Writing Hint #29: Unplug from the Internet

I can be easily distracted from my core work, writing.


Distractions surround the writer. While they are unique to most writers there are some common distractions too. I find that the beautiful view out of my writing studio is quite distracting. (Doesn’t “writing studio” sound much more romantic than plain old “office?” There – I’m distracted again.)

Some common distractions:

  • The internet.
  • Incoming emails.
  • Phone calls.
  • Visitors.
  • Books, magazines, newspapers.
  • Television.
  • Radio.
  • Music.
  • Housework, cleaning, washing the dishes.
  • Gardening.
  • The dog, cat, goldfish or pet parrot.

Deal with them!

If you don’t deal with the distractions and firmly master them, they will master you. You will get to the end of the day and wonder why you haven’t achieved anything. So how about trying some simple things.

Mastering distractions:

  1. Switch off incoming email: I get 60-100 emails a day. I love the little pop-up screen telling me of incoming email, so I go and read it. WRONG. This will stop the flow of words and derail your train of thoughts.
  2. Unplug from the internet: The internet is such a wonderful, time-wasting distracting place to be it can take up 25 hours of your attention every day. Master it. Switch it off and totally focus on your writing.
  3. Unhook the phone: If family and friends know you are available at all hours of the day, they will ring you at all hours of the day. Bang – there goes an hour here and an hour there and by the end of the week you’ve lost a day of writing time. No wonder that novel never gets finished. Take to phone off the hook – or let calls default to the answering machine. Then when you’ve finished writing for the day, phone those who bothered to leave a message and interrupt their time.
  4. Ignore the housework, garden, pets and other distractions: Now do not get me wrong – these things are important, but they need to be put in their proper place. If you are in a paid job, your boss wouldn’t be too impressed if you were late to work “because I had to do the dishes” or “I had to walk the dog.” Set aside non-writing time for these important things in life. It’s all about setting priorities.

Take time out to refresh

Make sure that your writing or blogging does not totally consume your life. It is important to take time out for refreshment. It is important to keep the family and friends in your life. It is important to read, to smell the roses and watch the birds, to do the dishes, to clean the house, to take the dog, cat or goldfish for a walk.

It’s all a matter of balance in the end.

Good writing.

Further reading:


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