Writing Distractions

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I just signed up for Pinterest and it’s like crack—totally addictive (not that I would know if crack is addictive…oh, forget it). I’ve started storyboards and gone through all of my saved image files, just PINNING ALL THE THINGS. Meanwhile (oh my, the time is just flying!), I’ve blown off hours of potential writing time.

NOT GOOD.

I tend to do social media on the go—during breaks at work, while I’m drinking coffee in the morning, when I’m standing in line at the grocery store, etc. Sometimes (most times) I’m burned out by the end of the day and I need something mindless to do. But when I think back and realize how much time I spent doing “mindless things”, I feel guilty and realize I could’ve wrote X amount of words in that time. I do the same thing with TV shows and movies (particularly if they’re bad)—I usually ask myself, “Did I just waste my life on that crap? I could’ve been making up my own damn story!”

Sure, brains need breaks every once in a while, but there’s a line you cross before you’re lost forever in the black hole of the internet. For example, I’ve had my WIP open for an hour now and I’ve written a grand total of ten words. Why? ‘Cause I’m letting myself get distracted by all the shiny social things…and I have a headache…and I’m scared of this next scene…and… *whine* (I could certainly use some wine right now).

Of course, social media is part of a writer’s armament in order to reach readers. A website is a must and probably Facebook and Twitter too. How else are you going to get your book out into the wild world? With an ever-rising plethora of novels inside the monster that is Amazon, we need to try to get our books seen and our voices heard whether your self-pubbed or trad-pubbed.

But, I admit, social media is great fuel for my procrastination machine, and I consciously need to shut it down and throw away the key. Here are a few ways I do it.

Shut off your Wi-Fi.

Yep, you heard me—take that baby down. Even better, turn off your router, especially if it’s in another room. Every time you try to open Facebook, your computer will give you a big fat “NO” and tell you to get your ass back to work.

Use a timer.

Okay, so you refuse to shut down your Wi-Fi—fine. Grab a timer and set it to write for however many minutes/hours you want. Once it goes off (and it should go off loudly) then yay, you’re free to putz. Set it again for your putzing time (for equivalent or less than your writing time), and once it goes off, get your butt back in the chair and your fingers on the keys.

Write or Die.

I’ve never used this program, but I heard it works quite well. Similar to my timer method, it forces you to write in spurts of time and allows you to have intermittent breaks.

Close the door and shut off your phone.

Announce to your family/spouse/kids/whatever that you’re writing for however much time and you shouldn’t be disturbed. Lock the door and throw in some earplugs if you must. Obviously, if there’s an emergency, address it, but only if it means certain death (and I mean certain). Guard that writing time with your life and be a stickler about it—if you don’t, you’ll never be taken seriously and you’ll never get anything done.

Also, TURN OFF YOUR PHONE. Not only does it have all of those fabulous social media distractors, but it also allows people to call you (does that happen anymore?). Put it on silent and put it away.

And that’s all my achy head can think of right now. Do you have any tips to fight off distractions? I’d love to hear them!

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About L.D. Rose

Physician by day, award-winning author of dark PNR/UF by night. Music addict. Wannabe superhero. Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/ldrose
This entry was posted in Life-Snippets from L.D., Soul Mate Publishing, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Writing Distractions

  1. L.D. Rose says:

    Reblogged this on L.D. Rose and commented:
    I’m blogging over at the SMP website about writing distractions. Stop on by for a visit! 🙂

  2. Terri-Lynne DeFino says:

    My #1 way to fight distraction has been signing out of the internet. The bad part is, I inevitably need to look something up. And while I’m there, I might as well address those two emails…and check facebook. Argh! So my #1 isn’t so great. But there was one, blessed day when the internet was down. If I had to look something up–too bad. I left myself a note and would address it later. No email. No facebook. Bliss. I’d forgotten what it was like to write without the distraction.

    Now, I only look something up if I absolutely MUST. Otherwise, I turn off and leave it off.

    • L.D. Rose says:

      Haha, I do the same thing, Terri! But now I’ve been more disciplined about looking things up when I’m done with the session (unless I absolutely cannot proceed, like you said). I use it as part of my “break time”.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  3. Stella says:

    I try to delegate a time for social media and a time to write.

  4. As I was opening this post I was thinking, “How do I manage to convince myself EVERY DAY that fooling around on the internet is some form of writing work? Sigh. Great post. Also, Pinterest is my favorite time-suck.

    • L.D. Rose says:

      LOL, I do the same, Mary Beth! “Im researching, I’m looking for inspiration, etc” but you know, I’m not writing! So yes, discipline is a necessity.

      And I’m now a Pinterest lover as well–I love looking at everyone’s boards!

      Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  5. Beth Carter says:

    I can SO relate to this. Pinterest doesn’t get me but Facebook does. I’m the same way and chastise myself for all the hours wasted that could have been used to write. I think I could pretty easily write two novels and two kids’ books a year if not for the shiny social media distractions. But like you said, we have to reach out to readers, have a platform, and most importantly, interact.

    Great post. Sharing!!

  6. Beth Carter says:

    P.S. I’d like to know more about the Write or Die thing. I have a writer friend in Arkansas whose husband occasionally sends her to a hotel for a week to write. He keeps her phone so she can’t get distracted and it’s a remote location, so no Internet access! I guess she uses the hotel phone to contact him. Lol. Not a bad idea! We should have a retreat and do this in a central location.

    • L.D. Rose says:

      Haha, that isn’t a bad idea at all! And having a retreat sounds like a lot of fun. 😀 I’ll try to find the link to the program and send it to you when I get home.

      • Beth Carter says:

        Thx. It sounds like I need that program. And a summer retreat by the lake would be fun! I’m near Branson and Table Rock Lake. Very cool cabins at Big Cedar and/or a huge lodge that’s like a rustic hotel. Good restaurant and a fun bar and swimming pool. :/ Fun outlet masks, too. Wait. We’re supposed to WRITE!!!

      • L.D. Rose says:

        Oh my God, Beth, that sounds amazing! I would love to go and, you know, write. 😉

      • Beth Carter says:

        We should see how many SMP authors would like to do this in June or August!! They’ll be booked for the Fourth. Or the fall is nice, too! I’m in. 🙂

      • L.D. Rose says:

        I’d have to plan way ahead of time, but it might be manageable! My schedule is a little strict, unfortunately.

  7. Write or Die is great. Not only does it provide a timer, but also provides “punishments” is you stop writing, which can be as tame as a flashing computer screen or as extreme as starting to delete the text you just wrote. First you have to get to the chair with the laptop open to even begin using it though.

    Lately, I’ve been so mentally distracted that I can’t even bring myself to look at my laptop, let alone write in it.

    • L.D. Rose says:

      You’ll get there when you’re ready, Andrea. Sometimes life gets in the way.

      I’ll have to look more into Write or Die but I’m kinda terrified of it. I prefer the safety of a timer, I think!

  8. Dale Ibitz says:

    Boy does this all sound familiar. In fact I’m supposed to be writing right now!

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