I saw a post earlier today talking about how the writer has found trouble being present for life when not writing. The constant thoughts, the perpetual wondering about plot lines, and the endless stream of distractions all originating from within make it hard to be there for conversations, focus on work, or even just enjoy time with friends and family. I haven't ever thought about it much but once I read through the post I realized how difficult I find many of these same tasks.
I am a casino games dealer in my everyday life so I am in contact with people constantly. There are times I have noticed though, that when I have players who either don't speak English or just prefer not to chat with me I will find my mind drifting off to whatever my most recent writing project had been. The dealing procedures are second nature so There are times I will go through an entire hour on the table but when I leave to go on break my boss will ask me a question about a player I barely remember being there.
I also deal a few games that are a combination of table games and slot machines where the dealer does not interact with the players so it is eight hours of thinking. When I get on break I find it difficult to join the conversations with my coworkers because I spent the last hour mentally living in the world of my characters. Even at home the conversations can be hard to follow because I need to bring myself back from wherever I travelled in my head. I will look right at the person I am speaking with but it seems I have to ask people to repeat themselves so I can focus on what they just told me.
I lose track of time frequently when I start thinking about anything writing related. Driving is another task I notice writing can take over. When I went down to the writer's conference in January I was tired but in order to cover as much distance as possible I put on music. The songs that came on instantly inspired a new story which I then spent the rest of the drive plotting. Other than stopping for a quick nap and navigating some intense weather I barely noticed anything besides the plot outline forming in my head. I have since added the file for that book to my pile in my office. There are almost two dozen files in the pile, most of which were created while I was supposed to be doing something else. I may need to find a way to curb this mental tendency in the future.