A lot of writing blogs mention something about distraction-free writing. Now, unless you live somewhere in Nebraska (Monowi, perhaps?), or completely off of the grid in some survivalist cabin, doing anything without distraction is close to impossible. However, lessening the distractions is a little easier to do. Here’s how I try and do this.
1. Use a writing program that you’re familiar with.
Some say that using distraction-free writing programs are the way to go. But, let’s be honest, aside from a pen and pencil, how many of you know how to use any of these distraction-free software bundles? I’ve tried a couple, and spent a good chunk of time just trying to figure the damn thing out! So I say, use a program that’s comfortable, and that you’re familiar with. Of course, I do use a pen and pencil from time to time, but if I make a mistake I can’t just cross it out. I have to rip the paper from my notebook and start fresh, only without any mistakes. It can be, well, distracting. I stick to Scrivener, or sometimes a basic text editor, but it’s something that I understand the ins and outs of.
2. Take breaks… unless you’re on a roll.
This is crucial. All of the blogs say that you should schedule your writing time and take breaks and what have you, but sometimes you’re in the middle of a brilliant thought and BING! it’s break time. I don’t know anyone in their right mind who would want to stop when they were on a roll like that, including myself. I would rather tire myself out than take a break in the middle of a really good thought. So plan for breaks, but make them flexible. You never know when inspiration will strike.
3. Don’t write on an empty stomach.
Yeah, this one I agree with. In fact, I’m writing this entry on an empty stomach right now and all I can focus on is the grumbling in the pit of my stomach. Go ahead, my little pretty. Eat yourself until I get the chance to fill you with goodies.
4. Listen to music you like, but something without lyrics is preferable.
I have Chill Out Radio queued up on my Pandora pretty much constantly, and every time I’m looking for “distraction-free” writing, this is what I listen to. Sometimes you don’t want to listen to anything while you’re writing, and that’s okay. But sometimes, home is not where the muses are.
5. A comfortable space is where it’s at!
A good sturdy chair, preferably with a cushion on the butt, and a desk/table that’s large enough to spread everything out across so that I’m not constantly reaching across the computer for a notebook, or my coffee. This is what I prefer. Of course, I don’t have this at home, so I’m constantly searching for a truly comfortable place to write. There is no perfect writing nook, I’ve come to find out. On one day I can say THIS PLACE IS BRILLIANT I WILL WRITE HERE FROM NOW ON! only to be thwarted the next day when I try to go back. So the perfect writing nook varies with help from several factors, both inside and out. What you need to do is find the idea of a perfect writing nook. What you’re looking for when you’re trying to write. That way, you’ll know that you’re on the right track when you find it.
I found this at The Writer’s Circle, and wanted to give them the credit for helping me to write down a list of my own suggestions to writing as a whole. I’m going to borrow from them, but also add to it myself, so I’m going to say in the interest of full disclosure that this entry is written by both myself and the staff at The Writer’s Circle.