|Photo "Asian Woman Thinking" by Just2photos courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
I recently seem to have read numerous posts / tweets / blogs that dwell on the distractions of social media from the business - serious or otherwise - of writing. Not that social media is any more distracting than anything else when it comes to finding things to do other than sit at the keyboard and write that next chapter, or article or revise those poems. It never ceases to amaze me with what enthusiasm I face the washing up or a pile of laundry during those precious hours that I am supposed to be writing instead. I think this is called "displacement" and it appears to afflict lots of freelancers and people working from home, whether or not they are writers. When you go into the office or your place of work, you have no choice but to work. At home, even if you have a room that you use as an office, somehow, bed-making, hanging out the washing and hoovering all seem to suddenly demand that phrase: "I'll just do this first".
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This is where browsing on social media comes in as a fatal distraction. After all, you are sitting at your pc or laptop. To all intents and purposes you are "at work". You probably have even opened up those files that you were intending to work on and maybe cast a glance at your notes. And then those words: "I'll just check my Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn." Fatal.
|So... if distracted, turn off those cables! Photo "Old Typewriter" by Just2shutter courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhoto.net|
Writers, superhuman though we might try to be, fall into the same traps as anyone else. When we are faced with a challenge, especially if we are not sure how to tackle it, we find other things to do. I've seen this tactic many times in the workplace, where colleagues procrastinate over what might seem simple and in reality they do so because they are not sure what they are supposed to be doing. So how best to get over a case of Fatal Distraction? Here's a five-point plan that has often worked for me:
- Set goals - be clear on what you want to achieve during that particular writing session. If, like me, you have only short bursts of time at your disposal, you need to make best use of them. Setting small, achievable goals often works.
- Facebook Time - Set aside a pocket of time for social media which does not overlap with writing time, and slake that social media thirst.
- Turn off the internet - Yes, radical, but for that period when you want to really concentrate, pull the cable out of the wall! It works. Drives the rest of the family mad - but give them warning and see your writing grow.
- Walk, look, think - if you are really stuck, go for a walk, stop and look into thin air, go quiet, do nothing and just think. Don't allow your mind to wander onto anything else least of all communicating with anyone. Think it through. Those short busts of quiet thinking get you a long way.
- Plan ahead - Finish each writing session with a couple of bullet points on what you want to achieve next time and start again at the top of this list.
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