To me, distraction-free writing is my idea of heaven… and like heaven we have no certainty that it exists.
Okay, right now I’m more distracted than usual. I leave in two days for a week in Florida – and this happening was only confirmed last night.
Do you know how many things I have to get done, people I need to notify, and… well of course you do. You’d be in exactly the same position as I am, scrambling.
Yes, it’s a business trip and there’s a ton of business prep left to do as well.
My mind is elsewhere.
What prevents distraction-free writing?
Lots of things get in the way of writing.
In addition to prepping for my trip, I’m writing to the sound of jackhammers in the street. That’s been going on for days.
Two people are talking in the garden outside my window.
Soon I’ll need to check my email. And I’ll bet the phone rings before long.
My cat wants attention – a minor distraction compared to when I had young children at home.
There are sirens in the background and if I am still writing this afternoon, there will be helicopters flying from here to there.
Is presence a secret of writing success?
When I think about it, it seems life has always been full of distractions. The room to write, the quiet sign on the door, the writing late at night when it’s quiet are all ways of creating the focus, the attention we need to get a piece written.
Or maybe we meditate, which after awhile seems to make it easier to be present for our writing as well as many other things.
Being present for our writing is what I mean when I talk about focus. It doesn’t mean I don’t look out the window, or sip my tea, or pet the cat. It does mean that somehow I keep track of what I’m writing and when I step away a bit, I can come right back to it.
Some kinds of writing seem to require more focus or presence than others. The deeper into my own soul my writing comes from, the longer it takes to be sure I’m saying what I really mean.
Editing also takes presence
Much of what I say about distraction free writing is also true about editing. The focus for editing tastes a bit different to me than the act of getting a rough draft down, but in each, being present to my writing, the writing, is critical.
Getting free of all or even most distractions isn’t likely, at least on a regular basis. Bringing my awareness, my presence, my focus to my writing is what makes it possible almost no matter what the circumstances.
What’s your experience with distraction-free writing?
Write well and often,