Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Writing is not an easy calling. Though in some ways, I think it’s easier now than it used to be. Word processors are better than typewriters. And infinitely better than pen and ink. (Though I know there are some diehards out there.) Google makes research so much easier. I used to troll the library, looking for the right book, which the library didn’t have. Then, I’d have to ask the librarian to order the maybe-important book from across the state, and I’d have to pay a transfer fee. (I’d always ask the happy red-haired librarian instead of the scowling one with a white streak down the front of her black hair a la Lily Munster. Or Pepe le Pew.)

So writing is easier. Except… Along with all those blessings, come all those temptations. It’s oh-so-easy for me to take a quick peek at my email inbox when I’m racking my brain for the perfect word. After all, you never know when I might hear from an agent.

And then there’s the siren call of Facebook and my friends who posted the newest pictures of their babies. (Because we all know I can’t see those photos when my writing time is over.)

And then there’s the ever present desire to check my novel’s current ranking on Amazon.

(And there’s always laundry, dishes, dinner, etc. So maybe distractions aren’t a new phenomenon.)

But those electronic distractions are so easy to justify because they only take a second or two. But it’s not those seconds that are the issue. It’s getting back into “the zone.” And according to the most recent statistics that takes 15 minutes! While I’m sure it varies from person to person, that’s the average. So maybe it’s less for me. Or maybe it’s more.

I’ve considered my options to combat the colossal waste of precious writing time. One suggestion is to turn off my computer’s Wi-Fi when I’m writing. Another is to join a program that actually turns off your Wi-Fi connection and won’t turn it back on until the allotted time has transpired. Neither is my cup of tea. I decided to try good, old-fashioned self-control.

My plan (okay, it’s not my plan—it’s courtesy of my friend Joyce. Thanks, Joyce!) is to sit next at the table next to child number four (while he does his homework) and write. It’s a win-win situation. I write; he works. And I’m there if he needs help. Plus, I will feel incredible shame for being a bad example if he looks over and sees me on Facebook/Twitter/etc.

The results? I’m getting more done. And so is child number four. Of course, child number four isn’t entirely happy about the new arrangement. I believe the words “looking over my shoulder” were used in a vehement way. 

But hey, it’s working!! 


  1. Great idea, Connie :) This is such an excellent post, because I know EXACTLY what it's like. FB and e-mail are such a temptation.
    Well done for using your self-control. That's awesome :)

  2. When I feel like I'm slacking, I hop over to write or die and use thier web app. I work a lot better under the pressure of eaten words, so it's great for me. Infact I got 5000 words in because of it today.

    I know it's not everyone else's cup of tea, but I find it's the most flexible thing of it's ilk that I've worked with.

    Good luck with your new plan!

  3. I agree I get distracted easily in this social media world. I've discovered that I comment on blogs that I read more than actually write and it takes me FOREVER to get back in the "zone" and "motivated".

    Man, I love social media but it's a big distraction for me. I can nearly spend four hours reading several blogs and commenting on those blogs and yes, I've done it quite a few times before. I need to face reality - I can't spend that much time in the Blogosphere even though that would be paradise made in heaven! :)

  4. I have the same issues. It's amazing how those seconds can add up. I need to figure something out. Maybe I need to go to the library or something and I can't come home until I've finished a chapter.

  5. What a great plan for you and your child. Glad it is working.

    I have the same problem. It is usually those moments when I'm struggling to get the words down that my mind starts thinking about dishes and e-mail and blog posts, all those little distractions.

  6. Sounds like you came up with the perfect solution. But I'm in awe if you're able to limit those electronic distractions to only a "second or two." More like a few hours for me, especially if I'm researching something on Google. (I'm an unabashed information junkie.)