Minimizing and Eliminating Distractions
No matter what your niche is or how experienced you are as a writer, you’ve probably come to realize that dealing with distractions comes with the job. Your ability to complete a piece of writing is highly dependent on how well you can block out things going on around you to focus and just write.
Some distractions will always be out there, swirling around you and constantly grappling for your attention. Others come and go. What you do to minimize or even eliminate those distractions altogether will play a big role in how productive you can be and how stressful writing is for you.
Remember, writing should be fun! To help you keep that in mind, here’s our Guide to Uninterrupted Writing. We hope you can use these tips right away and maybe even have a little fun along the way.
- Control Your Environment – Whether you’re at home or out in public, pick a quiet setting where you know you can be productive. In your own home or living space, pick a room that’s semi-private and used sparingly by others. Out in public, look for a quiet area where there aren’t a lot of other people. Also, control your environment in cyberspace by closing down any browser windows or programs that aren’t absolutely essential to your writing. It’s really easy to lose track of the time on the Internet, so avoid those time-wasting programs.
- Use Plain Text Editor or Pen & Paper – You can simplify your writing experience even more by using a plain text editor, like EditPlus or NoteTab to get your thoughts down. Word processing programs are great for all of their features and tools, but it can get distracting trying to figure out what each particular tool does. Using a plain text editor will help you focus on what matters most – the words.
If you’re still struggling with distractions, try to get away from the Internet altogether by writing the old-fashioned way with a pen and paper.
- Turn Off Device Notification Alarms – Now, on the other hand, when you need to be on the Internet for research purposes, you can keep your productivity up by turning off all program notification alarms. That includes instant messenger, cell phones, push notifications and the like. Think about it, you won’t be able to focus on writing if your wife keeps texting you about tonight’s tuna casserole, or you’re getting Facebook notifications from your friend ranting about his sports team. Turn off the notifications on these devices so they aren’t constantly beeping and dinging at you.
Now, we understand that sometimes you can’t get away from every distraction. In those cases, there are a few methods to at least minimize those distractions so they waste a little less of your time.
- Shut Out Outside Noises – Wear headphones or earplugs to reduce outside noise. Put on some music to block out the rest of the world. At first, the music will drown out the other noises around you, but eventually even the music seems to fade so you can focus on writing.
- Minimize Clutter on Your Desk – Desktop knick-knacks may be fun to play with but they can be distracting and consequently waste a lot of your time. Tidy up your work area before you use it and make sure you clean it regularly.
- Write an Outline – No matter what type of distraction you encounter, you can quickly get back on task by pre-writing an outline. When you get distracted you can just consult the outline to see what you were in the middle of explaining and what you planned on writing about next.
Remember that distractions are a part of life, but they don’t have to control your life. Take these tips and apply them to your next writing session.
For your own reference, here’s our downloadable Guide to Uninterrupted Writing (PDF) [1.3 MB] so you can take the info from the video with you on-the-go as a reminder of how to keep distractions out of your writing sessions.
What other ways do you deal with article writing distractions? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.