Let’s face it, there are way too many distractions interfering with your writing life. We’ve all been there, you’re clicking away like a madman when the phone rings or you click over to Google to check out a quick fact and the next you know an hour has passed and you’re on social media scrolling through dribble. And you have yet to check that fact out.
So, how can you write distraction free? The answer varies. Some writers need absolute silence while others prefer the background noise of a busy coffee shop. Many enjoy the stillness of early morning, a cup of coffee in a dimly lit room, then there are the ones who curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and work away creating the next great American novel as the moon and stars decorate the sky.
Regardless of your routine, these five steps will help quiet the distractions.
1) Be Proactive: Before you grab your laptop, make sure your writing area is ready and clutter free. Turn off your phone, make sure you have your preferred beverage (water, coffee, or wine), and gather any notes or documents you may need in a folder, organized and within reach.
2) Write in Full Screen Mode: Almost every writing software has a function where you can make your screen fill the entire monitor. Word has it, Scrivener has it, and a host of others. By not being able to see your icons, you’re less likely to start clicking around and catch yourself playing your tenth game of Solitaire. When you treat the screen like a canvas for painting your words, you’ll get a lot more done.
3) Ear Buds: Putting in ear buds and listening to music is a great way to drown out background noise. It doesn’t matter if it’s classical, hard rock, or country, as long as it keeps you focused. A good idea is matching the music to your genre. If you’re writing horror, try listening to an eerie soundtrack. Writing romance? Try some soft piano music Not only it will help create the right mood, it will mask any noisy distractions.
4) Timer: Set a timer. During the allotted time, write—just write. Even if you’re not in the mood or your inspiration has flown the coup, sit down and write. Turn off spell check and don’t rewrite or edit. Within five minutes your writing muscles will be warmed up and you won’t want to stop. Remember, five hundred words in an hour equals four 45,500-word novels. When your timer buzzes, feel free to keep writing or review your writing.
5)Make a date: Mark your calendar. Your writing is important and by making an appointment you’re less likely to feel guilty when you’re not doing the laundry or washing the dishes. Treat your writing time as you would any other meeting; show up on time, focus on the task at hand and follow through. Bonus: you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment as you cross writing off of your to-do list.
While these five steps can’t guarantee distraction-free writing, it will certainly up the odds.