Today, most writers struggle to find the time and energy to write while keeping family and full-time work obligations. Then there are the everyday distractions that abound in our lives, made even more complicated in this digital world. Sometimes the hardest part about writing is avoiding distractions and staying focused enough to write.
Here are a few tips I’ve collected that will help keep your hand to the keyboard:
- Schedule time to write. Every day. We’re all busy, but we make time for what matters. Guard this time. Remember your brain needs the consistent exercise of writing.
- Be prepared to sit and write. Make sure you’ve taken a bathroom break, got yourself a snack, and have something to drink. No excuses.
- Turn on some music. Or turn it off. Whichever works best for you. Whether it’s rocking out to 80s hair bands or the quiet calm you get with noise canceling headphones.
- Get comfortable. If you’re cold or hot, you’re going to be distracted. Grab your favorite sweater or turn on the fan.
- Atmosphere is everything. If you don’t already have a special place to write, create one. Even if it’s in the corner of a room or the inside of a closet. You just need a surface for your laptop and a chair.
- Turn off your phone. There was a time, not so long ago, when people didn’t have access to us 24-hours a day. The world will not end if you turn off your phone for an hour. You have voicemail and text messaging.
- Close Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon, etc. Just for now all you need is Word or Docs, whatever program you use for writing.
- Challenge yourself with your daily word count. I belong to several Facebook writer’s groups where we’ve had daily word count challenges. A little healthy competition between writers has been a great way to maintain a daily writing habit.
- If you’re really stuck, change your routine – take a walk, call a friend, read, sing, dance, or anything that might help you get out of your own head long enough to help you refocus.
- Reward yourself! Hold off on that new Netflix series until you’re done. No ice cream, until AFTER you’ve written. Meet your goal, take a bubble bath! Create rewards that drive you.
Every writer will struggle with writer’s block from time-to-time. Fighting distractions are different. This is a discipline that you can master over time.
If you have other means that you use to fight distractions, I’d love to hear about them. Comment in the space below. As always, if you have questions or other suggestions, please feel free to email me directly.
Don’t forget why you’re writing in the first place.
Blessed to be a blessing