It doesn’t seem to matter who you are, how experienced or motivated you are, or how grand your idea is. We all struggle with distractions.

[Insert 10 minute Facebook break]

I find the internet is often a bane, rather than a tool. I start a blog post, or a scene, and pause to look something up or let the world know what I’m up to and…

[Insert 30 seconds to post on Twitter that I am actually #writing]

…before you can get any more writing done, you need to read what everyone else has been tweeting…

[Remain on Twitter for 25 minutes checking out all the tweets from the past day]

When I finally get back to my word document, I type a few lines before I realize I have been waiting to hear back from so-and-so about this-or-that.

[Insert 5 minute email check]

Okay. Now I can write. Where was I? I forget. Um…. Oh ya… okay. Here we go.

[Insert 11 minute texting conversation with friend in Vancouver about job hunt]

Well that killed my flow. That I was just barely getting into. I’ve completely lost my train of thought. I guess I’ll Google…

[Insert 19 minutes of Googling “writing distractions” to see what others have written on the subject]

Ideas! Hooray! Let’s write, write, write. And not get distracted again. Focus. Set a goal.

[Insert 2 minutes of observing person walking past]

Now… umm… I’m stuck. Again.

Do I go against all the writing advice out there and look at what I’ve written before I complete a draft? I will probably end up doing a ton of editing. I shouldn’t do that until after I’ve completed the draft.

Okay, stay strong! Resist the urge! Finish this paragraph.

[Insert 15 minute “break” caused by surfing the internet for the name of that one character from that one book I read when I was nine]

I should probably just disable the airport in my Macbook. Then I CAN NOT use the evil internet. The temptation is not there when the browser does not function.

[Insert 3 minute conversation with roommate about what to make for dinner, and who is going to cook]

Where was I?? What was I writing?

Oh yes, disctractions.

Ooo! Good song! Can’t type other words and sing at the same time.

[Insert 5 minute break to sing aloud with iTunes – Hallelujah covered by The Canadian Tenors]

See what I mean? Distractions happen. We can’t avoid them. Depending on where we are, what surrounds us, who we’re with, and yes, what our topic is, the level of distraction while writing varies.

Some topics, things we are passionate about or already know a lot about, will flow more easily and hold our attention more strongly. Other topics, things we may not be as interested in, or that we don’t have a solid information base for…

[Insert 45 seconds to open new Word document and hammer out another blog post idea]

…will be more difficult to stay focused on. Writing takes focus.

Writing takes determination.

[Insert 7 minute phone call with Grandmother]

For me, writing means setting a goal, and often, disabling my internet and silencing my phone.

I should probably hide the book I’m reading…and hide myself from any people I may know or feel an urge to have a conversation with.

I’ve just spent a few minutes scouring the web to find a quote I vaguely recall. I can’t find it. Instead of trying for another hour to find it, I’m going to simply paraphrase, and unfortunately, avoid acknowledging who initially shared it.

It said something like this:

“Lock yourself in a room with no windows, a room with a table, a chair, a piece of paper, and a pen. Then you will write.”


Which distractions tend to annihilate, or at least slow, your writing flow?

  1. LOVE YOU!! You made me giggle through this entire post. I can relate far too much. I am ashamed. ^_^ I'm afraid housework is my main distraction. I always feel I should be doing that instead. I have to remind myself that writing is just as important as a clean house.

  2. “Let the grass die. I let almost all of my indoor plants die from neglect while I was writing the book. There are all kinds of ways to live. You can take your choice. You can keep a tidy house, and when St. Peter asks you what you did with your life, you can say, I kept a tidy house, I made my own cheese balls.” – Annie Dillard.Haha.

  3. Ladies, you make me smile! Thanks for reading.I could write another post about all of the distractions that keep from sitting down and writing. This list is what gets in the way once I actually choose to neglect the housework, the television, the book I'm reading, the walk I should go for, the groceries I should buy, and the shower I should probably take. 🙂

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