One of the biggest challenges I need to overcome is how distracted I am when I’m writing. When I’m not subbing or I have a free evening alone, I try to set aside time to write. Does that time always end up devoted to writing? Unfortunately, no. Most of the time is actually devoted to anything and everything except writing.
I end up doing laundry, washing the dishes, feeding the dogs, taking the dogs outside, having a snack, cooking dinner, watering the plants, answering a phone call, reading an email… Basically, anything you can imagine, I end up doing it.
Having my new office upstairs in a room where I have everything I need does help. I can let the dogs nap on the couch, I have a bathroom attached to the room, and I can listen to music to help me concentrate. Usually, Nick is downstairs watching television, sleeping (especially since he’s on the night shift), working outside, or out with friends when I’m working, so that helps, too. If I know I don’t need to stop for a while to make dinner or something, I’m a lot more apt to be able to relax and let the words flow.
Unfortunately, though, most of my inspiration comes late at night, when I can’t afford to stay up and run with it. I try to be in bed by 11:00 at the latest, but even that is pushing it most nights. My sleep schedule has changed a great deal in the past couple of years and while I used to be a night owl, I currently tend to wake up automatically by 7:30 or 8:00. That makes me want to be in bed earlier, even if it’s not a school night.
So what are your strategies for avoiding distractions while you’re working or writing?