Writing is a joy. I’m not being sarcastic here. The creativity of writing–letting the muse take me away on an adventure–is better than all the drugs in the world!
In my youth, I imagined the life of a writer. A nice office with a massive oak desk built in the late nineteenth century, the latest in technology to capture the sacred words and put them to paper, an awesome sound system that would play only the best music while I typed. I’d wear my best tweed jacket (you know, the one with the brown leather elbow patches?) and wax philosophical upon the page.
The reality is a laptop at the dining room table, plugged into my iPod Touch and wearing boxer shorts and a t-shirt. Alternatively it’s a laptop at the local cofffee shop, plugged into my iPod Touch and watching all the funny people walk by on the street. (Wearing more than the boxer shorts in the latter scenario I might add!)
No tweed jacket in sight.
Why didn’t anybody tell me writing was work?
Okay, it’s not really all that much work. I love what I do. The problem isn’t so much making time to do it as it is using the time that I have available.
Here are my five biggest writing distractions.
It’s All About Me
The first is the worst, and the first is little ol’ me.
I’m my worst enemy when it comes to writing. You would think that because I derive so much pleasure from the act of writing that I’d actually do it more often.
Such is not the case.
Maybe it’s a subconscious fear of success, I don’t know.
The only way to get past this is to set a daily word count goal and stick to it come Hell or high water. Most days I’m successful. Some days not so much. (Last year was very not-so-much.)
Until It’s Not About Me
Inevitably, Life (with a capital L) happens.
You’re kicking butt on the word count when BAM! Someone in the family is sick. The cat just ate the neighbor’s dog. Your garbage disposal upchucked all over your kitchen, you’ve just had word that the in-laws are coming to dinner…and you’re manifesting Mother Hubbard and her cupboard.
The best of intentions, right?
While there’s nothing to be done for the family emergencies that crop up during life, with a little prior planning they might not be as devastating to the writing.
Take my word count. A thousand words a day. The majority of the time I make about fourteen hundred words in my allotted writing time. That gives me an extra twenty-eight grand in the bank at the end of a week!
Just don’t fall into the habit of using those extra words as excuses to skip your writing schedule! That trap is a never-ending spiral down to the ZERO word count.
It’s About Someone Else
While this is related to family emergencies, it’s less about your disruptive life than it is about your coworkers’.
Let’s be honest. Few of us can afford to write full-time. And the day job eats up a lot of productive hours.
It devours even more when you’re called in on your day off.
Suddenly you’ve inherited your coworker’s problems. You cast a final longing stare at your computer before you head out the door in a flurry of fresh-washed uniforms and hastily packed lunches.
About the only thing to counteract this is to work for yourself…or win the lottery!
The Idiot Box
I’ve worked hard all week! I even worked an extra four hours because of a call off. I’ve put in twelve hundred words a day which gives me a little leeway, right?
I deserve to watch an hour of Chuck on Netflix! I do! Just one hour and then I’ll get in my word count.
That episode was good! (Check the clock.) I can squeeze in another…
Cliffhanger! But what happens next?
Hey! What happened to the time? Whaddya mean I have to get ready for work?
I haven’t gotten my word count for today!
Would You Like To Play A Game?
(Or perhaps this subheading should be called “The Idiot Box, Redux.”)
I’ve recently picked up a PlayStation 3 and I can safely say that I’m addicted to Terraria. Coming home after a long night of work to mine for goods and slay monsters is quite relaxing.
Only problem? It cuts into my television time.
Which means I can’t see my favorite shows unless I watch them during the day.
Writing? Who has time to write? I’ve got to catch that last episode of “Gotham” and clean the toilet before I leave for work. Somebody called off again!
Yep, distractions. Love to hate ’em. I’m not the only one either. I bet a lot of you reading this have agreed with at least two of my five biggest distractions.
What keeps you from doing what you love? What insidious diversion pops up at the least opportune time, sending your train of intention off the rails and into the station in a massive pile-up of boxcars?
Better yet, what do you do to siderail those distractions so they cause the least amount of damage?