You’re in your writing “cave;” that room of your home that you’ve designated as the place where your creative juices are most likely to bubble up and overflow like a volcano. You’ve got the laptop ready, the resource books at hand, the key websites pulled up, your favorite beverage within arm’s reach, a bag of your favorite snacks, and you’re ready to go. Type, type, type, think, think, type. Okay, you’re on a roll, when suddenly there’s a knock at the door. It’s your (fill in the blank: spouse, child, roommate) wanting to ask a simple question; it’ll be really quick s/he promises. So you allow the interruption, take care of it, and get back to work.
Wouldn’t you know it, as soon as you get on a roll again, your cell phone rings. Caller ID indicates that it’s your (fill in the blank: business partner, mother, doctor’s office). Should you answer it or let it go to voicemail? Now your stomach is growling, you’ve got to go to the bathroom, and you can’t think of that word; you know, that one word that always seems to elude you.
You get the picture. These are the distractions that every author experiences. But what do you do about it? Here are a few ways to control the inevitable distractions that threaten to destroy your timeline to get your book done:
Advise your family of your writing time. This is not the point at which you ask their permission to leave you alone for a few hours. This is the turning point when you tell them that you have a deadline that you WILL meet and that they MUST respect your writing time, which is on whatever day between whatever hours you say. Not only do they have to respect this, but so do you!
Turn off your phone. Unless you’re expecting an emergency call during your scheduled writing time, there is no reason to have your phone on ring or vibrate. Set it to silent for a few hours, and get busy writing!
Avoid email, text messages, and instant messages. Turn off the alerts for these inevitable, non-emergency distractions. They can all wait until your writing session is complete. After all, no one ever texts that they’re having a heart attack, or emails that they’ve fallen and they can’t get up!
Take care of your bio needs. We all get hungry and thirsty, feel the need to nap, and have to go to the bathroom from time to time. Do all of this stuff before you start writing. Grab a snack and a drink (preferably non-alcoholic, unless that helps your writing somehow), take a 20-minute power nap, and a potty break before writing, then get ‘er done!
Gimme a break! Okay, give yourself a break. Take a 5-minute break every so often during your writing sessions. Stand up, stretch, take some deep breaths. You know the routine. If possible, remain in your well-lighted, well-ventilated writing cave during your break. Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to wash the dishes or clean something instead of writing!
There are lots of other distraction busters that you could incorporate to help you stay on task with your book. What are some of yours?