Writing Distractions

Picture courtesy of Salesforce.com

I don’t know about you, but I’m not always completely focused on writing, even after deciding, I would write, (or in my case, sit on the computer and type in my handwritten stories).

I find myself distracted too many times to count, and I don’t like that. So I tried to ‘eliminate’ the distractions. It wasn’t easy though. I had to identify the distractions first. When it comes to that, it’s never really clear what a ‘distraction’ actually is.

According to Random Penguin House, who published an article about exactly the very same subject, (click HERE to read it), social media is the main problem that cause distraction.

  1. Identify the distraction
  2. Take a social media hiatus
  3. Turn off WiFi and notifications
  4. Focus on one task at the time
  5. Find positive distraction (Music, ‘White Noise’, Meditation, Excercise)

Okay, and not okay… In my opinion, the article isn’t bad – but mainly it describes exactly TWO distractions, and it doesn’t find a perfect solution… Let’s have a closer look.

I agree with number 1. Identify the distraction. Very often, in many writer’s lives, it’s social media. I understand, you can take a hiatus from social media, the article even tells you how to do that. (which I think, is hilarious) But then, at one point, you are a writer, you want to know what’s going on around your books. Deleting social media apps from the computer, phone or tablet isn’t recommendable. Yes, you can upload them again, but the passwords, and the settings has all gone and it will take you a couple hours to get all that going. Turning off WiFi is absolutely sufficient, since you won’t get any notifications in that case. At that point, we’re already at number 3, and we ‘eliminated’ the social media distraction.

Number four is okay, focus on one task at the time. In our case: it’s writing. So… if you have social media ‘eliminated’ there’s the writing left, is that really a question? Your task, at that moment is writing. Well, yes, focus on that. That’s ‘officially’ number two then.

And then, I had to laugh loudly. Find ‘positive’ distraction’? Come on! Music, which can be a distraction, if you have to ‘find it’ first… which means, you’re distracting yourself for several hours to find the perfect music before you start writing? Being a writer, if you love writing with music in the background, you will most likely already have the perfect music on the computer. Fine – then, start!

Do I have to ‘explain’ the meditation or exercise? Please! If you have to find another distraction to eliminate distractions, I doubt, it’s very helpful for your writing! Eliminate the social media, yes, that way it will be easier to exercise and mediate, instead of what you planned in the first place, writing!

Also, what the article doesn’t mention: writers do have a life! Mentioned in this article is distraction by ‘computer’… but it not even once mentions pets, kids or partners. – And believe me, they all have their spot in your life and can be a huge distraction!

In my opinion, the list should be different:

  1. Pause social media by turning off WiFi for a while
  2. Tell your family, you will write and you don’t want to be disturbed (unless there’s a fire or blood involved)
  3. Feed your pets ahead (go for a walk with the dog and clean the litter box)
  4. Focus on one task. If you want to write your book, do exactly that, if you want to write a blog post, do that!
  5. Decide on the music (or calming CD) before, turn it on ‘repeat’ and don’t bother changing it.

I would say, that’s a good list, and I do follow this one. (Mostly… it took me two days to write that blog post, because my cat wanted to be fed, I was hungry, the favorite man in my life called me, and I had a headache, I needed to go grocery shopping… and on FB….)

You get the point.

What is it that distracts you, and what are you doing about it? Please, let us know, we’d like to hear about your experiences!