Put Away Those Distractions by Grace
It’s no secret: we are in a world filled with millions of things to do. We can visit and explore national parks and nature, travel the world, watch a new TV show, listen to the radio, volunteer, read, write, think, question, debate, discuss and learn. But often (and I am guilty of this), we are content with just sitting inside, scrolling through images and posts on our phones, watching YouTube videos, texting funny emojis to our friends, or listening to music. Doing things can be hard, especially when it comes to creating. It requires some amount of effort, which is enough of a deterrent to keep /me/ inside because I have the option of distracting myself. We know that we should be out doing something, out experiencing life and exploring, but instead we let other media distract us. As a writer, we must possess some sort of understanding to draw from. This can include experiences, places we’ve visited, relationships we’ve been in, events we’ve been a part of. When we let things distract us, we are robbed of these opportunities, robbed of this fuel and substance to create content and inspire others.
We are also robbed of time. Don’t let hours of YouTube videos, TV show episodes, Instagram or Pinterest deprive you of your creative time. We always like to say, “I can never find the time,” when looking at all of the writing we want to accomplish. I once watched a video about NaNo that said we will never find time. It’s not just something we might somehow “stumble upon” and say “Oh look, I’ve found time.” (There may be certain periods of free time, but what might it consist of? More distractions, if we allow it). Time is ultimately something we have to make ourselves. It’s difficult to overcome the urge to fall back into watching entertaining things. But we should be making more time for the creative side of us, too.
Put away those distractions for maybe an hour a day, or any amount time you can make. Go outside and experience nature, meet people, explore or try new things. Not only does this build character, but it broadens our imagination, our knowledge, and our understanding. These are incredibly critical tools we use as writers, and when we put away distractions, we are free to shape them as we wish. Put away your distractions to actually write, too! Design an environment that can prevent you from wandering to entertaining websites. Maybe silence your phone and place it out of reach. You could even work away from electronics altogether. Calculate the amount of time you write before you get distracted. Definitely give yourself breaks, but not too many! Another way to tackle distractions is to set goals. How many words of your novel do you want to write today? How many pages do you need to edit? What kind of research do you need to accomplish today? Identify those little things and make them goals you need to reach at a certain period. Give yourself a reward if you succeed, and hold yourself accountable if you fail.
Productivity can be an enemy when we give in easily to procrastination. But each little effort we make to diminish how much we let ourselves become distracted will ultimately lead to a more productive lifestyle, and our writing will improve, too.
These things can be easier said than done, but don’t give up! What do you do to avoid distractions? Is there any advice you have about being productive?