Dealing with Distractions While Writing

There’s only one way to put this. The key dealing with distractions while writing is to love what you’re doing. No matter how much discipline you have, your mind will wander. If you aren’t engaged with what you’re writing you can get rid of noise, toys, and other joys and your mind will wander. It’s not those external forces that are to blame. For me, it’s my own bored brain. I need to find ways to make the work interesting. After that, it’s the carrot and the stick.

I know from years in corporate management that you can’t motivate people to do something they don’t want to do. You can incentivize certain behaviors, though. Deadlines with stakes work for me. If I don’t write, I don’t get paid. Using the appealing distractions as rewards works, too. It’s the old “if you ear your broccoli you can have ice cream” ploy.

Certain types of distractions can be justified. There’s a need to take a break periodically in order to process. You need to let what you’ve just written sit for a bit, and think about what comes next. That’s reasonably, as long as the break is truly helping the cause. If it isn’t allowing my to rest and reflect, it’s not helpful. Allowing the break to go on longer than necessary is just distraction with an excuse attached.

Dealing with Distractions While Writing

I try to replace unproductive distractions with a useful tasks. Instead of playing a game or surfing the internet, I go into the bedroom and fold laundry. I read something related to research, or business development, or to inspire me. Sometimes I just write something else for a while, then switch back to the project I’m less enthused about. It’s about finding ways to keep moving forward.

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