Sometimes when we’re writing, we get—
What was I saying? Oh, right. We get distracted.
When we’re really involved in a story, sometimes we can ignore the distractions. During Week 1, we’re all gung ho about writing. By Week 2, maybe the excitement starts to wear off.
Usually we still love our stories, but we miss the rest of our lives. Our free time is suffering. We want to watch a movie, surf the Internet, call a friend, read a book, or just goof off and relax.
Make no mistake—writing hundreds of words every day is a job. You might enjoy it (hopefully!), but it’s still a job. You’re creating a work of art, and that’s no easy task. Which is why you must learn self-discipline.
At a normal job, you’d have a boss telling when to work. Maybe you’d punch the time clock and work 9 to 5. Then you’d go home and do something fun.
As a writer, home is your workplace (unless you happen to write somewhere else). When you’re done with work … you’re still AT WORK. How annoying. The computer is right there, taunting you to work overtime. If you’re not careful, you’ll get burnt out.
The opposite is also true—home is full of distractions. “Oh, I better make supper.” “I’ll just email Syd really quick.” “This desk is so dusty; I should clean it.” Or whatever. I don’t like to clean, but sometimes anything sounds better than struggling through a scene.
Like most writing issues, you have to find out what works for you. Here are five ideas to consider …
Five Ways to Keep Writing:
1. If possible, write in the same place at the same time everyday. Our biological clocks love schedules. If you write in your room from 7:00 to 10:00 every night, you’ll trick your brain into thinking it’s a mandatory habit. Your fingers will start twitching at 7:00.
2. Not a schedule-loving person? Try a change in scenery. Take your laptop to a coffee shop or library. Other people will be impressed if you’re typing nonstop.
3. Reward yourself. Watch TV … but only if you meet your goal. If you need a day off to go road trippin to Chicago, don’t feel guilty! Instead, add a couple hundred words to the other six days in the week. It will all balance out.
4. Figure out your best time of the day and use it for writing. Morning person, afternoon angel, or night owl? Take advantage of your brain’s ripeness.
5. Unplug the Internet; turn off the TV and phone; tell your family you need two hours without interruptions. Go into your writing bubble, and don’t come out until you meet your goal.
Even our best efforts fail sometimes. We all have bad days, when we’re too sick or tired or confused to write anything. Don’t feel disappointed—writing is hard enough without regretting the little setbacks. Take a day to recuperate (via sleep, medicine, deep breaths, yoga, etc). Then get back to writing the next day. *cue Annie music*
Speaking of distractions, I need to get ready for a road trip to Chicago! I want to hear word counts from the SUN participants! Keep writing—don’t give up! Good luck!!