Unorthodox Writing Tips 32 – Distractions By-Pass

It’s going to happen to you sooner or later. I can tell you with 100% certainty that if you start to write that you will put your hands on the keyboard and BAM! Lightning will strike. You’ll be amazed. It’ll almost be like magic. You’ll be almost as surprised as I am each and every time it happens. It’s like clockwork for me. I put my hands on the keyboard to type some words and…


Yes, that’s right. People don’t take writing seriously. You’re not actually working, after all, you’re just doing something that’s a hobby and you can be distracted at anyone’s whim. What you’re doing isn’t important to them because they don’t see anything you’re producing at that very moment. The person interrupting you might not even understand the creative process or how critical it is for you to just have some quiet time to sit and type without any interference.

It might not even be a person that will do it. You might get a text message on your phone from a person that doesn’t even know you’re writing. Or a tweet. Or an e-mail. Or a facebook notification. Or any number of other places that can bounce you straight from your realm back into the real world. It’ll happen more times to me in a day than I can count. In fact, I’m just getting started on this post and I’ve been interrupted six times by four different people. None of them know I’m writing so they don’t even know they’re bothering me.

What should I do? Well, I’m on my lunch and still sitting at my desk. I should have gotten up and walked away with my netbook and typed this up somewhere else. Totally my fault, but I’m on back to back calls and I’m squeezing in lunch where I can. Yes, I work fro home. I’ve also gotten calls from a listing that expired and other people want to know more about the listing. People from work have questions and I’m trying to type as fast as I can and keep my thoughts together and

Message tone stops me once again

Then a reminder for another meeting.

Then a call from my wife.

Then I need to attend a call.

It never stops. I’m trying to eat while I type this as well. Be glad you cannot see my keyboard.

My point in all of this is that you will be distracted. You need to do one of two things. First you can isolate yourself from any distractions. Go to park, leave your cell phone at home, be disconnected from the internet and be as free from distractions as you can be. You’ll never be 100% free from distractions, but this will limit it to things beyond your control. It’ll just be you versus the keyboard. A contest of how many words you can type in a given session.

My only issue with this is when I’m ready to write I don’t want to pack everything up and head for the hills just so I can be away from everything. If that were the case I’d rent a cabin in the mountains for a couple weeks and write each and every day all day. Or closed resort in the mountains. Or be kidnapped by my number one fan.

No, I like to sit where I am and write from there. As best I can I disconnect from the internet, I inform the wife and my favorite daughter that I’m writing, and put on some headphones. Yes, I still get interrupted, but like I said. That’s going to happen. Being that I’ve been writing every day since the start of the year (2012 if you’re reading this in the future) means that I can isolate myself quickly and, usually, get right back where I left off after a given distraction. I’ll do everything I can to avoid them, but life will step in and say hello from time to time so you need to do whatever you can to manage them.

Yes, I understand you cannot write unless you have a 4 hour block of time laid out, but you need to consider if this is realistic or not. Granted 10 minute chunks are difficult to get anything done in, but it is possible. What you need to do is figure out a schedule, or plan your time, or find some quiet time, and just start bashing out words. It is up to you to do your best to avoid distractions, or manage them, or accept that they will happen, address them, and move on. You will never be 100% free of distraction even if you do manage to isolate yourself in the wilderness. You will still need to eat, drink, sleep, find out where they woodpecker is, avoid bears, well…you get the point. Distractions will occur and it’s more of how you manage them than how you avoid them.

This post is a distraction. Is it a distraction for you or me? The world may never know.

Until Next Time!


Posted on June 8, 2012, in Unorthodox Writing Tips. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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