I am the worst at taking my own advice.
Here I am trying to write a piece about writing through the distractions–and I’m distracted. A few fighting preschoolers and a baby who needs to nap, a load of laundry that needs to be put in the dryer, an appointment that needs to be changed, activities that need to be planned, books that need to be researched…
See what I mean?
We always have to-do lists, let’s be real. Even if you don’t write yours down or you’re REALLY good at not thinking about the things you need to get done, they’re there, lurking in the shadows of your brain.
And that’s just part of it.
Nowadays, there are more distractions than the things you need, or even want, to do. There’s Facebook and snapchat and Twitter and Instagram and, well, Google. The world is at your fingertips on your phone, computer, watch…you get it. There’s no escaping the distractions.
So how do we sit down and clear our mind to let words find form on pages so that we may follow through with our passion, our work, dare I say–our calling?
KNOW YOUR BEST TIME OF DAY
Don’t plan to write in the morning if you know you’ll be distracted by the to-dos, the planning, the emptiness of the day before you. Don’t plan to write at night if you know you’ll be too tired.
Plan to write (yes, plan) when you know you’re at your best. While creativity can strike at times we don’t expect, and in those cases we have to go with it, still have a time PLANNED in case other things cloud your day.
CLEAR YOUR MIND
Totally easier said than done. When that time you’ve planned finally comes, find a way to zone out. Whether it’s playing some music or baking before you write–do something to clear your mind and make way for those words. I usually make a list of what I still need to do and then bake while listening to classical music.
Yeah, I do it all, just to make sure I’m in the zone.
ACCEPT THE INEVITABLE
There’s no escaping the world. If you don’t turn off your phone, someone may call or text. If you have kids, one may bust in and throw off your groove. If you have roommates, they can be noisy or bug you. That’s just how it is. The important thing is to set aside that time, and if it gets interrupted, get back to it as quickly and the best as you can.
Writing is work. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. Writing, revising, editing—it’s a cycle that we must go through, but you get something at the end.
You get to say:
“I wrote a book.” And even better, someone else will get to read it someday. It’s a constant fight to get your words into the hands of your readers, but they will be so glad you did.