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!

Laura Sherman (118 Posts)

Laura Sherman, a.k.a. “Laura the Friendly Ghostwriter,” is a professional ghostwriter and author. She enjoys writing fiction and nonfiction and is happiest when juggling multiple projects. She recently authored “Chess Is Child’s Play” to introduce the next generation to the game of kings and queens. As a parent of three, and one of the top 50 women chess players in the United States, Laura wrote this book to teach any parent to teach any child, of any age, to play chess.