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Distractions - Do Not Disturb


  12+   Writers and wannabes need to shut out distractions. We need to focus on our writing. But sometimes, we find excuses, chores to be done, children to be fed and sent off to school, lives to be led, or perhaps a new dog training venture to set up? At least, that's been my excuse for the past month.

I joined a local dog training club in 1999, the day after I brought home my dear old lab, and in 2001 became a volunteer instructor. Drawing on my experience from a dozen years of delivering the club’s beginners classes, I helped revamp and relaunch the program in 2014.

I also helped integrate the club’s puppy classes with the new program. And to introduce a bridging class to assist beginners transitioning to the advanced training offered by the club. For several years, I also ran a "Can I Pat That Dog?" workshop.

Robert's Responsible Dog Training

Late last year, I decided to pursue my love of running group training classes, beyond my volunteer role at the dog club. And so I created Robert's Responsible Dog Training. Securing the desired business name, website URL, and social media accounts proved straight forward. Putting it all together, well, that's proving to be like my writing.

I need to shut out distractions and focus!

But there are chores to be done; I've got to see my teenage son off to school, make sure he's doing his homework, and feed him; I've got to walk and feed my dog; I've got to feed myself. And I still want to write and post blogs.

The Man with Two Brains

Sometimes I dream of being like Steve Martin in The Man with Two Brains, cooking dinner with my left hand while typing a blog post with my right. I could kick a ball for my dog to chase with my left foot while tapping my right foot and asking my son, "Have you done your homework, yet?"

But I'm not Steve Martin, I've only got one brain, and when the chores and life and websites and writing and hunger overwhelm me, it seems to be half-a-brain.

I need to shut out distractions and focus!

Set More Realistic Goals

Or, maybe I need to set more realistic goals. Chisel away at the chores (and let some slip), set time aside for my son and dog, buy takeaway now and again, and flex my writer's fingers with a few blog posts for my dog training website?

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I can't shut out the distractions. When my son comes home from school and wants to talk to me, I need to focus on him and listen. When my dog noses me as he's doing now, I want to take him for a walk.

So, let the dust settle, yes, we've got to eat, and I do want to finish setting up Robert's Responsible Dog Training and keep writing.

I need to learn to embrace distractions and shift my focus.

© 2019 Robert Fairhead

N.B. You might like to read some articles I've shared on dogs and dog training on Tall And True


Robert Fairhead

A middle-aged dad and dog owner, Robert is a writer and editor at Tall And True and blogs on his eponymous website, He also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads podcast, featuring his short stories, blog posts and other writing from Tall And True.

Robert's book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media. In 2020, he published his début collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story, and in 2021 Twelve Furious Months, twelve short stories written for the Furious Fiction writing competition.

Outside of writing, Robert's favourite pastimes include reading, watching Aussie Rules football with his son and walking his dog.

He has also enjoyed a one-night stand as a stand-up comic.