Create Journal

Where Do You Write the Most?

My wife Katie is an artist and educator, and I am a writer. We both work from home. Our one-bedroom apartment is comfortable, but small. This means that we don’t have dedicated work space. She’s taken over the living room, save for comfy chairs that face the TV. Consequently, that’s her studio. I’ve taken over the kitchen, with the exception of the practical cooking facilities. Therefore, that’s my office, where I write the most.

There was a time when a good bulk of my writing was done in coffee shops and libraries. That’s just not reasonable. Between the time it takes to pack everything up, walk or ride the bus, and get set up in a new location, it eats into my productivity. For a lot of the year it also means risking a fall on the ice and breaking something important (me, or worse, my laptop).

Staying home and having a routine is the most efficient thing. It isn’t exciting. It isn’t glamourous. The coffee is good, though, and cheap, and plentiful. I’m able to control distractions, something I can’t do in a public space. There’s no need to worry about my stuff if I have to get up to grab a refill or go to the toilet. Boring is good. It’s stress-free. I’ll take it.

Where Do You Write the Most?

Okay reader, where do you find yourself writing the most? You don’t have to be a participant in The Merry Writer game to play along here!

The Merry Writer is a writer’s game on Twitter run by Ari Meghlen (@arimeghlen) and Rachel Poli (@RPoli3). Each day there’s a new question, and each month there’s a new theme. In these posts I expand upon the answers that I’ve posted on my Twitter.


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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