Continuous Partial Attention

This is a Colorado short-horned walking stick.

It lives in New Mexico, however. They normally stay camouflaged during the day and move around at night. This one was on our glass front door on Saturday morning. It never moved, even when we transferred it to a piece of paper. It embodies still stick-ness. Even looking at it in real life, it looks like a twig and not an animal.

So many variations in the world.

This weekend I cranked on The Body Gift. I managed to get myself in a bit of a bind: I’d queried a new agent on Friday, just to keep the ball rolling, and she emailed me back within the hour to request the full manuscript.

See, that just never happens.

Okay, clearly not “never,” but very rarely. Usually they ask for something like the first 30 pages or the first three chapters or, if they’re really interested, the first 100 pages. And really, no one else has answered me that fast.

So, while The Body Gift is finished (or I never would have queried otherwise, since it’s a real no-no to query a book that isn’t finished, since finishing a novel is never to be assumed), I was in the midst of rewriting the middle section. My work obviously cut out for me, I spent the weekend writing about 40 pages (a little over 8,000 words).

No, I don’t think I could do this every day.

Well – maybe I could, if I wasn’t working full-time. It would be interesting to see.

At any rate, my online community rallied ’round, sending me Facebook Mojo (which seems to work equally well for writing output as for white-blood cell count). Kerry was fortunately available to read for me as I went and Marcella, also revising, helped me brainstorm through some sticky spots. I pretty much parked myself under the grape arbor all weekend.

When my mom asked me, via instant messenger, how it was going, I said that just then Marcella was helping me brainstorm. My mom asked where she was. I said on her sailboat, but parked in the harbor, or she wouldn’t have internet. My mom thought maybe Marcella was sailing and talking to me on the phone.

Absurd thought.

No, we don’t talk on the phone. We’re all about non-simultaneous conversations, which allows us to have continuous partial attention. My mom was terribly amused and requested that be today’s blog post.

I live to serve.

And no, I didn’t make up that phrase. Someone else did and I thought for sure I’d blogged about it before. But I looked through the blog and I can’t find it. Turns out a casual Google search shows quite a few hits, so I’ll let you do your own research, if you’re fired up. Really, I think “they” all view it as a bad thing, because one never puts their full attention on one thing. For me it means that I have tools at hand that allow me to dip in and out of resources as I need to.

In return, I can be more easily “dipped into,” because helping someone else doesn’t require that I drop what I’m doing.

I realize this way of operating sounds appalling to some people. It has its benefits and drawbacks.

So many variations in the world.

5 Replies to “Continuous Partial Attention”

  1. Congrats on the request! I saw you post that on Facebook and I'm sure you were in a full panic. I had the same thing happen last month and ended up having to send my entire MS to my CP so she could help me find flaws before I sent it out. Meh.

    But it's so exciting when it happens like that. Hopefully you didn't pull all your hair out and wrote like a fiend over the weekend 🙂

    Good luck!

  2. Thanks Danica! I do still have all my hair.

    And Keena – brainstorming involves typing on a keyboard, right? Everyone knows that!

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