It seems that my blog rolls in a cycle I talk about goals, targets, what my plans are and how I’m going to achieve them. The next week I’m back making excuses, explaining why nothing came to fruition, accepting failure and doing better the next time. (I swear this time I’ve got a really good one).
Well this month I’m going to talk about distractions, things that keep us from writing. As I see it distractions fall into two categories; Important and Unimportant. Things like spending the time you should be writing trawling through Facebook or watching Netflix are Unimportant distractions. Things like attending work, completing study/school and spending time with family are Important distractions.
My productivity has slowed to a crawl due to an important distraction. My daughter was born at the end of January and has been greedily consuming the time I usually spend writing but that is alright she’s adorable and a distraction I am happy to have.
The problem with distractions is that not all of them fall into such a clear cut basket of Unimportant or Important or to complicate things even further an Unimportant distraction might be useful or productive while an Important distraction might be counterproductive.
My daughter as important as she is, is a counterproductive distraction. Whilst I’m spending time with her nothing is happening with my writing. Work is a little bit of an in-between it is definitely important, you might argue that that time spent working is counterproductive as you are working rather than writing or you might argue that it’s productive as your generating money you can use to hire editors, cover artists if you are going down the self-publishing route or simply keep the electricity on so your computer with all those hard written/type words stored in its gizzards is a functional device rather than an ornate door stop (I’m not writing this story by hand and while a typewriter is cool I neither have the proficiency or patience to avoid or correct my mistakes). Study/School in my opinion is not only an important distraction but probably a productive one too, no matter what you are learning this is additional information that you can pump into your writing. For instance I’m studying commerce and this inspired a short story about price fixing and alternate markets. Explained like this its dry and boring but the scene was written as four parties around a bargaining table trading veiled threats and offers and I got decent feedback about it.
Unimportant distractions can sit in even more of a grey area. Sure trawling through Facebook or power watching an entire season of a show on Netflix could probably be classed as an Unimportant distraction but occasionally it might be productive. A few of my characters have been inspired by friends or acquaintances and TV, movies and pop-culture probably inspire a few too many of my stories.
Then we have things like word-building, side-stories, and research which might start off being important but when overdone can become unimportant whilst still being productive and if taken to the extremes might even end up being unproductive. Trying to work out where to devote my time is frustrating. So many things to do Important things, Unimportant things, Productive things, Counterproductive things that need to get done how do I choose?
The answer is simple. Do whatever you need to. If you feel you need to run up and down the street screaming at the top of your lungs do it. Definitely do the important things. Feel free to spend time doing the Unimportant things. If you can, try and turn them into productive exercises, but remember it is fine to be unproductive too. The only thing you absolutely have to do if you want to be a writer is write just try and remember that it is okay to do other things too.
I’m not even going to bother to update my progress for my yearly goals. I got nothing (very little) done. The year is off to a great start and that’s fine I’ve got other things to do but I will write. I promise. I will find the time. I’ll do it today.
Thanks for reading
And now for the dog