Last Thursday I started to write a book of essays about some of my experiences. I wrote about 300 words and liked what was happening.
I let life interfere from Friday to Monday without writing another word and started to go a bit nuts. When I talked with a trusted friend about how I was feeling agitated, forgetful and afraid, my friend asked me to look at what was going on.
After a few false starts I told her about the essay book and when I committed to put an hour on my calendar M-F felt a tremendous sense of relief and excitement.
Monday and Tuesday’s writing went well. Monday was a full hour; yesterday was about 45 minutes but I’d come to a really good stopping place and new what I was going to write next.
Today I’ve started three times and have managed to write 40 words!
First I distracted myself. I referred to a boat I’d sailed on and wondered if I could find out what kind of wood it was built out of. That led to several google searches all of which failed to reveal the wood but led me to lots of sites about boats. I love boats so it wasn’t long before I’d eaten up a good 25 minutes of my supposed hour, maybe five minutes of which I could claim as legitimate research.
I’d just pulled myself away from all those lovely websites and started to write when the phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and decided I wanted to take the call even though I knew it was a distraction. But I was honoring another commitment. Yes, it’s true, sometimes our commitments collide.
We got interrupted and she asked if she could call me right back. I agreed. In the two or three minutes I started this post.
For a variety of reasons Wednesday tends to be patchy in the mornings, my prime writing time. Part of that is because I go play with clay from 10:30 – 1. Since I do want to get this posted before I leave I decided to finish this rather than work on the book.
Now I’ve just realized I also need to generate a draft contract – that one didn’t go on my calendar, always a mistake. This was a totally avoidable distraction. If it had been on my to do list yesterday it would be done.
I can see there’s no way I’m going to spend an even semi-honest hour on the essay book this morning so I’m making a conscious decision to postpone the hour until this afternoon. I’ll do an hour on the book starting at 2.
Here’s how you can deal more productively with distractions than I did this morning:
- Distinguish between writing for clients and writing for yourself.
- Schedule time to write for clients and to do the writing you want to do.
- Schedule the time to start and the time to end.
- Turn off the phone when it’s time to write.
- Turn off the radio when it’s time to write.
- Bookend if you’re having any trouble at all.
- Realize life brings changes and be flexible without giving up.
What’s your favorite tip for dealing with distractions?