Sometimes irony slaps you in the face. I realized this after returning from the library, where I picked up a new book called Indistractable, by Nir Eyal. The underlining is in the original title to highlight the book’s focus (yes, I’ve used that word on purpose), which is how to “control your attention and choose your life.” I’m hoping the book will help me focus better because, well, I get distracted.
So what’s the irony?
This now becomes the 13th book on my Goodreads “Currently Reading” list. Thirteen, as in Friday the…. (you get the idea)
Even if you write off five of my own books listed, I’ve convinced myself that I’m reading at least eight books at one time. Nine if you count the fact my old paperback copy of Brave New World broke into two pieces last night. But wait, that isn’t counting three more books I have out from the library that aren’t even on my currently reading list (my queue is even longer if you count my “want to read” lists in Goodreads and Amazon, not to mention the books on my shelf that I’m desperately looking for time to read).
But I digress.
Indistractable supposedly will teach me how to not be distracted. We’ll see if it works. Given that I’ve read several (okay, dozens) of other books designed to prevent distraction, obviously without success, it seems the reading of such books is in itself a distraction.
The same goes with writing. Reading books on writing takes time away from writing. But writing also takes away time for writing. Time writing Hot White Snow is time not writing the book I’m supposed to be writing. Did I say book? I meant books. According to my 2020 Goals I am actively working on three books, have two more I’m chipping away at, and another I’ve pretty much convinced myself isn’t worth pursuing but can’t seem to completely give up on. I also have a “Book Ideas” list totaling 31 books (at last count), most of which I would really like to write some time in my life. Even if I cut it back to something more realistic, the list would give me a book a year for the next two decades.
To make matters worse I’m in the process of redefining my official author website (http://www.davidjkent-writer.com/) and will shortly be introducing two focused blogs to cover my two major interest areas. I may or may not also resurrect my Dake Page science blog (https://thedakepage.blogspot.com/), perhaps under a new name and structure. Writing more for magazines and other paying outlets is also on my Goals list for this year, as is entering more writing contests.
And then there are my responsibilities as Vice President of the Lincoln Group of DC and Board of Directors for the Abraham Lincoln Institute. And preparing my upcoming presentations for the Rock Creek Civil War Roundtable and Cosmos Club Civil War group. And writing an article I promised to write. And writing two book reviews for the next (and each successive) Lincolnian. And reviewing a book the publisher sent for my review. And…
Oh, and travel. Well, maybe not so much this year, at least not yet.
So clearly there is a need to become Indistractable. The big question is whether this book will be different from all the other books I’ve read that were supposed to keep me from being distracted.
Ooh, a bird.
David J. Kent is a science traveler and the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, in Barnes and Noble stores now. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.