Friday, November 15, 2013

How committed to writing are you?

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With the ubiquitous social media tempting us 24/7, it is difficult for part-time writers to sit down and commit to one hour of quality writing.
NOTE: When I say part-time writers, I mean those of us who have a full-time job outside the writing industry and only write on our spare time.
I read an article that talked about the different distractions we face. These are some of the examples below.
Distractions can range from total attention-grabbing tasks to minor distractions:

  • Immersive: You completely divorce yourself from your original task to dedicate all of your attention to the distraction. Examples include incoming phone calls and face-to-face conversations.
  • Dominant: You allow the distraction to occupy your mind; the original task slowly develops back into your mind. Examples include web browsing or grabbing a cup of coffee.
  • Distraction: Your attention is drawn away from your original task; once you return to the original task, you proceed more slowly and less accurately. Examples include ongoing text conversations and hunger.
  • Background: Your attention is slightly diverted from your original task, which reduces your speed and accuracy. Examples include overhearing conversations or the television is on.
The author of the article also offered some solutions to this problem.

  • Establish Goals: Writing daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly goals can help you stay on top of your efforts. How many articles do you want to write per week? Write it down.
  • List Tasks: Write down all of the things you need to do to achieve your goals in addition to daily maintenance tasks such as checking emails, following up with clients, etc.
  • Prioritize Tasks: Determine how important each task is by measuring its value against your goals and its importance to anyone else involved.
  • Budget Time: Create a time budget by slotting time each day for your tasks, such as writing, brainstorming, checking email, business calls, making dinner, and other activities.
  • Plan Long-Term: Brainstorm topics relevant to your audience ahead of time by establishing an annual editorial calendar.
  • Execute the Plan: Your plan is only effective if you use it. Tweak your plan as needed and increase efficiency by using methods like time-boxing to squeeze more value out of your time.
A word to the wise: be honest with yourself. The author also adds that you can’t completely separate yourself from these pesky distractions but you can be proactive about them.
Not all distractions can be easily dismissed, nor are they all bad! Consider whether the distraction is worthwhile by measuring its importance based on its value to you, significance to others, and urgency.