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The 6 Secrets of Avoiding Distractions So You Can Write

distractionsDistractions are a freelance writer’s nemesis. It requires discipline, some tricks and some determination  to avoid all the distractions that can occur in a day to take us away from our writing.

These six tips will help.

Shut the door

Unless you live alone, having a door you can shut on roommates and/or family members will solve many distraction problems. While a  real door will block sound, even a closed curtain will act as a signal to others in the household that you’re not to be disturbed.

Establish office hours

You can train family and friends to leave you alone more easily if your writing time is predictable. Maybe you can work during typical office hours, from 9 am to 5 pm with a 30 minute break for lunch. More likely your time will be more variable. I’m generally at the computer no later than 7 am. I write until about 11 am if I’m writing straight through. I usually spend at least an hour a day on admin and marketing. At one point I worked 5 am to 8:30 and went off to a job. Some like to write at night. Whatever the hours are, post them or let people know. We writers spend enough time looking out the window that non-writers think we aren’t working when we are.

Write somewhere else

If you’re always interrupted or distracted at home, write somewhere else. Even with a baby, you may be able to haul her to the coffee shop or library and get an hour of writing in.

Turn off your phones

Phones are a terrible distraction – both cell and landlines. Fortunately they can be turned off. There really are very few times in life when you have to be literally on call. Having a loved one who is sick may be an exception. If you’re worried about missing a client, put your office hours on your phone. Just because in theory you can be available around the clock doesn’t mean you should be.

Turn off all social media notifications

I just burned 15 minutes checking out a Facebook notification and trying to get rid of the chat window that’s blocking what I want to read. I gave it up as a bad job. Obviously I don’t want those kinds of distractions when I’m writing.


When I bookend a writing project, it helps keep me on track. I think it’s because I’ve made myself accountable to someone else about a time commitment. I want to be able to close that bookend by reporting I did what I said I would.

Avoiding distractions is up to you

A truth is you can avoid, even eliminate most of the distractions in your life. It’s your choice when it comes right down to it. Oh sure, if you’ve got kids at home or a roommate who keeps different hours than you do, it will be more difficult to create a distraction free writing time. You may have to limit your writing time pretty severely to get the peace and quiet you want. That’s okay. You’ll get more done in 10 minutes distraction free than hours of being constantly interrupted. Notice what distracts you – keep a distraction log for a week. Take a hard look at it and I’ll bet you can reduce your distractions by at least half, probably more.

What distracts you from your writing? 

If you’d like notice of when the video class, Getting Your Book Written with Vision and Spirit is available, sign up here and you’ll be among the first to know… and you’ll get a special price!

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman, freelance writer

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Hi, very good article, thanks for sharing. keep rolling the ball.

  • Thanks for this nice share..really informative…

  • Thanks alot Anne for these tips. I’ve actually taken a hiatus from Instagram and Facebook (disabled the latter) and i’ve noticed that in the three months I haven’t had access to them, i’ve been able to work much more efficiently and effectively!

    • Barry, Facebook drives me crazy or it did until I had it filtered into it’s own folder in my inbox – now I decide when to look at it… I’ve got family there so I don’t want to totally disconnect… plus a bunch of other folks… and on my terms it works pretty well for me.

  • What distracts me from my writing? Today it was reading lots of good blog posts about writing. Including yours, of course.

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