Dumping Distractions

Distractions — as writers in the 21st century, we know all about them — especially the digital kind. Email, the Internet, Skype — these can all be major distractions and easily eat into our writing time. When you work at home, there are even more things to deal with: phone calls, errands, car-pooling, dog-walking — you name it!

While it’s tempting to believe that battling distractions is a new challenge for writers, it’s actually a long-standing one. In the early 1900s, the French writer Colette was locked in a small room for four hours a day by her money-hungry first husband so that she wouldn’t be able to do anything but write the books that supported them in grand style. He wouldn’t unlock the door until she produced a certain number of pages. The ploy worked: Colette wrote six novels in six years.

Balzac used to churn out novel after novel by fueling himself with cups of coffee and writing non-stop for eight hours at a clip from midnight on. Oscar Wilde penned his deeply moving De Profoundest while in prison.

More recently, nature writer Annie Tillard relocated from a shed that looked out over pine trees to a wall without a window. In the Writing Life, she observes, “Appealing workplaces are to be avoided. One wants a room with no view, so imagination can meet memory in the dark.”

Mmmm…I’m not sure that kind of enforced isolation is absolutely necessary, but I totally understand the impulse. How about you? How do you defuse the distractions that threaten your focus?

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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1 Response to Dumping Distractions

  1. Elise says:

    I have found going to the library and putting myself into one of those little carrells works! Of course, I can still figure out plenty of ways to waste time, but somehow this brings me back to serious college study days, especially during exam period, when focus was key. I park myself with my coffee and water and away I go. I managed to complete a book proposal under a tight deadline this way. The deadline helped too!

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