Distractions are the bane of my existence. There always seems to be something or someone vying for my attention, when I should be writing. Add to that the fact that my over active imagination can be a distraction, in and of itself, and you have a recipe for disaster. To help pound these rules of the trade into my own head, I decided to share a few ways that I keep distractions from hindering my writing.
1. Turn off the television—–I LOVE reality TV: Keeping up with the Kardashians, Real Housewives of Atlanta, The Little Couple…The list could go on. Turning off the television is a surefire way to minimize distractions. Thank God for modern technology. I can either watch my favorite shows online, or DVR them to view at my convenience. Plus, there’s a reason TV is sometimes referred to as the idiot box. Turn it off, and start creating.
2.Take your writing seriously—–I don’t care if you don’t have so much as a single sentence published, you still need to take your writing seriously. This means that it must be a priority. Treat it as kind of like managing your own business, which in today’s publishing world is truer than ever before. Authors are responsible for a lot of the publishing process. Might as well get used to it now.
3. Make a schedule and stick to it——This also falls under taking your writing seriously, but I felt that it needed its own category to stress the importance of having a plan. Treat your writing like it’s a job. You have a certain time you are generally expected, and certain duties to perform. Pick a time to write and don’t deter from it. Put it on your calendar and honor that time. If someone asks you to attend an event during that time frame, the answer needs to be, “Sorry, I’m busy.” Don’t feel guilty. Some writers also find it helpful to write early in the morning or late at night. That’s usually guaranteed uninterrupted time.
4.Have rules for your computer time—–For some of us the real distraction comes when we actually sit down to write. Know your weakness and find a solution for it. My weakness is Candy Crush. I’m addicted. I’ll sell myself for a life. Just kidding. No I’m not. But anyway, one trick I have is to mostly play the game on my phone, not my laptop. That way when I turn on my computer my first instinct is to write, not play. Think about what your biggest distraction is once you finally sit down to write, and brainstorm ways to avoid it.
5.Limit social networking—–We live in the age of constant social networking. As authors, we are strongly encouraged to build an author platform, but that should not come at the sacrifice of actually WRITING. Believe me, this is a tough one for me to balance. What works for me is having a set amount of time to devote to social media. I generally spend about 30 minutes each evening responding to email, blog comments, Twitter and Facebook messages, etc. Sometimes I check in on my lunch break at work as well. Another option is actually hiring someone to manage your social media accounts for you. Yeah, you can actually pay someone to surf the web for you. It’s at the sacrifice of ‘hands on’ contact with readers, but hey sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Plus, a good social media expert will make sure you are aware of all that is truly pertinent concerning your fans.
6. Limit outside writing activities—–I enjoy writing groups. I like participating in critique sessions and seminars and other writing events. But I have to limit the amount of time I devote to them. Choose a group or activity you really want to be a part of, then commit to it. It’s easy to spend so much time talking about writing, that you never have time to actually WRITE.
7. Talk it out—–Writing has a reputation for being a lonely profession for a reason. Solitude is a necessity. The reality is that most writers have people who care about them in their lives. Thank God for that! But it means that finding time alone may not be easy. So, it might be a good idea to sit down with your family, friends, roommates or whomever and let them know that you’re really buckling down with your writing. Explain to them that this may mean you’ll be available less often, but that it’s not personal. My family knows that when I’m in the zone all they’ll get from me is ‘Hi’ and ‘Bye’. And they’re ok with that. At least I think so.
What are your tips/tricks for avoiding distractions? Comment below!
- Confession: I’m a distracted writer (mimosamorningswriters.wordpress.com)
- Stop Getting Distracted (savingmoneyinyourtwenties.com)
- “How do you have the time to write?” (louharry.com)
- Lady Internet – The Modern Writer’s Greatest Distraction? (vincentmars.com)
- Interruptions and distractions (emusdebuts.wordpress.com)