Distractions

B.J. Baye Blog Posts 2 Comments

One of the things I have the most difficulty with in my writing is distractions. For years, I have been constantly multitasking. For example, I might be chatting with someone in one window, writing a forum post in another, browsing a website I like in yet another, and often watching TV at the same time. So, when it comes time for me to sit down and write, I often write just a few words and my brain wants to go on to do something else.

Lately, I’ve fallen victim to distraction a lot. As a result, I haven’t made nearly the progress on my current story as I’d like. I was hoping to at least be a good deal into the story by now, but I’ve barely scratched the surface.

However, today I tried something new. Normally when I wake up, I go see if my friends are online, chat a bit, maybe watch a movie on Netflix, and eventually hours later start working on my writing. The problem with that approach is, I tend to get involved in things and not get around to actually working on my writing. Today I changed my routine. When I first woke up, I limited myself to checking my email and reading the day’s articles on The Passive Voice. Then I shut down everything but Scivener, and sat in front of it for an hour, with just a 5-minute break a half-hour in. My mind still tried to wander, but I made my goal of 250 words.

My hope is to have the willpower to do this 5 days a week. Hopefully I’ll be able to increase the time dedicated and the words generated as I go, and get this story/novella done in a reasonable time.

In other news, Four Minutes is waiting for a response from AEscifi, the Canadian Science Fiction Review. Desperate Upload is also waiting, for Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine.

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Comments 2

  1. So funny – I do similar stuff, and the WPI progresses rather slowly. MY excuse? My brain doesn’t work. Not a very good excuse, and it really means my brain needs to be freed from distractions.
    I’m responding to pass on a tip you may not have: I write with a Mac (but I’m sure similar is true for PCs because I just passed the same tip on to a friend who will be teaching online courses). I use, based on a hint, a $10 program called Freedom. It turns off the access to the internet for as many minutes as I sign myself up for each time.
    I always have a backup plan: Freedom is defeated if I restart the computer (so if I really HAVE to…)
    But that little problem (takes a couple minutes to restart, get back where I was), and the fact that I can get around it if I need to, are just enough so that I don’t. I just don’t.
    I set Freedom for 90 minutes. Then I set my cellphone timer for 45 minutes. I write until the timer goes off – OR I do something like reading connected to my current writing problem – OR I write about the WIP – OR I write about not being able to write. Computer or notebook, the time is for writing. Then I take a short break when the timer goes off (snack, etc., but NOT internet or mail), set timer for 45 again, and by the time Freedom tells me I can exit or restart, I’ve done a solid bit of work.
    Easy access is what makes the internet so subversive.
    Many writers use separate computers.
    Let me know if this works for you – the human mind has endless ways of distracting itself, but it also has ways of using that same capability to get stuff done.

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