Two years ago, I tried a digital minimalism experiment to simplify my life. I'm surprised at how much worked, and I'm not surprised what habits continue to grip me.
I’m currently writing the first draft of a new book. I’m working on one of those in-between chapters, and, needless to say, I’m distracted. How to fight distractions when writing?
Well, first let’s look at why I’m distracted.
I’ve reached a spot in the book where I’m not certain what will happen next or even what needs to happen. And instead of figuring it out, I avoid it.
I don’t even think I fight the distractions! Anything is better than the hard work of figuring out the best path forward with the plot.
The distractions may be in the form of checking emails, organizing my pen caddy, trotting downstairs for a piece of gum, checking my phone for messages, watching a YouTube video in the name of research.
I’ve been known to roll quarters instead of writing the next scene. Yes, it’s been years since I did it, but it still happened. Distractions are real.
If I want to get more than 148 words written for the day, I fight them.
I know what they’re all about, anyway. When I’m distracted, it’s a sure sign either I don’t know what to write next or the story is losing its way.
3 Ways to Avoid Distractions and Keep Writing
- Determine the scene essentials for the next scene. What does the viewpoint character want? Why does she want it? Why can’t she have it? When and where does this take place?
- Look ahead to the next major plot point. What needs to happen between the previous scene and the next plot point?
- Ask if things are too easy for the characters. Has the romantic conflict disappeared? Are both the hero and heroine still fighting for their story goals or have I made it too easy on them?
When I stop and do the above, I’m usually able to push through the desire to let every little thing distract me. It doesn’t always work, but it does enough for me to keep trying!