Nov 24 2009

NaNoWriMeet: dealing with distractions

Published by at 2:02 am under blwio,NaNoWriMeet,Writing

It’s amazing how many different distractions there are, when we’re setting challenging goals for ourselves. It’s hard to know which distractions are worth listening to and which are better ignored on the path to becoming a dedicated writer. What is a distraction that will sap your creative energy, and what is a diversion that your hindbrain needs to stimulate further creative processing? Figuring out the nuances of this question is part of the process that most beginning writers have to go through.

Major emergencies, immediate demands (of urgent nature) of children or spouses, biological functions, and other similar sorts of things are all fairly “legitimate” distractions, in that you’re likely going to best benefit by attending to the distraction as efficiently as possible and then just getting back to the writing. (However, longer-term it’s worth putting the work in with significant others and children to be aware of proper boundaries toward interrupting writing, and weighing what is worth interrupting for and what can wait until the end of the writing session. You definitely don’t want a situation to arise where loved ones start competing with your writing for your attention in unhealthy ways. Balance!)

Low energy or high pain days or something similar is a bit more of a gray area. Often writing is a low-impact enough activity physically that you can write a little even when under the weather. On the other hand, it’s easy to discount how much of a physical load mental activities really are. Your brain is burning serious calories during writing, and if you can’t sufficiently replace those spent calories through food, rest, and healthy-body functioning, then it might be better to take a day off. In the gray areas, give yourself permission to consider it case-by-case, and allow specifics of circumstance to affect your choice as much as you can with other pressures (such as deadlines).

That leaves the most likely distractions, the daily happenings around your home or on the internet. These are some of the most temptingly distracting areas, so pay attention to your habits, routines, and reactions. Instead of denying yourself entirely, consider scheduling some larking-about time along with your writing time. Believe it or not, sometimes that noodling around on a silly game for a few minutes is as much of a mental or creative recharge as a cat-nap or snack would be. However, make sure you know what you need to do to control yourself so that you don’t get so caught up in the distractions that you forget to go back to the writing. If you have to, set yourself a timer so that you know when to switch from writing time to gaming time to chore time and so on.

What are your worst distractions so far? How have you been coping with them, or have you?

Previous novel wordcount: 23,047
Today’s words: 1,317
This blog post: 481
Total daily words: 1,798

New novel wordcount: 24,364
Favorite bit: Namah schools Elliot, yeah!
Funniest flub: “adulterating his tea” probably not the best verb given context

Comments Off on NaNoWriMeet: dealing with distractions

Comments are closed at this time.