You would think, given the very short amount of time I actually have in which to write, I would use it wisely. Well, you’d be WRONG.
I know I have a very limited time to get my words down, especially as it’s now the summer holidays and I have two kidlets to entertain and yet I struggle to stay focussed. Some days I sit down to write and I’m lucky if … Ooh Tom Hiddleston.
And it seems the less time I have, the worse I am at allowing any small distraction eat my time.
Like watching this cutie.
A couple of months ago I spent a few days spamming a friends inbox with various pictures. Why?
Because I was avoiding writing. Because it was easier to search the internet for good looking men than face the corner I’d written myself into (I hadn’t written myself into a corner at all, I was simply too afraid to write the next few scenes). I used the distractions as an excuse to dodge something I was finding difficult and this is when it becomes a problem.
Recognising the self-sabotage I gave myself an allotted amount of time where I could take a step back and breathe. I allowed myself time away from the work but I started to use my time a little more wisely. I swapped silly gifs and gorgeous men for reading.
After a couple of days I pushed through my self-imposed block and finished up the book but I would have competed months earlier had I just sat and wrote.
But this is life. I’m not paid to write nor do I have to work to deadlines. This is a hobby therefore I can occasionally let distractions get in the way. Yes I would have finished my book weeks before I did had I not messed around, but so what?
I’m writing because I love it. At times it’s hard and I need a break but isn’t that the same with everything? I love my job but I still look forward to my holidays. I live for my kids but when they have a night at Grandma’s it’s amazing.
So how do you deal with the distractions?
In all seriousness I found Nanowrimo helped. The word sprints in particular. I was able to complete the fifty-thousand word challenge in what was one of my busiest months because I had focus. I had a goal to aim towards. I doubt I could keep that up long term but I took away some very helpful strategies from the experience.
Now when I feel I haven’t progressed as much as I should, I set myself a target for the day/week. Sometimes it’s as small as completing the chapter I’m working on words and that’s just fine. As long as it moves me forward I consider it a success. Sometimes my goal is to edit three chapters before the end of the month.
But again, I am not a paid author, I don’t have deadlines so I tend not to worry too much. Okay, last month I wrote twenty-thousand and this month I’ve struggled to make two-thousand, what does it matter? I’m reading, I’m writing and I’m living.
And there’s the point of this post. Distractions are not always the work of the devil. Some have given me some wicked plot bunnies (thank you Lady Gaga) and some have taken my mind off things for a while. Life really is for living – be that writing three chapters a day or messing around with gifs of cute animals – whatever your choice, as long as you are enjoying what you’re doing then I say go for it.
Of course, this is just my opinion and I’m not talking about people trying to make a living from their writing. I’m talking about people, like myself, who write for enjoyment. Maybe I would have written seven books in the last year without distractions, but I would have missed out on so many other life enriching things. Like this man and his band:
(Credit to bastillean )
So no, I don’t think distractions are always a bad thing, just try not to let them stand in your way.