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I see the word, Tweeps, used to refer to users of Twitter. Twitterati sounds so much better.

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People obsessed with safety tell us that distracted driving is a bad idea. To me, the bigger concern is all the people who drive while stupid, but life is risky, ultimately a terminal illness, so I can’t get too excited about this. As a writer, though, I am interested in the question of distracted writing.

I recall reading a while ago a story of how Victor Hugo stripped naked, gave his clothes to a servant, and went to his tub to write. The servant had orders to return the clothes when Hugo had written a thousand words or a chapter or something like. That’s a cute story, but I don’t have a servant, and I’d object to someone telling me what to do, anyway.

When I write, I have music on. Westerns get Irish folk music, a band called Great Big Sea, or country. (You can read examples of my westerns here and buy one here.) I write science fiction while rock or classical. (More on that subject here.) When I try my hand at poetry, I can’t listen to music with lyrics, but otherwise, someone singing is fine.

But music isn’t enough. This is because of the crushing onus of white space. White space demands that the writer fill it. It also creates an expectation of creating Good Writing (TM). This causes writer’s freeze, if not outright block. I have two solutions:

1. Every writer ought to have a cat. Felines provide helpful distraction. When that white space is being particularly oppressive, the cat will jump into the writer’s lap and insist on being petted. In the process, words will shake free in the writer’s brain.

2. Twitter does the same thing. The announcement that I have a whole new batch of tweets to read gives me a moment of irrelevance. Then I can go back to filling that white space.

Perhaps this reveals me to be a sufferer of, um, SQUIRREL!

If you feel the need for your own distraction, you may follow me @GregCampNC.

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