If you’ve finally managed to carve out a chunk of time to sit down at your computer and write, you don’t want your writing time to be full of interruptions and writer’s block.
When I sit down to write, I expect to just write, not get distracted by a thousand different things. With that in mind, here are three ways to be prepared so you’re not getting up every few minutes for something.
1. Turn off all distractions
Distractions may vary depending on the kind of person you are, but most writers get distracted by:
- Facebook, e-mail, Twitter, etc.
- Cell phones
- Something on TV
- Their kids (or parents/little brother, if you’re me!)
Turn off your cell phone (and put it far away from you so you’re not tempted to turn it back on!); turn off your WiFi (there are plenty of free programs online that do this for you) or have somebody else in the house change the password so you can’t get back on until you’re done writing; and turn off the TV and have somebody hide the remote.
2. Have your writing supplies ready
There’s no set list of writing supplies that every writer needs by their side, but my list includes:
- iPod and headphones
- Snacks/hot chocolate
- Folders of story notes
Make sure everything you may need during your writing session is within arm’s reach. Getting up to retrieve a sharpened pencil can be what causes you to forget a genius line or plot twist.
3. Lock yourself in your room
As mentioned in the first tip, the biggest distractions can be the people living in the same house as you. For me, it’s my parents and little brother (mostly my little brother).
Since I can’t drive myself to the coffee shop or someplace else that’s distraction-free, I have to settle for taking my laptop up to my room and hanging up a sign that says, “Shh! Kate’s writing! Interrupt and suffer the consequences!”
(And as a writer, your consequences can vary from turning them into the villain, dropping them in your own version of the Hunger Games, or simply killing them off in your book. Not that I’ve ever done this, but they know it’s a possibility.)
Find a place where you can write with minimal distractions and make it very clear to your family that you’re not to be interrupted while you’re writing. It works for me (most of the time).
How about you? How do you make the most of your writing time?
Use the tips from this post and write for fifteen minutes about a writer trying to edit her novel while taking care of twin girls.
Do you find that your writing improves now that most of your distractions have been eliminated? Post your practice in the comments section. Be sure to give your fellow writers some feedback, too!