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.


  1. This is a very pertinent post Claudia - seems I fall victim to practically all of them! Seriously. Especially since moving house and relocating temporarily with the in-laws, my 'mojo' seems to have deserted me completely.

    I think, to be successful to any degree as a writer, you, the individual, must be your own taskmaster and crack the proverbial whip with extreme prejudice if you want to get anywhere with writing.

    The type of people for whom I both envy and loathe in equal measures are those who have written their first book AND get it published and say when interviewed, "Well, I wanted to see if I could write a book, so I did it in ten days." Grrr...

    1. Hi Mark,
      Don't worry, you're not the only! I, too, have neglected writing for a long time (due to certain circumstances). I sometimes wonder if a true writer would do the impossible to continue writing despite obstacles. :'(

  2. I am subject to all these distractions, though sometimes they are just what you need. A tricky paragraph ahead - pop into the kitchen and wash a plate or two. When you come back you see at once a flaw or two in the previous paragraph and somehow, magically, that second paragraph writes itself. I even find it works with Facebook. The distraction tempts precisely when you feel stale. The trick is to return promptly. A tight rope walk, a high wire trick :)

    1. Hi Mike,
      Guilty of all of the above! :(
      However, I use such distractions to clear my mind off. There are days that I deal with so much stress that I just want to do silly things and NOT think any more. ;)

  3. Hi lovely Claudia!! I know in my heart that I must be pro-active, organised, focused and sensible with time management, planning and having set goals and a disciplined itinerary if the writing is to survive. At the moment I am finding it very difficult to find my writerly mojo really! The brain is willing, the soul is failing. Yikes! I guess for me overcoming this dirge is my first hurdle! Second are managing these pesky distractions... LOL! Take care

    1. Hello there, sweet Jennifer!
      I absolutely love your quote, "The brain is willing, the soul is failing." That is me at the moment, and I hate to admit it, but I'm enjoying these pesky distractions. LOL!!!!