Writing Tips: How to Avoid Distractions

When writing a book, commit to spending a few hundred hours to complete the project. That can take forever if you’re piecing together tiny increments of time, spread out over months. If you then also allow distractions to creep in, you’ll find that you will just spend your time reviewing, rather than make forward progress.

To avoid writing distractions, here are a few tips that might help:

Turn off your Wi-Fi

Unplugging from the internet will stop you from checking your email, social media feed, or what’s up with your favorite sports team every two minutes. Unless you need the internet to do research, there’s no reason to have your Wi-Fi on.

Now, if you need the internet for your word processing program, you can use an app like Freedom, which allows you to block various websites. Sometimes we all need a little help to avoid the temptation of distractions from writing.

Turn off your cell phone

When writing, we need to give ourselves a chunk of time when we won’t be disturbed. When I write and hear that familiar ping from my cell phone, politely letting me know I have a new text message, it’s hard to ignore it. Turn your cell phone ringer off (if you can). Otherwise, the temptation to check texts and voice messages might be too great. These interruptions make it difficult to complete a writing task. Even putting the phone on vibrate doesn’t fully get rid of the distraction. It’s best to turn it off.

Use the tools that are best for you

Don’t try to conform to another writer’s methods. Write in a way that’s most comfortable and productive for you. For some this might be long hand, while others prefer a word processor. There is no “right way” to write!

Find a quiet writing spot

It’s important that you discover a good, quiet, comfortable place to write. This might be in your car, in a coffee shop, a library, or a nook in your home. Or perhaps you prefer to sit propped up on your bed with lots of pillows for support.

Whatever works for you, whatever gives you the best quality word count, is best.

Eat well, sleep well, take care of yourself

It’s hard to write well when you’re tired or hungry. Exhaustion and hunger can be powerful distractions from writing. Get a good amount of sleep and eat a nourishing meal. Junk food is liable to make you tired, which will result is poor writing. If you’re fasting, your characters are likely to discuss food more than they should.

Take care of yourself. Some writers find it best to exercise before writing, as it gets the blood pumping. Others get up at the crack of dawn and drink a nice cup of coffee as they open their laptop. Bottom line, look for effective ways to boost productivity.

Prepare ahead of time

I am most eager to write a piece when I’m fully prepared and all my research is done. It’s also effective for me to end a writing session mid-scene or nonfiction segment. That’s because I know exactly where I’m going, and I can embark on the next day’s writing target with ease.

If you get carried away and complete the passage, you can still leave yourself set up for the next day. Put your notes in order and write the first paragraph before you end off.

Don’t edit as you write

Don’t edit as you write. I know that can be hard, but remember, you really need to just get words down on paper. Editing cuts into that time dramatically. Plus, it is really a waste of time. When you finish your first draft, you’ll be in a different place, and editing will be much easier. If you edit while you write, you’ll be doubling your work because you will just need to edit the piece all over again.

Every writer is different. What works for you might not work for me, but that’s OK. Find the successful actions that help you be as productive as you can be. The best measure is progress.

How many words did you write this week?

If you need a little help from a ghostwriter, please feel free to email me! We can work together to create your book!

Could PANDAS Be the Cause of the Mysterious Twitches in the Children of New York and St Louis?

There have been several reports this week of a mysterious illness, which has affected children. Two dozen high school students suddenly reported that they were suffering from uncontrollable body movements and odd speech patterns in New York. On top of that, another dozen families in St. Louis said their children had similar symptoms.

Could this be the same thing that Joshua Suthar went through?

Lori Suthar hired me to write Joshua’s Missing Peace – A Mother’s True Story last year, after her son went through his ordeal. He had odd behavioral patterns, so she sought advice from her pediatrician, who recommended a neurologist, who recommended a psychiatrist. Lori followed the advice given, giving her son strong anti-psychotic drugs and almost lost Joshua. His personality changed, his aptitude for schoolwork took a nose dive and he became violent toward his siblings. Fortunately, Lori never gave up and continued to research and talk to other parents who experienced similar things.

She discovered that her son had a very treatable illness called PANDAS. It is related to Strep Throat, if you can believe it. And yes, antibiotics are the cure. Sometimes, an additional treatment is needed, but the good news is that there is a solution for children with this illness.

Joshua’s Missing Peace – A Mother’s True Story  is now available and has attracted national attention. Why? Because people are looking for answers to why these children in New York and St. Louis have had sudden outbreaks of nervous tics. If it wasn’t for the research being done on PANDAS, the parents of these children might not realize that they could be dealing with a bacteria, something that is treatable. They won’t know until they do a simple strep test (which is very inexpensive and easy to do). I would hate to see any of those children go through the horrors that little Joshua did with all the drugs he was given.

I am extremely proud to have been a part of this project. As Lori’s ghostwriter I was able to help her tell her story and get the message out there. I truly believe this book will help many families!

Please pick up a copy of this book today! With this knowledge, you might just save a child’s life!

There is no “standard” ghostwriting deal

Many people want to know how ghostwriting works. Just today a prospective client wanted to know, “How does the standard ghostwriting deal work?” The answer really is, “There is no standard deal. Every deal is different because each client and project is unique.”

Some clients will drop 300 pages of notes in my lap and ask me to write a book. Others will give me a rough concept of a story or nonfiction book and let me “have at it.” Which do I prefer? I love both! The first one is easier, faster, and more cut and dry. There are obvious advantages to this. However the second option gives me complete creative freedom. There’s something very appealing about that! Which option costs more? The latter would be more expensive, because it will take more time as extensive research is needed.

Another important factor is time. Sometimes, a client will ask me to write a book in a month. I can do that, but I pretty much have to drop everything, kiss my husband and children goodbye, and find a cabin in the woods to rent to get it done.  Okay, I’m exaggerating, but there is a nugget of truth to my hyperbole. This nearly impossible feat costs top dollar.

Usually, a book takes six to eight months to write. Some clients don’t mind stretching the time line out to a year. Either way, the schedule is worked out well in advance.

How involved is the “author” in their book? My answer to that is “How involved do they want to be?” My client is the boss. If they want to help me write their book, great! We’ll work together and I’ll share my knowledge with them. If they’d prefer to be hands-off and simply review the chapters as they roll off my keyboard, that works, too.

What I will never do is write the entire book and then show it to the client. That is a recipe for disaster on many levels. It is very important to me that my client is happy with my work, as happy as they’d be if they had written it themselves. After all, their name is on the cover. They are the ones that will have to answer for each and every word. It is important that they love it!

The first thing I do is outline the story and run it by the client. Once they sign off on the summary and outline, I begin writing the chapters of the book. After the first chapter or two are written, I send them to the client for review and wait. I won’t continue to write until I get their okay. Once I have it, I know we’re on the same page and I can start cranking out a rough draft. Once I’ve written another 50 to 100 pages I’ll show them the next segment. After all, we’ve now agreed to the structure and style, so I am confident that they will like it. The revisions should be minor at this point.

One of the things I love about ghostwriting is that I get to work with many different people on many different projects. It is fun and challenging!

Additional articles you might find helpful:

Hiring a ghostwriter

Should you hire a local ghostwriter?

Working with a Ghostwriter – What steps should you take?

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

Happy New Year!

I wish you all a magnificent 2012!

I encourage you to set goals for this year and then take the steps needed to achieve them. You can do it!

I have a special place in my heart for artists. If you are an artist (and I believe we all are), please take a moment to craft a few creative goals. If you’re a writer, please do write. And write. And write some more!

Happy New Year to all my friends!

Best Wishes!

Laura