Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Saving The Distracted Writer

A writer's life s not an easy one. It's full of distractions and trials. Frequently we have to have a job and write at the same time, not to mention family obligations. And how is one to write when there are so many other distractions out there in the world just ready to leap at you from the dark corners - or even out in broad daylight?

Hmmm.  Well, there are a lot of things a writer can do. Some of them are as basic as self-discipline. Dirty words, I know. But as a writer you're going to have to find ways to focus, move forward, put aside distractions and write.  Easier said than done, right?

Yep, been there done that - a lot - for a long time - even before all the new distractions the web, email, iPhones, etc. present.

So here are a few ideas to help you along - to keep you focused.

1. If you commute, try to utilize that time to write.  Get yourself a pair of noise cancelling headphone or just listen to some quite background music, sequester yourself away from people as best you can and write. Just write, don't edit.  Your creative self races ahead of your more pedantic editing self, so get those ideas down on paper, your laptop, whatever. You can edit and clean it up later. Seriously. 

2. Consider staying up late at night or getting up really early in the morning.  I was up at 4:30 this morning and I don't go to an outside job. Husband had to go out of town on business this morning and left really early.  I took advantage of the extra time to accomplish a lot.  I'm so proud of myself! These times; early morning or late at night, are quieter times.  Most folks aren't trying to reach you. Businesses aren't open.  It's a great time to work uninterrupted.

3. Center yourself when you are writing. Take some time ahead of your writing time to collect some tools that will keep help you keep yourself focused. If you need to take notes a simple note pad, thus avoiding the distractions of the web might be good.  If you can block that out you might like to try a program like Evernote - it's a free program, lets you take notes and keep track of them. There are others out there that are similar. There are other programs as well, designed to help you keep your focus.  Ommwriter (downloadable program) is another with a few bells and whistles thrown in, but any text writer will keep you on track. 

Oh, you might consider an actual physical, pocket edition of a dictionary and/or thesaurus to keep at your desk. If it's just a simple word you're looking up or you want a synonym web searching can prove to be a mighty distraction, luring you off onto all sorts of other things you'd like to investigate and breaking your focus. Pull back just a bit from the web - save that for when you want to actually be there, researching, playing, exploring.

4. Here's another thing and I've said this in a previous blog, it's better to write first - edit second. If you try to do both you're attempting to do two jobs at once and you're slowing yourself way down.  On top of that, consider what you're doing.  Are you really trying to clean your work up to that point or are you just stalling?  Many writers are actually almost phobic about finishing their books. Anything to throw up self-imposed road blocks.  Don't do that to yourself.  Keep moving. All that little stuff, spelling, punctuation, rewording, can be done later.  Get the ideas down and press forward.
So what are you going to do?  Define your writing time, don't try to let the web do everything (sometimes a bit old fashioned can help as in a notebook), don't answer the damn phone or allow your time to be interrupted and use your self-discipline to press forward. A good idea, not written down, can be lost forever.  Been there, done that to.

Keep writing - keep the momentum moving forward and let me know how you do.


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