Desperately Seeking Distractions

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Our schedules this week worked out just right. Scott is off competing at a Taekwondo tournament in Arkansas. He’s gonna kick some butt. The boys are in sports camp during the day, and by the time they get home, they are so exhausted that they voluntarily go to bed early.

And me? I’ve got a cookbook manuscript to edit. This is the time that I need as few distractions as possible, as it requires me to sit in one spot, stare at one screen, work on one document for an extended period of time. This is nearly impossible for me.

The past few years, the internet and gadgets have trained me to multitask like a I’m someone with a Red Bull iv hooked to my arm. My eyes can dart between iPhone, iPad, laptop, Twitter, Facebook, daily Gilt Taste  sales announcements, emails and Skype. In fact, I’ve developed this sort of 1.256-second routine that I call the “Swoop” where I can do all of the above in one eye swoop and can instantly determine if anything urgent has come up within the past 2 minutes that I Swooped last.

Writing is simpler. I can write one paragraph, do the Swoop and continue with next paragraph.

Editing is a bitch. I have to actually read, digest, evaluate and act on someone else’s comments and interpretation of what I wrote.

!!!! right!? It’s like this on every single page. Damn, my first draft must have really been horrible!!

I’m having trouble concentrating on with all this red on each page.

Just to confirm my writing suckage, I found this online grammer checker called Grammarly. Warning: do not go to that site if you have low self esteem about your writing skills. All you have to do is copy paste some text and Grammarly will go through checks for grammar rules, some of which I never knew even existed:

faulty parallelisms
squinting modifiers
wordiness caused by circumlocutions

Well, okay, so my modifiers squint (I’m Asian! omg just kidding!!!!) and my words are circumsized. Whatever.

But then Grammarly scored me.

 I’m not sure how I forgot all my grammar, punctuation, spelling that I learned in school (Ms. Purcell would be very very upset at me right now.)

So what do I do? I am actively seeking out distractions. This post today should suck up an hour of time. I’ll post a recipe today too. Tomorrow I have a friend coming over. Friday I hired a massage therapist to come over. Sunday and Monday I’ve planned a beach vacation with some friends. I’m still looking for something for Saturday, so please let me know if you have any good ideas.

Comments 24

  1. Denise @ Creative Kitchen

    Jaden,

    First off my hubby just got back from Little Rock last night!! Picked him up at the airport after being apart for 6 longgg days…I’m so glad to have my honey back!

    And I too find it soo funny that technology and all of the distractions of this world actually make it really hard to concentrate on just ONE thing! I can so relate to the iphone, ipad, laptop etc swoop.

    So I was totally surpised to find that when hubby left last week, I completely went into blog amnesia. I had a group of girls over for the SLUMBER party of a lifetime….all 3 of my girls had friends sleeping over including my 4 year old and ME!! This party went on Thursday evening, all night and all day Friday!! It was a blast. By the time Friday night rolled around, I was thankful for more plans with friends because I wasn’t willing to give up the “social” addiction (IRL!!)

    And you know what…I’m having so much fun entertaining and spending time with my girls, friends, hubby etc…I’m not sure when my amnesia will lift. ;)

  2. dena

    I am SO happy that you shared this. I just finished up making all the corrections (or explaining why I worded something a particular way) after the editors got through ripping apart the first draft of my own cookbook. Whenever I found an error that they didn’t catch, I wanted to add the comment, “Ha ha, missed this one!”

    And please please please remind me NEVER to go near grammarly.

  3. ruhlman

    Jaden, read the ms in non-markup view! Much easier if after you’ve had a look at copyedit fixes you trust. Just did this myself. Good luck with it!

  4. Cooking with Michele

    Wow, I feel so much better now. I’m in the process of editing my first cookbook – actually first book length anything – manuscript, and was horrified when it arrived basically red-lined throughout by the copy editor. Once I got into the swing of it, I found it wasn’t so bad, but it does stab your ego when you first see it!

  5. Jasmine Pahl

    GREAT post Jaden! So funny! Also loved the one about the fish guy that came with it in the newsletter. He sounds like a close relation to other types that must be avoided at all costs: ‘The Long Hugger’ and, as made famous on Seinfeld, ‘The Close Talker’.

  6. Janae @ Bring-Joy

    I must be a complete dork, but I’m so excited to find out that such a website as Grammarly exists!

    Don’t let the editing nazi get to you. EVERYONE, no matter how good you are, gets edited to smithereens, especially the first draft. It’s just the way it is. No doubt your final product is gonna be amazing.

    P.S. I’m also the dork who met you at BlogHer food over the DrySoda bottles & asked you what your blog was. You probably don’t remember, but I do, because the girl standing next to me later let me know who you were. Boy, I felt sheepish. I must be living in a closet or something. But now I know who you are & loved your presentation at the Sat. session.

  7. Chris

    “circumlocutions”

    Are you allowed to use words like that? Even on the interweb thingy?

  8. Jena

    I’m one of those copyeditors. It’s nothing personal, you know. We all just want the best possible final product. All that red “ink” doesn’t necessarily mean the draft was bad, just that it could be better. Put on thicker skin and dig in.

  9. Stan

    Long-time lurker but now I have to ask, which tourney and division? I am also a TKD fighter and pass through the Midwest frequently.

  10. Jenna

    I seriously feel for you! Even those of us who use those skills daily get whacked in the face with the rubber chicken! I am a practicing speech pathologist and am actually dodging it now as I should be working on my therapy notes. One piece of advice, if you really get distracted by the “wiggles” and are tempted to eat the whole package of “Nutter Butter Peanut Butter cookies” (yes, I did!), try using one of those large fitness balls in place of your chair. You can wiggle and move to get the sensory system jump-started versus sitting, getting antsy, and munching! Although in your case you might want to take this advice with a grain of salt. (I wouldn’t want to distract you from munching out a great new recipe!). Good luck.

  11. Jen M O

    I guess I better start using the grammar site. It would be better than my sisters calling me and correcting me over the phone. I love your blog!

  12. Ryan

    Hehe.. that doesn’t look so bad. You should see some academic papers where the editing marks get their own few pages…

  13. Ryan

    Hi stan – I practice TKD, too! Used to compete on the East coast (2002-2006), then moved to Michigan, and now am all alone in Illinois…

  14. Sheila Foley

    I admit, sometimes I miss writing and turning pages.

    I saw your picture in another blog-looked like a celebration of Avocados. The food looked great with fun presentations!

  15. summer picnic

    I’m a copyeditor and I’m sorry on behalf of copyeditors everywhere for all that red! But, it’s just because we love getting the language just right and believe in our projects. That is to say, you’re cookbook will be perfection. Can’t wait to see it! Meanwhile, I’m going to try that pork bun recipe . . .

  16. A

    Nazi?! Ouch. The copyeditor is just doing his or her job and is grateful for the work.

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