I have to admit–I’m hopeless at writing when I’m distracted.
There are several things that have recently contributed to wasting a good portion of my allotted writing time, and these are things I want to learn to avoid.
I’m not saying the following list of programs and habits should be completely shunned; they’re all very useful and necessary. Still, I’ve decided to make a concerted effort to break free of these distractions during my writing time.
From now on, I’m kissing these 7 distractions goodbye:
- Checking Email. I tend to check it not once, but every five minutes-or-so during my writing. Checking my email always leads to further distractions like replying to urgent (and not-so-urgent) messages.
- Moderating/Replying to comments. This is one of the evils of checking email every few minutes. As soon as I see there are comments queued to be moderated, I feel the need to log into WordPress. I must then reply to comments so my readers don’t feel unloved.
- Tweetdeck. Every time I hear that little tweet and see a pop-up on my screen, it takes my mind off writing. I don’t need to read tweets in real time. I can catch up on them later. I can retweet later. I can check out my new followers later.
- Google Reader. My feedreader is one of the best tools I have for keeping up-to-date on what’s being discussed in the blogosphere. As much as it’s necessary, I often can’t help logging in to see if my favourite blogs have new posts up. Then, of course, I want to read them.
- Feedburner/Blog Stats. I don’t really need to know what’s going on with my subscribers or traffic, not every day and not during my writing time. There’s really no excuse for this one. Yet, I still do it.
- Image browsing. Looking for new blog photos can be productive, but I tend to get distracted by them too easily. Give me a thousand pages of free images to look through, and I’m totally gone.
- Facebook. As much as I adore my friends and my fan page, they can wait until later in the day. There’s nothing urgent about seeing the latest status updates or checking out friends’ photos.
I’ve already started to beat some of these distractions, but others are harder to let go of. I have to keep reminding myself they’ll still be there when my scheduled writing time is done.
There’s a program called MacFreedom, which allows you to disable your internet access for up to 8 hours at a time. It’s available for free download here. Who knows, it might be just the thing to help me get my 2 full hours of uninterrupted writing time each day.
What things distract you from writing? Have you tried to give them up, and were you successful? What strategies have you found for writing without distractions?
Images courtesy of pedosimoes7