My Biggest Distractions and How I fight Them

Writing takes determination, courage, and focus. There are so many distractions around us. These are the worst for me.

1 - Noise Noise Noise. I made this number one because it's my biggest challenge. My husband likes to watch TV constantly, and there is nowhere to go to get away from the cacophony of sound. For him, it's static in the background. For me, it's total distraction. I've tried earplugs, but don't really like the way they feel, and they don't block everything. He says to tell him and he'll wear headphones, but why do I need to tell him what he already knows? And the bottom line is that this is his home too.

How to combat the situation?
The only thing I've found to help is listening to instrumental music while wearing headphones myself. This can actually be helpful, if I find something that suits the mood in the story I'm writing. It needs to be loud enough to block the other sounds, so you might be courting a headache if it's loud.

I try to write while he's asleep or working. It might not be the best situation, but it works.

2 - Social Media. Facebook, Instagram, Google+. As Authors, marketing is a necessary activity, but how much is too much? When it keeps you from writing for more than a day at a time. I'm tired of the cliche, 'writer's write.' While it's true, we all need to find a way to keep ourselves focused and moving forward, especially when we're dealing with tough edits. And call it like it is, it's easy to get caught in posts and conversation in these places.

How to combat the situation?
There are programs that allow you to schedule your posts. Buffer, Hootsuite, Pluggio, and many others. It isn't one on one, so I use it to post my ads, and sometimes uplifting quotes or excerpts. After that, I don't need to worry about the marketing side too much. I visit for short periods when it's convenient, and interact with friends, family on fans at that time. Most the time they understand when you need to cut it short, especially if they are waiting to read your next book. Limit your time, and don't allow social media to take over your life.

3 - Moods and Attitudes. Moods can affect your writing, especially if you argue with a friend or Colleague and need to write an endearing scene. Maybe you're in a romantic mood, but the story calls for some kind of battle. This happens to me all the time. The writing gets done, but the emotion is siphoned out.

How to combat the situation?
The only thing I've found for this is music. I've created playlists on Youtube to combat the issue and it's worked really well. I also have them in Itunes, Playlists focused on breaking up, love, anger, cheating, there are songs that focus on any emotion you can imagine.

4 - People running around the house. This kind of falls under noise, but not exactly, since noise can be as simple as hitting the off switch sometimes. We can't turn the husband and kids off.

How to combat the situation?
First I have to say that I'm a big advocate of family first. There are some things you just can't replace once they are gone. When there are people you love around, time is precious. So make sure you set time aside for them, but also for you and your writing, and don't let them cross the line unless it's important, which sometimes happens. You can write when the kids are sleeping or off playing too.

5 - There's so much to do. Housework, yard-work, meals, parent/teacher conferences, or even friends stopping in. Most of us are busy these days. I look at the house and sigh constantly. Most of the other issues rarely show their head.

How to combat the situation?
Make a schedule, and keep it. Tell friends to call before stopping by. If you're on a roll, this will help you finish, and stay focused.

The bottom line is taking hold of your life so you can control it. It's not always easy, but determination helps too. Nothing compares to being excited about your story, but some days we're just tired. Like I've said before ... you can always write two-hundred words, and work from there. One of my teachers said that even if you only wrote a paragraph a day, you would eventually finish. That's true, but I don't have the patience for such a small amount. There are occasions when I've found it necessary though.


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