I have a November 1 deadline, and I'm crawling toward it just as slowly as I can move. First, the characters bore me, then I run into a glaring piece of illogical plotting that takes me days to resolve ... But those aren't the only things that can throw a writer off her stride. Here are 13 things that can throw me out of my groove faster than you can blink: 1. Dirty Dishes in the sink. Not that I always stop what I'm doing to wash them, but thinking about washing them can provide a great distraction from the manuscript at hand. (No! This is not a picture of my kitchen!)2. Dogs who need to be let outside to potty. First, they have to pull my attention away from my contemplation of the back fence (which is necessary to think through plot points), then they have to convince me that even though they just pottied 20 minutes ago, and the neighbors have a strange dog in their backyard that really must be barked at, that's not why they want to go outside. They really do have to potty again. Honest! Then there's the whole vying for position at the back door thing because heaven forbid Sammi should get outside before Angel does ... This interruption is good for at least 15 minutes. 3. Phone calls from grandchildren. This is now part of my daily ritual, and it's the part that brings me the greatest joy. My day doesn't really start until Vanessa dials my number and Abigail squeals with joy at the sound of my voice. 4. Meals -- or perhaps more accurately, the blank staring at the kitchen cupboard and/or refrigerator trying to figure out what I can make that will take less than 5 minutes, taste good, be visually appealing, and even pass for healthy. 5. E-mail. You all know what I'm talking about. 6. The sudden inexplicable urge to clean my desk. (No, this isn't my desk, either.) This urge strikes at the worst possible time, always followed by the justification that I really should do it since I'll be able to think more clearly once the mess is gone. 7. The sudden inexplicable urge to catalog my books. To make this distraction even more attractive there are on-line communities like Shelfari that can eat up tons of time while you find and upload the covers for every book on your list. If you need further distraction, you can add tags for each book, rate each book, and write comments about each book. It's an incredible resource! 8. The sudden inexplicable urge to get my DVDs and VCR tapes in order. How can anyone expect me to write when tapes and DVDs are scattered about willy-nilly? What if I needed to find my copy of "America's Sweethearts" for research? Think of how much time I'd waste searching for it! 9. The realization that I really should be better organized. 10. Searching for tools to help me be better organized. 11. Family stuff. You know the drill. Aging parents, siblings, kids, illnesses, bad luck, loss of jobs, surgeries .... 12. The fly or mosquito that slips inside when you let the aforementioned dogs out to potty, and then spends the rest of the day circling your head and making annoying noises. 13. The inevitable result if the dogs aren't able to convince me that they really did need to go outside to potty.