Let’s talk turkey, er, uh, chicken. It’s inevitable, we are all distractable. For some, self-included, it is easier than others to be distracted. As a creative, I am very easily distracted by cool new ideas or projects. I take up a lot of hobbies. Some people are amazed that I know how to do many (especially crafty) things. Did I mention I love crafting? Oh, well I do. I love it enough to have made it my career for a long time. I digress. This post is about accepting one’s ease of distraction and to root out why. Then understand that we are good at justifying our distractions especially those that make it look like we are working on our WiP. We are so good at it, aren’t we?
I recently hit a bit of a wall in my novel. Not that I’ve stopped, but I have found a few things that need to be fixed and that means a bit of a re-write on some stuff that I like. The thing about being a writer is you need to always put your reader first. To do that, it means sometimes you need to scratch some of the stuff you love and write for them. This is where the WiP distraction problem for me starts.
I have discovered that distractions are a great way to keep me from facing the gut-wrenching task of cutting scenes and building new ones. Reweaving sound like fun, it’s almost like writing a new story, alas it is discouraging. I have found all kinds of ways to pretend to be productive. Recently, it has been with index cards. It looks like I am working on the novel, but in reality, that is just a distraction from actually doing the work.
As a writer, some things we need to look out for in looking busy work writing include:
- Outlining a new story while the one you should be working on isn’t finished. Don’t give up on you! Push through and get that story written! Outline the next one AFTER you have put some words on the page for your WiP
- A character study/ other forms that seem cool – Oh, boy this is something you need to have done throughout your first draft. You know your character, filling out forms won’t make your character better, only WRITING them will do that! While the forms out there are helpful they can suck your time just as much as social media
- Writing a blog post – Sometimes it’s okay to miss a day on your blog. If you’ve not written on your book/story/poem then really? Unless you are a blogger (like that is your writing gig) you need to stop using this to avoid your writing
- Research – Yeah, it’s important, but if you do it instead of writing you are wasting your time.
- Scanning online writer’s groups. – Yeah, these are easy to get lost in and after all, you are doing something “writing” related, but if you have not had BICFOK (butt in chair fingers on keyboard) for the day you need to be doing that first.
- Beta Reading/critiquing other’s work. While a worthwhile and super nice thing to do, you need to remember you need to have written that day before you do these things. It’s super nice and totally appreciated, but YOU can’t edit or have someone else edit/critique/beta read a BLANK page
This kind of distraction is just as dangerous as social media, watching TV, checking emails, you get the idea all the non-writing things we do. Friends, even if you only get fifty words on a page for a day, that is writing then you can do all these writing-related distractions, but first and foremost, you MUST write!