Distractions from the A to Z Challenge No.1: the first Wednesday of the month is the Insecure Writers Support Group. Today is also letter D in the A to Z Challenge. Now there’s a distraction from the proper job of writing.
Tips for overcoming distractions
I’ve seen many posts recently about overcoming distractions and simply getting down to writing. Tricks of the trade seem to include: getting up long before the kids; turning the radio off (or on); definitely turning the tv off; hiding in a different room. Setting a target of 200, 500 or 1000 words and then taking a break seems sensible, and you can set it to you distraction limits.
You can often release the rest of your inner writer by writing or typing the first words that come into your head. It gets something down on that blank page. The same applies to artists – the first line on the blank canvas is really scary. In fact, I can’t count the times I’ve held the image in my brain, made a mark on the paper and rubbed it out again!!
My favourite distractions
I’ve been easily distracted recently. I revised my scifi book, then I changed my mind, and so far haven’t got back to it because other projects demand my time. Schedules and deadlines are great motivators for avoiding the distractions. They help me stop thinking ‘I should be doing x instead of writing’. If my schedule says I should be writing, I don’t do x until later.
This is particularly the case when it’s a lovely spring morning, and I sit at my computer, saying I need to get my A to Z posts done. Outside the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and I have a twelve point list of things that urgently need doing in the garden before the vegetable seeds can be sown for the year. But my schedule says do a post in the morning and then an hour finalising the book launch on 27th April. Thirty minutes morning and evening in the garden is a useful discipline, though, and it helps stop me sitting down all day. If you’ve got family around you, you probably think my life is idyllic, but there are still distractions.
One bit of software that I started using does help, though. Time Out alerts you to the times when you should take a break. There are two types: just your eyes (for ten seconds) or a physical break for ten minutes. The defaults are half an hour and one hour. I set the ten minute one to the time it typically takes me to write 1000 words. I got it when I had a cataract operation and really needed to rest my eye properly. It’s astonishing how many successive times I try to skip through the ten minute break. More discipline needed!
You have plenty of distractions today. You can visit A to Z-ers posting for D, and IWSG-ers doing their thing. Just stick to your schedule.
Must go, a parcel delivery has just arrived!