Hey, SE Readers. Joan with you with the second in my series of posts Lessons from Nano. If you missed the first one, you can read it by clicking here. Today’s topic is eliminating distractions.
Mae touched on this in a post last fall, but in order to meet your writing goals, you have to put aside anything that is a distraction to you.
I would venture to say the internet and social media is likely the biggest distraction we face. As writers, we’re told me must have a social media presence—Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, to name a few.
But what about our personal blogs? Writing and scheduling posts, as well as reading and responding to reviews, takes time. Television is another issue for some people. Reading can also eat up hours in the day. Not to mention our smartphones.
None of these things in and of themselves are bad. But if we’re going to succeed at meeting our writing goals, we have to set some boundaries.
Before October, I wrote and scheduled my blog posts for the entire month. I initially planned to continue blogging throughout November and had several posts in draft form. However, as the time drew closer, I knew there was no way I’d be able to keep up with all the comments and visits and still meet my word count goal. Therefore, I decided to take the entire month off. The only exception was if I had posts scheduled for Story Empire.
I limited my online prescence. Most of my social media posts were on Instagram. A lot of those were progress reports—five-day writing streak, fifteen-day writing streak, 10K words reached, etc.
Television isn’t a big distraction for me, so that wasn’t a problem. I do most of my writing in the evenings. My husband typically works that shift but he was on vacation a few days during November. When he’s home, that means the TV is on, but I learned I can easily tune it out.
I love to read, but I decided to finish what books I had been reading and not start anything new.
My critique partners all agreed we would not send one another anything during the month. That enabled me to have additional time to write.
I didn’t become a complete hermit. Except for a few days of vacation, I worked my regular schedule. There were also two days in which my husband and I had doctor’s appointments or medical procedures that required one of us to drive the other one.
I lost another evening to attend a fundraiser. Hubs and I also managed a Sunday afternoon date to see the movie, Midway. Of course, there was the Thanksgiving holiday. If a friend needed to chat or if we needed to discuss something with Story Empire, I made myself available.
Writing is a part of our lives, but it should never be our life. Taking some time away—yes, even a trip to a doctor’s office—helped to refresh my mind. (Sitting in a waiting room is an excellent place for people watching.)
The important thing is to identify the things that distract you most and temporarily remove them. If it’s television, go into another room. Internet? Use an internet blocking program. Your phone? Put it on airplane mode.
You may not need to take an entire month away from blogging and social media, but try staying away for a weekend.
Getting rid of distractions, albeit temporary, is one of the best solutions for reaching your writing goals.