Monday, July 04, 2011

Write More – Eliminate Distractions

What stops me from writing the most? Really, there’s only one answer. Myself. Each and every time.

So what makes me undermine my writing time? Distractions. I succumb to them on a regular basis. You might almost accuse me of seeking them out. Perhaps, on a subconscious level, I do.

Strangely enough, rather than procrastinating over doing something I hate, I procrastinate over an activity I love: writing. Why? Because I believe in the delay of pleasure (romance readers and writers all over the world will know what I’m talking about) and I also believe that sometimes the anticipation of an enjoyable activity is as good (or nearly as good) as taking part in the actual activity. So, needless to say, I am hardwired to delay writing even when I have the time, energy and inclination.

The easiest way for me to get my butt into the desk chair is to squash the obstacles that can sometimes get in the way of me and it. How? Well, let me share with you what works for me.

Take care of the urgent tasks first: Those nagging thoughts that lurk in the back of your head are going to keep you from writing productively. If these tasks are urgent—and only if they are urgent—deal with them before you sit down to write. Allot a period of time in which to do so, say thirty minutes or an hour. When the time is up, stop. Pass the rest of the task onto someone else in your household. Then forget about it. You’ve done what you could.

Delegate the non-urgent tasks: Most of the lurking mental distractions are not urgent tasks that must be accomplished right away. They can wait. But if they still have the potential to distract you with their constant piping reminders then delegate them to someone else in the house and let them get on with it. This works best with household chores. Say it after me: “I’m writing this afternoon, honey, so could you please take care of the vacuuming? Thanks.”

Then do this:

Close the door: Put a physical obstacle between you and the rest of the world (and the noisy family who is hopefully now pushing a vacuum cleaner around the house). Let them know that knocking or screaming for you on the other side will not work. Electrify the doorknob if you have to.

When you emerge from your writing cocoon, warm and fuzzy with the after effects of creative adrenaline and productivity, the family will appreciate you more for your absence. And, hopefully, the house will be clean.

Photo courtesy of Rawich at

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