Friday, May 21, 2010
Distractions and How to Fight Them
Today I have a sick cat to worry about. My thoughts keep straying away from my writing because of it. I also have some council tree cutters in my front yard. There’s nothing like the sound of a chainsaw to distract. This week I’ve also been sick and it’s so easy to use that excuse to distract me from my writing.
So, how do we fight these distractions?
Find the best time for you to write. This varies for every writer. I write best in the morning when my brain is still fresh. The neighbour’s kids have gone to school, my husband has gone to work, and the house is mostly quiet. I guard this time carefully.
Use music. If it’s horrible noise that’s distracting me, then I put some great writing music on. It helps me focus. I can’t use any music with lyrics because the words distract me, so I’ve made up a playlist of instrumental background music. It depends on how bad the outside distractions are as to how loud I turn up the music. Sometimes I even have to go so far as to use my headphones to block everything else out.
Fight temptation. Don’t tell yourself you’ll only watch 30mins of TV if you know it will likely end up being an hour or more. Don’t get yourself a snack if you know you are only eating because it’s a distraction. Don’t start a job if you know you can’t finish it before your scheduled writing time begins.
Decide not to be distracted. The mind is a powerful thing. We can deicide against anything that lures us away from our writing. I can write this piece without allowing the chainsaw outside to grab at my thoughts. I don’t have any music on either because I made the decision that I would write now.
Allow the distraction. This might sound strange since we are trying to fight it, but sometimes we must give distractions our attention. Children can’t be ignored. A kitchen burning down can’t be ignored. A cat demanding a pat can’t be ignored. Often we feel better after giving these things some time. Often our minds are clearer and we are more able to write.
These are just a few suggestions. Perhaps you can think of some more? What are your worst distractions? What do you do to fight them?