Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Distracted Writer (and how to not be one)

We've all been there.

*Write, write, write, check email, check FaceBook, get a snack, reply to some texts, look at stats*
Oh yeah... where was I?
*Write, do some research, remember something else online unrelated to writing...*

I'll be the first to raise my hand. It happens here. Even when I know that I'm getting distracted, I still let it happen. In fact, as ironic as it sounds, as I'm writing this article I've already gotten distracted three times. The struggle is real, folks!

Some days, I write just fine without distraction. Other days, it seems like everything but writing is on the brain! And on these days, when I don't quite know what I'm supposed to do in my writing, my mind wanders. And distractions come up.

Not that I'm the queen of solving these problems (obviously), but here are some tips I've applied to my own life in fighting against these distractions.


If you've got text tones on, turn them off. If your FaceBook or email notifications come up on your screen or make a sound, turn them off. Do everything you can to make your writing time your writing time.



If you just can't stay focused, set a timer, then appoint an award (e.g. "I will do nothing but write for fifteen minutes, then I will spend five minutes working on emails.").



How many words are you going for? Do nothing until you've written 100 words (or 500 or 1,000), or finished the chapter, or completed a scene (whichever goal suits your style).



 Find a fellow writer or friend to keep you accountable. Tell them your goals at the beginning of the day, and report back to them at the end of the day.




Whatever tip you decide to apply, don't be scared to "award" yourself somehow. Whether it's chocolate or internet time, after you've accomplished your goals, give yourself some freedom and relax.



You've heard my tips, now... what are your tips? When you find yourself getting distracted, what do you do to prevent it? Ready... share!



3 comments:

Rebekah said...

Yep, yep, yep. I've pretty much done all the things you mentioned except having an accountability partner. Maybe I should look one up. ;) Sometimes when I'm getting distracted where I usually write, I'll go somewhere different. I don't know why it helps, but it seems to work. At least some of the time. :) Because I don't write on the computer, once I actually get started writing, I don't fine my distractions online distracting. It's just the book I want to read, or the new story I want to start.
Great post.

Olivia said...

When it seems impossible that I won't stop being distracted, I disconnect from the internet :P It works most of the time...I probably should do it more often!

Amanda T. said...

@ Rebekah - accountability partner has been AMAZING for me! :) I know it's not for everyone, but it's worth a try! And going to a different place is a good idea! I'm totally going to try that when I get my new laptop (right now, my laptop HAS to be stationary or it won't work).

@ Olivia - yes! I have definitely done that! I have actually considered getting a desktop that is NOT hooked up to the internet, just so I can't get distracted. ;) We'll see. :)

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