How do writers cope with distractions?
It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a blog post or fan fiction, one of the challenges of being a writer is the constant stream of distractions that come your way. Everything from emails to Twitter notifications to kids to the call of coffee can conspire against you and prevent you from hitting your word count.
There’s no easy way of getting away from them, but these are the three things I find almost certainly guarantees distraction free writing.
Use an iPad (other tablets are available)
It might be a psychological thing, but I find having my iPad propped up and using a separate keyboard makes for fast typing. For some reason the small, focused screen and being deprived of my vast collection of distractions makes for easier typing. I’ve also switched off all notifications and don’t have my email activated. In fact, I’ll usually just have Google Docs open when it’s time for a heavy duty writing session.
Have a place to work.
The sofa in front of the TV is not the best place to work. If you can get yourself a desk and a decent, comfortable office chair. Remove the clutter and avoid using it as another surface on which to put books, post and whatever else lies around. Going to your dedicated work space sends a clear signal that you are going to work.
I don’t like trying to work 3 hours straight to put out 5,000 words. It’s hard work mentally to focus that long and that makes it easier for the mind to start wandering. My preference is to set an objective that will take me 15-30 minutes to sort out, then work to that objective. When I’m done I’ll have a short break, then dive into the next objective. This approach means I tend to sprint through my writing rather than treating it as a marathon.
Everyone is different and I’m sure each writer would argue for or against my approach and maybe add a few more. What’s important though is if you want to avoid distractions don’t put yourself in a distracting environment.