Distractions are an ever present battle that any author must ignore if he/she is going to be successful in accomplishing their goal. I think it is wise to set up a space that is as distraction free as possible in order to allow your ideas to flow onto the page. I get distracted very easily by the internet, funny videos, family, my phone, the TV, my cat, you name it and I’ve probably been distracted by it. How does one break away from that stuff to create a momentary oasis where they are able to create without restriction?
Turn It OFF:
One could say this section is the angry old man section or the antithesis of this song, but it still holds true. Turn everything electronic off. Turn the TV off, turn social media off, don’t even have a browser open for more than a quick research trip then close it once you gather the information you need. It’s the 21st century and if you want to write with a clear mind you are going to have to make some sacrifices for an hour or two. My SO likes to watch TV in the evenings, so I have to be the anti-social one and put headphones on or I will stop writing anything that makes sense and start watching the show instead.
This is as much about comfort as it is about eliminating distractions. Use a chair that has a good back or like I do become a couch monster and wrap yourself in every blanket until you are cozy and won’t want to get up to do something else. I like to wear over-ear headphones so that I completely shut off from the outside world and can focus on the world I am creating in my story.
Plan for It:
This is a hard one for me, but I try to take time when my family is not in the house and dedicate all that time to writing so that when they are around I can spend time with them. Also I work best in the morning, so every Saturday and Sunday I try to devote at minimum 3 hours of solid writing. If you plan for it, your mind will become used to the pattern and be ready to impart your imagination on the page. Sticking to this pattern lead me to finishing the first draft for 2 books in about 8 months. But always leave room for those spur of the moment lightning bolts that give you a huge leap forward in the plot or characterization.
Any writers out there feel free to share your tips on creating the perfect writing environment for yourself. Everyone has their own ritual that works for them and I love hearing about different techniques to get the creative juices flowing.
Side note: Writing a blog post is also a good way to procrastinate if you are stuck on how to begin your next story, like I am!