Write Now: Keep Any Distractions To A Bare Minimum

Have you ever been in a writing groove where you have written about 1,000 words during your session?

I mean you have turned a page (no pun intended) with your writing and your project is beginning to take shape.

And then you hear your phone.

It’s either a text message from one of your friends, an alert, or someone is calling you.

Whatever the situation, it may be a distraction.

Distractions are time and project killers.

Imagine if you reply to the text, look at the alert, or answer your phone. In all three of those scenarios you lost time — time in which you could have been using to write more or review what you had just written.

I have written about finding your writing space, and developing your writing routine. Both space and routine are done in tandem. There is no argument there, but distractions can divert your time from your space and routine.

You have your space, and you have your routine. Here’s a tip: don’t bring your phone to your writing space or if you absolutely need it, keep it on silent, and non-vibrating mode. That way, you can see an emergency text or voicemail. Your writing routine should be the same. Whatever time you commit to writing, you should honor your commitment. That means if you block out two hours to write, then write for those two hours. And try to block out the same two-hour period each day in your writing space. That way, your family and friends will know during that two-hour period, you will not answer the phone, unless it is an emergency.

If you were at your job, and someone called you, I don’t think you would be able to answer the phone or reply to a text. So why would you treat your writing routine any different?

The less distractions, the more productivity.

Author Stephen King comments on distractions in his book “On Writing: A Memoir of The Craft.”

“If possible, there should be no telephone in your writing room, certainly no TV or videogames for you to fool around with. If there’s a window, draw the curtains or pull down the shade unless it looks at a blank wall. For any writer, but for the beginning writer in particular, it’s wise to eliminate every possible distraction. If you continue to write, you will begin to filter out these distractions naturally, but at the start it’s best to try and take care of them before you write,” King wrote.

There isn’t really an age restriction or any discrimination. When a student is first learning how to write, he could benefit from not having any distractions during his writing period.

It seems that writers sometimes are marginalized. I say this because many people think that they can become writers. They can, but they have to work at it, and they think writing may not be work. Writing is hard work. And for writers who make writing look easy, they work hard to do so. Writing, just like reading, is a life skill that is needed to communicate with others.

Writers are like any other artists — they are constantly honing their craft.

King also suggests that a writer close his door to his writing room. “The door closes the rest of the world out; it also serves to close you in and keep you focused on the job at hand.”

There is one exception to writing with no distractions: being a journalist. I will revisit that at another time.

Excuse me while I answer my phone, I mean shut my door.