Tuesday, August 26, 2014

All the Shiny Distractions


Distractions are like Starbucks stores. They are EVERYWHERE! Practically on every corner. Sometimes two on the same block. All comforting and inviting with their warm, intoxicating aromas and soft couches and free wifi. And you think, why not? I deserve a venti pumpkin spice latte (you know they’re coming…) It's almost fall and I'm tired. And it's my only free hour before I pick up the kids. And it's right here. And… what was I saying?

Oh right, distractions.

With summer winding down and school about to start and soccer practice twice a week and a new job, (insert: any LIFE events here)…all semblance of a routine, let alone sanity, is out the window. New schedules, new stress. And less time to write. Less time for sitting down for any chunk of time to edit, plot or even just stare out the window and live inside my characters’ worlds for an uninterrupted moment of time.

And even if I do manage to sit down while the kids are taking a nap, it is SOOOOOOO hard not to immediately jump on fb, twitter, blogs I haven’t read in a while, the library webpage to see what anxiously awaited books I have on hold, or all the other things that I have to do first. Or to just kick back and read said books with a cup of coffee instead. Ooh, OR watch True Blood because it’s almost the season finale and I’m 3 episodes behind and it’s not like I can watch it when the littles are awake…

These things? They are called distractions. And they suck. They suck you away from your goal. And they suck because they are just so deliciously, deviously...well, distracting.

Writing requires DISCIPLINE and a lot of it. But writing should be fun, you say, and easy. Not a chore. Well sure, it should be. But that doesn’t mean it always is. Sometimes there is no motivation, no direction, no inspiration. Sometimes it is really, really hard to sit down and actually have words come. Sometimes you just have no time.

You have to make the time. Remove the distractions. Find a quiet place that works. Turn off the internet (I’m told they have programs for this…or maybe support groups). Pay for a babysitter. Go somewhere else if chores or the TV will catch your eye. Listen to music or don’t. Wake up early or work after the kids go to bed. Do whatever it takes!

I know what distracts me and I know that I have to actually work to not allow them to creep in and steal the short window of time I have to focus. And sometimes I need help to do it. Whether it’s my incredibly supportive husband, handling bed time on his own or my children understanding that mommy needs just a few more minutes to finish a thought before we keep playing. Maybe someone could bring me coffee so I won't have a moment of weakness and be drawn in to the nearest Starbucks down the block. (Is coffee delivery a thing?)

Whatever it is, I know that I need to write. Every day. Even if it's bad. Even if it's only 140 characters. And to be successful with that, I have to remove the distractions.

What distracts you from writing?? How do you work around it?


  1. Sarah, distractions are the bane of my existence. The hardest thing about being a writer is that the very thing you do your writing ON, is the one thing that has a world of distractions on it. After reading your post, I gave my self a two hour virtual radio silence: no twitter, no checking blog, no texting, no internet cruising, and OMG I wrote a scene! It's a good scene! After 2 hours I moved the laundry, filled the dishwasher, reacquainted myself with Twitter, and wrote this comment. I think I'm heading back to my cave now...

    Thank you for a great post!

  2. Monica - I KNEW I wasn't the only one! I'm so glad you found motivation to "turn it off" today and focus. And you got so much done!!! I can only hope this means we'll have more pages to read soon :) Keep it up!


  3. It is so incredibly hard to put the little distractions aside when you've only got those 2 minutes of bathroom time, or the end of the night when all is finally quiet. It is so hard when after a full day of commitments and demands and all the joy and exhaustion that brings, to do something that isn't just completely vegging out. But I get it. I want to be studying more. And because I don't have an actual deadline, I find it harder to do. I think about to do lists, I spend gobs of time writing them out. It feels so good to check things off, but it seems as though they are always there.
    I love that you are doing this, Sarah. Can't wait to see where it leads you! Xoxo

  4. Sarah - So true about not having deadlines. I work best under pressure. Like when someone is coming to my house, THAT'S when the cleaning magic happens :) When it comes to my writing, it's one of the many awesome things about having a writing partner - I don't want to let her down! Having someone to keep you motivated is really great.

    Thank you for all the encouragement!!! XOXO