Monday, January 25, 2010

All These Distractions!

With my sons off to school and a cup of hot decaf tea in hand, I sat down at my computer thinking, "Ah, yes--finally--the chance to do some serious writing."

Then, the phone rang. Youngest child got sick at school and needed to be picked up. Distraction number one.

Returned home, sat down once more (after reheating the tea)and poised my fingers over the keyboard. The timer on the dryer went off. Can't leave the clothes to wrinkle. Distraction number two. Clothes are out of the dryer--now, shouldn't I fold them and put them away? Distraction number three.

I could go on, but you get the idea. It's easy to become distracted from your work. You plan on writing that next great scene, that pitch to sell your latest article, thank you notes for your Christmas gifts, whatever. Your intentions are good, but there are just too many other things that keep you from completing the task. What can you do to stop this vicious cycle?

First, try to set aside a specific time each day to write. Dedicate that time to writing and nothing else. Unless there's a tornado heading straight for your office or you're being robbed at gunpoint (neither of which I hope ever happen to you!) don't let anything stop you. KBIC--keep butt in chair--and write. You might even plan specifically what you want to get written each day and dedicate yourself to not stopping until that day's writing task is completed.

Secondly, find a quiet spot away from things that may tempt you to stray from your seat. Don't sit where you can see the sink full of dirty dishes, or in my case, the basket of clean clothes. Believe it or not, those things will still be there (unfortunately) when you've finished your writing time.

If you have children, keep them occupied while you work by allowing them to watch a favorite video, draw on paper, or any other task that they can enjoy with minimal or no supervision from you. Be sure to set down "writing time" rules with children of any age; i.e. "I will be working in my office, at my desk, at the table, etc. You are NOT allowed to bother me unless it is an emergency." You can decide what constitutes an emergency in your home, and perhaps offer a small reward if they follow the rules.

What other distractions have you encountered, and how did you work through them? Please feel free to share your comments below. Thanks!


  1. Instead of the writer saying to their child, "Don't disturb me unless there's an emergency," try being more specific, like "don't bother me unless there's BLOOD. And even then it might be written into the story." LOL. Thanks for helping keep us on track!

  2. LOL Too funny, Kris! Thanks for the comment. You are right--kids do sometimes need it "spelled out" for them in order to understand.

  3. I can work with noise. It's a holdover from high school, I swear. If it's quiet, forget it. Nothing will get done. Love my iPod.

    But for my child, nothing works better than sitting with the laptop and watching Star Wars (any of the 6). We are watching together and I'm getting something accomplished.

    Currently, I have a dog on my feet, a cat kneading the comforter next to me, and my iPod blaring Rick Springfield. I'm happy as a clam.

  4. Oh, Wendi, you know how to tug at my heart! RICK SPRINGFIELD! My love as a teen, and still today!!

    Yes, I do love a little noise, too, but only the kinds that I am used to hearing, like my family talking or the TV in the background. My iPod is nice to inspire me--after all, Mitch is a musician! Thanks for sharing with us!

  5. Actually for me, the biggest distraction is my email and social networking. Oh and now blogging! There are many ways to write these days and I just distract myself with them all.

    Having said that I do get a lot of writing work done throughout the day. And in the evening it is sporadic, but still I get more done.

    I like writing in spurts, so the distractions work for me! Lately I've had the kids come home and play with an online greeting card site. They love playing with the interactive cards and we can chat while I write. Yes, I've learned to do both at the same time.

  6. Laura, welcome to my blog and thanks for your comment! You are correct--there truly are many ways to write these days. I, too, get distracted by the social networking, but it's so much fun and I am learning a lot!