Every time you sit down to write, inevitably you end up saying, “If only no one were around!”
Distractions from emails to “Can I have a cookie?” and from phone calls to “Honey, could you help me with this?” always seems to keep you from spending your writing time actually writing.
Well, no more. If you ever plan to get better as a writer let alone finish that novel, you’ll need to make your writing time inviolable.
Fortunately, there are a lot of steps you can take to avoid writing time interruptions.
Set your boundaries
Politely make clear to those who interrupt you that you need to focus on your writing for x minutes each day and that you would appreciate their support. To emphasize your boundary, you may want to close the door if possible and even hang a “DO NOT DISTURB” sign if necessary.
Politely enforce your boundaries
Inevitably, some people will test your “no interruption” rule. Politely but assertively remind them that this is your writing time and that you will take care of what they need when the session is over. With young children, you may need to offer positive reinforcement, such as gold stars or stickers for each time you are not interrupted.
Get rid of the distractors
Sometimes the problem isn’t others but our own self-discipline. We allow ourselves to be distracted. To avoid that problem, turn off the Internet, turn off the cell phone, turn off the television, even turn off the radio. The only thing you should focus on is your notepad or computer screen as you write.
Noise from outside – the kids playing in the backyard as they honor your boundary, the neighbor mowing lawn, the tomcat yowling from the alley, the traffic on the highway in the distance – all can drive you nuts when you’re trying to focus on being creative. The solution is simple: wear headphones…with no music coming through them, by the way.
Work away from home
Lastly, if you’re constantly interrupted at home by the teen kids and pesky (but well-intentioned) spouse, find a new place to write. A library is quiet, a coffee shop has great atmosphere, a bench at a city park offers great views. Just ensure your drive there doesn’t cut into your writing time.
My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.