What Distracts from Writing?

Here’s the second post (from Leo Babauta) in the Reverb10 challenge I’m participating in this month: what do you do each day that gets in the way of your writing, and can you eliminate the distraction(s)?

Truth be told, quite a bit. More than I’d prefer, and certainly more than I’d like to admit. If I am brutally honest, I will cop to spending too much time doing ‘research’ on the internet. I am checking writing sites that I find useful and motivating, and I am actually doing research. But I’m also checking e-mail and FB and news. It’s easy to get off on a tangent, almost like Alice going down the rabbit hole in Wonderland. Next thing you know, an hour has passed and not a word has been written.

Am I able to eliminate such distractions? Absolutely, and I’m slowly making headway. Day by day I’m learning more about my writing: what I want to write, what I like to write, what I need to write. I’ve found that for me, three things are true.

First, writing begets writing. When I start to write, I tend to get ‘in the zone’ and I write. And generally I like the results.

Second, I keep in mind Lisa Friedman’s point in this great article, The 26 Habits of Highly Effective Writers. Distinguish writing from the pursuit of writing. In other words, don’t confuse talking about writing with the act of actually writing. Stop wasting time and energy trying to ‘be’ a writer. Just write.

Finally, I’m finding that if I focus on writing and have a good day in which I’ve written a lot, I am more eager to start again the next day. I don’t procrastinate as much or get distracted as easily, and I tend to start writing earlier. It’s a bit like exercising a muscle. It gets easier with use.

These are my writing truths, and I need to respect them.


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