If you’re a fellow writer, I’m sure you understand the feeling when you sit down to write but just can’t seem to concentrate. So many things can be distracting when you’re trying to get your daily or weekly word count accomplished, but the great news is there are ways to deal with all those distractions. In this blog post, I will explain a few of the biggest distractions for writers and how you can get rid of those distractions.
1. Family interrupting.
It seems especially fitting that my husband called me as I was starting to write this blog post. Although it can be difficult to tell your family that you’re busy and need to concentrate on writing, it’s essential. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should neglect your family or not spend time with them. Instead, you should set aside a specified daily timeframe to eat dinner together, watch a movie, or whatever you enjoy doing with your family. Make sure they know they’re important to you, but when it’s writing time, you need to write.
2. The Internet.
The Internet is wonderful in so many ways, but it’s also incredibly distracting. When you’re writing, there may be things you need to research and it can be tempting to let browsing Google consume your time. My tip to get rid of this problem is to write the first draft without research. When I’m writing, I’ll make notes where I need to look something up later, so I can keep writing without being consumed by the Internet vortex. Another solution is to write with a pen and paper instead of using a computer, so you don’t have the Internet readily accessible.
Cellphones are another great invention that can also distract you from writing, especially when you account for the hundreds of available apps, texting, and social media. It can be easy to convince yourself you’re picking up your phone just for a second to read a text or check an email. The next thing you know you’ve wasted an hour scrolling through Instagram. When I’m writing, I always keep my phone on silent, so I don’t know when I receive texts, phone calls, social media notifications, etc. This is one way I stop myself from constantly picking up my phone. Sometimes I will also put my phone in another room, so I’m not tempted to keep checking it. Alternatively, if you’re lacking self-control, you can turn your phone off during your writing time or have a family member or friend hold onto it until you’re done writing.
4. Cleaning/messy house.
I know this probably isn’t a distraction for everyone. As a neat freak, I thrive on cleanliness. I feel so productive and content when the whole house is clean and nothing is out of place. If there are random things on the kitchen table and counter, the laundry isn’t put away, or dishes are in the sink, I find it incredibly difficult to concentrate on writing. This is especially hard if I’m trying to write in one of the rooms where there’s a mess. To solve this problem, I almost always have to clean at least one room before I let myself start writing. If I declutter the room I’m writing in, I think it helps me feel more organized and allows me to gather my thoughts more cohesively.
Maybe it’s just me, but something about sitting down to write immediately makes me want to snack on chips, candy, or whatever is accessible. To get rid of this distraction, I will usually eat something before writing. However, sometimes food is a good motivation, so I’ll reward myself with a piece of candy if I write X amount of words.
Please comment below if you struggle with other types of distractions while writing and be sure to mention what your tips are for getting rid of them.