Avoiding distractions when writing

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

And speaking of romantic distractions, do you have problems with distractions when writing? It is very hard in the busy modern world to avoid them. I have some personal tricks which help me… (but you may have to be strict with yourself!)

  1. Find something stimulating to distract the children (I know screen-time is always enticing, but you might feel less guilty if its something more productive. My kids love lego, puzzles and board games too. Or perhaps quality time with some of their family and friends.
  2. Give yourself permission to have time off ‘busy-jobs’, Preferably, find a quiet room where there are no demanding creatures or gadgets (that includes cats, dogs, mobile phones, clocks, washing machines, irons, etc…)
  3. If you are writing into your computer, shut down your email, social media, everything that is not related to your writing. And even if you have author pages etc, shut them too. Set aside a separate time for promotion and social media – now is writing time!
  4. NO computer games. Not even as light relief. You know they will take over your attention. Just don’t even go there. Spend your ‘down time’ doing some research/background instead. Think about your characters, look for pictures on the internet that help to illustrate the people and places you are writing about. If you are feeling stuck in your story, think about another part of the book. Or write some notes and develop the plot on a separate document. Sometimes I do a timeline if I’m trying to keep track of who does what when, especially when I have books that are interrelated/part of a series. That sort of job is good when you are not feeling very inspired.
  5. If you are really stuck on the book you wanted to work on, start another book. Think about other ideas. I usually have at least 5 books I am working on at any one time. Some are set in the French revolution, another in contemporary Greece, another in Australia. Go where your mood takes you!
  6. Once you do have some ideas that you want to write down, nurture the flow and do all you can to avoid stalling. I have a special trick that has always worked well for me that I will share with you soon…

I hope some of these ideas for avoiding distractions resonate with you. Not everything will be relevant perhaps… I would love to know what works for you!

5 tips for having a ‘good day’ of writing

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In my previous post I talked about counting words, and the pleasure of being able to track a ‘good day’ of writing. But how can we work towards having more ‘good days’?

Some of the things that work for me are:

  1. if possible, allocate yourself a chunk of time (sometimes I write through the night – desperate I know, but at least it’s quiet). Part of this one is about giving yourself permission to write. You deserve this time!
  2. become really at home with your characters and their motivations. Think about them when you’re on the train or in the bath or wherever. Get to know them, visualise them, test out things they might do and things they wouldn’t do.
  3. think of some interesting scenes/situations to write about. I often have my best ideas when I’m trying to sleep – hold onto them, write them down, or perhaps just go and type them straight in. I always have a document standing by for notes and ideas.
  4. try to avoid distractions! (this is a topic in itself, I will share some ideas about this in my next post)
  5. find ways to keep the flow going, including avoiding things that make your writing stall. (another biggie – I have a trick that works well for me that I will share soon)

Happy writing – I hope you have a ‘good day’ soon!