I don’t know about you, but I can be very easily distracted from the task at hand, particularly when it comes to a writing session. I see all kinds of things floating around on my desk (yes, they do actually float if you stare at them long enough) and my mind is wandering off to join them. Hey! Come on, Mind, back to work.
But the worst distraction is the internet.
I can never resist the little blip that sounds every time I get an email or someone comments on my Facebook status. And if I give in to the temptation to read said email or comment, I’m done for, because that usually leads to some Google “research” or other such web surfing. I might as well pronounce the death sentence on that day’s writing attempt.
So here’s what I’ve concluded: I do not need to answer every email within the first five seconds of its delivery – not even the first five minutes. I do not need to check CBC or Fox News or CNN or the Weather Network online every hour. I think the world will be just fine without me if I read the news less often. My Facebook buddies will be okay if I don’t read their status updates or comment on their pictures or play my turn in Words with Friends immediately. And really, do my fellow bloggers even know the exact moment I read their latest posts?
I read a very cool little book this week called Steal Like An Artist – 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, by Austin Kleon. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to make sense of the creative process . . . if there is any sense to be made.
One of the things the author suggests is to have a workspace that is completely analog. In other words, no electronics. For us writers, this means real paper, actual pens and pencils, maybe an eraser, sticky notes, etc. No computer. And in case you’re trying to get technical, netbooks and tablets and smart phones are computers. Working in a non-digital environment will actually help you get your creativity moving along. Trust me. I know this works. Except in my case I have to actually leave the house because every desk in our home has at least two computers on it. Really.
I’m striving to reduce distractions. I’ve made a deadline for myself to finish one novel. And it’s pretty aggressive. So, dear family, please understand and support me in this. Wonderful friends, don’t get ticked off at me when I don’t respond to your messages right away.
Now I have to go before I get distracted.