Distractions are everywhere. Let’s face it, as writers we’re with them, most in the form of work offers or job responsibilities. But are all distractions bad? And when is it a good time to let a distraction pull you away from your writing? Recently while working on my novel, I became distracted by the promise of work. While my heart was in the pages of Sunlight on an Empty Room, my mind for finance said, “take it, you fool!” And thus began my latest distraction from what I truly want to do. Admittedly, most distractions are bad for us. Phones ringing, text messages coming through, or the next episode of Scandal beginning in the background, whatever, it distracts us. Bad distractions are those outside forces, which we allow to hinder our inner voice. While your inner voice is saying write, the outside distraction may seem urgent. Other distractions can come in the form of friends or family; someone’s having a crisis, somebody forgot to do something for somebody else, and for some reason all these people need to share their something with you. It really doesn’t matter from where the distraction hails; the end result is the same, non-productive writing time. Essentially they are hindering our true progress. There are a few good ways to mitigate distractions. One of my favorites comes from Carol Gagnoux (ADD Insights). Ms. Gagnoux suggests jotting down the distraction on a notepad or paper as they occur and tossing them aside. She refers to this as your “capture pad”. You can always return to the pad later and determine what’s important and what can wait. Another tool is blocking or unplugging. This works with your surroundings, your equipment, or your friends. This can also be harder to do than capture padding. To ensure you’re getting the most productivity out of your writing time, turn off the electronics, stay off the Internet, and blow off your friends and family. I happen to be doing that right now. I find the quiet very inspiring. On the contrary, a good distraction can come in the form of inspiration. Sometimes when we’re writing, another idea may pop into our minds. It’s perfectly OK to stop what you’re doing to jot down an idea for a new manuscript or other project. Just keep convenient Moleskin nearby and remember to return to work in progress. Another distraction could be a much-needed mental hygiene break. Some days we take in and process way too much information to be creative. You may need to take a step back from your writing in order to progress forward. I often think writer’s block is primarily fueled by information overload. It is possible to research a project to death. Also, the editing process can spawn burnout. Get distracted; go for some exercise or anything else that doesn’t require “throwing out your babies”. Real writers will know to I am referring. Whatever the distraction, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Letting a distraction become the focus of your energy is its own punishment and its own reward. Is there something you do to lessen distractions? Hit me up via this blog or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/authorshereesem.
- Writing Distractions, Writing Subtractions … and (hopefully!) Blog Reader Participation (occupiedandpreoccupied.wordpress.com)
- Distraction & writing: Internet vs the Fountain Pen (om.co)
- Barriers to Blogging – #1 – Distraction By Facebook, Twitter, News, Internet (disruptiveconversations.com)
- Ways to Motivate Yourself to Start Writing (lblearningservices.wordpress.com)