Top 10 Ways to Overcome Writing Distractions

writingUnless you’re like me and have a hard time walking away from a binge of The Walking Dead or Bloodline on Netflix.

Last week I posted about six distractions, and this week I share ten ways on how to overcome them.

Of course, these ways of overcoming is all up to you, but I do most of them myself as well as finding ways to motivate myself, which is another blog post all by itself.

1. Turn off the TV and phone

Television and the phone are probably two of the biggest time drains when it comes to my own writing. As I mentioned Netflix above, some people will use that as a way to avoid writing. I love watching Netflix as I don’t have cable or satellite. This time of the year when there’s not many new shows on TV is the time when I find myself watching it more.

I use TV time as a reward after I have done my writing for the day. You can always reward yourself that way.

I don’t know about you, but I find myself messing on my phone longer than I planned. I don’t always have a laptop so I use my phone to access social media. I tell myself that I’ll look at Facebook for a few minutes, and a half hour later, I am finally done.

I have found putting my phone upside down so I can’t see the screen helps. I don’t like turning it off or turning down the sound in case someone is trying to reach me, like my son who isn’t always with me.

2. Do research first

When I need to do research for an article or a novel, I try to do it before I start writing. I tend to get sidetracked and start looking up other things or get off on a tangent from the research.

If I have the research done before I start writing, then I can jump right into the writing and not waste any time.

3. Turn off the Internet

On my older laptop, I had the ability to switch off the Wi-fi, but that is not the case with my new one. I can’t turn off the Internet at home because if my son is there he uses it.

The best way for me to avoid the Internet is to leave the house, like I have this week. So turning off the Internet doesn’t always work for me, but it might for you.

I have used an app in the past that blocked the Internet. The app, Stop Procrastinating, blocked access for any amount of time that I wanted.

4. Clear your desk

I don’t know how your desk looks, but mine isn’t exactly clear. However, for some reason, this doesn’t usually bother me.

I know for some people, though, this bothers them. The clutter distracts them from writing. I guess a clean desk gives you a clear mind. It doesn’t always matter that much to me, though.

5. Take breaks

On the days when writing comes easily to me, I find taking a break helps me refocus on the writing. I try to use the 10-minute break that I have learned through the 10 Minute Novelists group.

If I am home, I will write for a little while, like this blog post. Then I’ll take a 10-minute break and clean, play with my fur babies, or do something to get away from the computer for a few minutes.

This short break gives me a fresh look at whatever I’m writing. And it helps write even more.

6. Write by hand

Writing by hand seems horrible if you’re used to writing on a computer. However, I know some people don’t like to do this.

I actually wrote my marching band memoir all by hand as it was easier for me to do. I didn’t have a laptop yet so that was the only way I could write when I was away from home. I had down times while working in the schools so it was easy for me to write by hand during the day and type it up at home in the evenings while the kids watched TV or went to bed.

7. Go to a writing place

If you have a particular place you like to go to write, then do that. This week I have been getting into a routine of going to Starbucks in the mornings. I get so much more writing done when I am there.

Leaving also gives me time away from my three fur babies. I love them dearly, but at times they mess with each other. My younger dog wants to play ball so leaving gets me away from them bothering me.

I have a clear plan of what I will work on. And I almost always get done what I had planned to do.

8. Listen to music

Listening to music can be a great way to help you focus on your writing. This blocks the noises around you and helps you get those words on the computer or paper.

Whether I’m at home or at Starbucks, I almost always have music on. This helps me focus on the writing and not listen to people’s conversations.

I have always been a people watcher and listener. Sometimes I don’t mean to listen to their conversations, but they are pretty darn interesting. And it gives me ideas for conversations for my novels.

9. Write in the morning

Writing in the morning means that you can get the writing done and out of the way. You don’t have to worry about it the rest of the day. Nothing will stop you from writing when you don’t have the energy or are too busy.

I have never really considered myself a morning person. In fact, I would prefer to write in the afternoon and evening. But this week getting into the routine of Starbucks I have found I do get quite a bit of writing done in the morning.

When evening rolls around, I don’t feel like writing anymore. I am ready to unwind and relax with my son and fur babies.

10. Set a timer

I have only done this a few times as sprints with some of my writing friends or on my own. I usually do this kind of writing when I can’t get motivated or nothing will come to me.

Timed writing helps me get words on the page even if all they are is trash.

I have used a timer I googled online or even my phone’s timer. I know other people have used the Pomodoro technique. I haven’t tried this way, but I have heard good things about it.

I haven’t covered every way to cope with writing distractions, but I have covered many of the ones I use on a regular basis.

What do you do to keep those writing distractions away?

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