start talking to myself is that I had hung up on myselt already.

    Lyn -- actually, my parents aren't here right now. My sister tells me they better get back soon (tells them that too) -- someone needs to take care of Janet, she says.

    Margaret -- yup -- that's the way we are!

  7. Hi Janet:

    When you enter a different reality for an extended period of time, this kind of thing is bound to happen to you. All your mind has to work on is what you’ve been telling it.

    Advertisers also experience this time dilatation. I was always facing deadlines for Christmas issues in July. To write well we had to be in the Holiday mood. (Christmas music and decorations.) The thing is we were always six months off. It was like having parallel lives. But then at least there was a consistency to it. I think this is a matter of writing well.


  8. Hey, Vince -- always a pleasure to see you on-line. I would imagine writing novels is very much like being in the advertising world -- we should get together and do a duo-blog on that somewhere. It would be interesting.

  9. Leann -- I must admit I laughed and laughed at myself after I realized what I was doing.

  10. Hi Janet:

    I’d like to do a blog with you.

    We teach new copywriters that ‘no one has to read advertising’! The only way to keep a reader reading is to reward the reader every step of the way. I think this is something direct marketing copywriters know as well any anyone. Imagine getting someone to read a 20-page letter on investing? It can be done, if you are talking to prospects, and if you keep rewarding the reader for reading, every step of the way. (Why 20 pages? Because research showed that it took 20 pages to close the sale!)

    I do have a few questions: why do you go to Montana in the winter and Pasadena in the summer?

    Are you house sitting? Is Dry Creek nearby?

    Can we expect another Pasadena story someday? I’m of the age to be interested in Rose. She needs a romance.


  11. Vince -- maybe next time I come up to blog on here, I'll see if we can share one. I haven't done that before, but it would be fun.

    I am currently knee-deep in another Dry Creek book (and I think this one is really good (at least I hope so)).

    I know the weather isn't nearly as nice in Montana as Pasadena in the winter. My mom is having hip surgery and my sister (who lives close) is undergoing chemo for quite serious cancer. So that's why I'm here now for several months.

    And Rose could use a romance. I don't think I will do more Sisterhood books though (the Dry Creek ones sell so much better that the editors are interested in me going that direction).

    So good to chat and I'll get in touch regarding our shared blog.


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