“Writing is a lonely job.”
Such words have been spoken by no less than the likes of Stephen King and Asimov.
For a writer, there is nothing more frustrating than being interrupted while you are in your writing zone. While distractions are a normal, albeit challenging, part of the writer lifestyle, there are ways to thankfully keep them minimal and get a few coveted hours of writing peace.
Do your research first.
It happens all the time. With information at our fingertips, it is very tempting to click on that browser to check something and before you know it, you have wasted three hours trawling through websites on worldbuilding, notetaking, and how to make brownies in a mug.
Eliminate this problem by doing your research first then having that information on hand in a single document or better yet, on actual paper. Don’t forget to organize everything so you don’t waste precious time sorting through all your notes.
Prepare your writing place.
Know where you are going to spend your designated writing time and make it comfortable — but not too comfortable! You don’t want to find yourself dozing off while you’re supposed to be writing.
Keep pens, paper, and other materials on hand. A dictionary and thesaurus can be helpful when you’re at a loss for words, too. If you like having a cup of coffee or tea while you’re in the zone, prepare it before you settle into your seat and get writing.
No kidding. You have to be mentally prepared for what you are about to do. If you keep waiting for that perfect moment when all the stars, planets, and conditions align then you will never get yourself to tackle your word count goals.
You have to be more proactive in your preparations.
Set a specific time when you are most comfortable writing and mentally condition yourself for that time. The stars and planets will never align by themselves so you have to do it yourself.
Turn off your Internet.
How many times have you planned and prepared for everything only to find yourself scrolling through your Facebook feed several hours later?
Social media has helped so many writers find a community; a tribe that can not only help you grow as a writer and an artist but also enable you to get your work out there and reach more people. However, social media can also be a trap and an all-around productivity leech.
No matter how tempting it is to stay connected 24/7, do your writing a favor and disconnect for a few hours each day.
Turn off gadgets and notifications.
Ping! Your tomatoes are ready for harvest!
Your cupcakes are done baking!
There is a two-day sale in your favorite store!
These are all common distractions brought to you by your friendly smartphone who will gladly update you of all these useless information you do not need while you are writing the next bestseller.
We all know how hard it is to get in the zone. All it takes is one tiny ping and it all splinters apart so it might be wise to break up with your phone for a while.
Personally, I keep all notifications on my phone turned off most of the time but most especially when I am writing. The only thing my phone is allowed to do during writing hours is take calls, set alarms for when writing time is over, and softly mimic the sound of rain because I do so love the sound of rain.
Let people know beforehand that you do not want to be disturbed.
My husband knows that when I get on my computer, I am not to be disturbed unless the house is on fire or there is some sort of medical emergency I must attend to. My seven-year old daughter takes a bit more reminding but we have settled on several alternatives where she can amuse herself while I am working.
My mother, on the other hand, is an entirely different story.
Nonetheless, we have all settled into a nonverbal agreement that there are certain times of the day that I must dedicate to writing. I suppose that an overall improvement in my disposition when I am allowed these hours to myself have been a great incentive.
So, unless you live alone or in virtual seclusion, let the other people in your life know when you are not to be disturbed. This will enable your thoughts to flow smoother from your mind onto paper or your computer.
Wake up early.
Studies have shown that the prefrontal cortex of the brain — the creativity center — is more active during and immediately after sleeping. This translates to a boost of fresh ideas upon waking up.
Mornings are also the perfect time since distractions are kept at a minimum in the early hours with the world mostly asleep or just beginning to stir. Take advantage of the quiet stillness and write or journal before you begin your day.
No matter what you do, something is bound to come up that will disrupt your writing flow. What you can do is be more proactive in protecting the sanctity of your writing time by at least minimizing the distractions that you can control.
Do you have other tips on how to minimize distractions while writing? Let me know in the comments below!