This is one of the hardest obstacles a writer must overcome. Distraction comes in many forms, usually of our own making.
Distractions are really just another word for the “P” word: Procrastination. During a month like NaNoWriMo, distractions and procrastination can run rampant if you don’t cut them off at the pass.
So here are three things I do to buckle down and stay on task:
1. Make a to-do list as soon as you wake up in the morning or even the night before.
This may seem like it’s only propagating the need to distract yourself, but it actually works. Give yourself 2-3 hours to complete the entire list because once it’s done, it feels as if a weight has been lifted off your chest. It gives you the freedom to sit down and do some writing without guilt!
If you have a full time job, complete the to-do list as soon as you get home, but in this case I would limit the time it takes you to one hour. You want to make sure you don’t talk yourself out of writing later on with excuses such as: “I’m too tired,” “I work all day, all I want to do is relax.” Trust me, you won’t get any work done if you use these excuses. You’re always going to be tired, but you have to learn to push through it if you want to succeed.
2. Write in a place that doesn’t have Internet or TV.
If you’re like me, the main culprit of distraction is Internet browsing or watching television. I’m often amazed at how much time passes while I’m literally doing nothing but checking FaceBook statuses. Sometimes I feel like a zombie has taken over my body and I can’t stop scrolling down my FB page reading about people I barely know. It’s even worse with Twitter, because most of the people I follow I definitely don’t know and yet I just have to know how their day is going. It’s insane!
So if you just go to a place where you don’t have access to the Internet like a park, that’s most of the battle right there. As sad as it is, it’s really hard not being “plugged in,” but I'm telling you, it can be liberating at the same time.
3. Turn off your phone.
I’m a texting fiend. I text all the time and receive texts all the time. This can be the biggest distraction because you’d be amazed at how much time it takes away from your writing. The funny thing is I’m usually texting about how frustrated I am that I’m not writing lol! So decide how long you want to work and turn off your phone for that amount of time.
There are many more ways to limit your distractions, these are just the main three I use. The bottom line is: if you want to finish your project, you have to buckle down and do it. We’re our own worst enemy and distraction/procrastination is usually a huge factor for most people. Learn what works best for you and make it apart of your daily routine. Creating good working habits is key to getting what you want in life.
So stop reading this blog and get back to work! You’re procrastinating :-)
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I'm a writer of YA fiction, fiction, comics, television and movies. I try to make all my stories full of jumbly goodness :-)