What Was I Meant to be Doing?
Hi there, and welcome back to the blog.
Since this is primarily a website dedicated to writing, I thought I’d better throw in the odd blog post related to the topic of writing and being a writer. I hope you enjoy this.
Being a writer these days is difficult, especially when you are connected to the internet full time and can easily be distracted by any shiny objects you find online, be it social media or the latest online clickbait article.
Distractions are the primary source of unfinished work within the writing community, and there is an abundance of distractions out there just biding its time until it can suck you in and steal the writing day away from you. Here I will list just a few of those distractions and ways to avoid falling into the trap of time-sucking shiny object syndrome.
1. Social Media
I think we all knew where this was going to go. Social media is a major cause of distraction among writers, novelists, and bloggers. There is a vibrant and massive online presence of fellow scribers, especially within the Writing Community on Twitter, where it is easy to stay in the vacuum and neglect the all-important work you need to be doing. Although it can be beneficial to marketing yourself and your brand, it can also go the other way and limit the work you need to do in a day. Therefore, use social media sparingly to avoid writing distractions.
As a way to help limit your time on social media, if willpower isn’t an option – which it isn’t for most – is to limit the amount of time you can spend on certain apps (which can quickly be done using the settings on your phone).
2. Friends and Family
You just sat down in front of the computer to knock out the next great piece of writing or blog post, and then what happens? Family and Friends call demanding your time and attention. The pandemic was a great way of avoiding this distraction for so long, but that is coming to an end, and writers now need a system in place to finish the work you promised yourself you would do.
Personally, I use Google Calendar and block out chunks of time when I need to be working – I usually do this about a week in advance, so I know not to make alternative plans at that time. The time blocking system needs to be respected by you and others and is most effective if blocked at the same time every day.
3. Waiting for inspiration or motivation
Many writers like to wait for inspiration to strike or motivation to hit before they sit down to write. However, writing doesn’t follow inspiration or motivation; in fact, quite the opposite. If you make yourself sit down at your laptop or notebook and write just one sentence, I bet the motivation and inspiration will hit, even if it is not instantaneous.
A trick I use is to make sure I sit at the laptop at the same time every day, 3 pm, my head is clear from early morning grogginess, and I’ve probably had coffee, so I’m good to go at that point. Starting at the same time every day lets my subconscious know that I am showing up at the same time and expecting the same result, i.e. creativity. I try not to wait for those things to hit first. Instead, I show up and tell my subconscious when I want those things and nine times out of ten – it delivers!.
I know the number one thing that distracts me is noise within earshot of my working environment. When that happens, I usually get a set of earplugs to minimise the noise when I am trying to get work done. It works terrifically, and I would recommend it to anyone. However, sometimes earplugs can be uncomfortable for some; in that case, I would recommend a set of noise-cancelling headphones – slightly more expensive but get the same job done without too much intrusion in your ears.
5. General Chaos
Sometimes life just gets in the way. If this is the case for you, it is perfectly acceptable to take a day or two off. What? Just because you don’t work the traditional 9-5 job doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to take a couple of days off when you need to deal with the chaos of life first. Get those distractions out of your head, and it will equip you to write better prose.
6. Attention-Grabbing Articles
For me, one of the biggest distractions is interesting looking articles. It is easy to jump from one 4 minute article to the next without considering the time wasted. I would recommend avoiding these as much as possible or limiting them to the morning or evening to avoid eating into your writing time.
When I say that, of course, I mean that the articles on this blog are the exception – they’re definitely worth your time!
What do you think? If you are a writer, what are your top writing distractions? Leave them below in a comment section; I’d love to hear from you!
Also, if you are not a writer or aren’t particularly interested in being one, let me know below if you liked this little insight and if you would like to see more blog posts like this one in the future.
So they were my top writing distractions. I hope you liked this post, and if you did and would like to see more, you can follow me @MolloyWrites on Facebook and Twitter for the latest regular updates.
Until next time.