I’m in that blissfully happy stage of planning my WIP where I get to bury myself in research. Normandy in 905? On it. Norse hierarchy? Yep, that too.
But just outside this little happy corner of planning lurks the little monster we all know and fear – Distraction.
“I have to check what year Leif Eriksson first sailed past Greenland,” easily turns into, ‘Pinning things on Pinterest that may one day be vaguely helpful when planning the sequel,’ which quickly turns into, ‘OMG, look at this video of puppies my friend shared on Facebook.’ And then four hours are gone and you haven’t actually found the answer yet.
I seem to be exceptionally good at hanging out with Distraction. He and I just understand each other. He knows what I like, I know that he just wants to be liked. It’s a symbiotic relationship, really. We need each other.
But I also know that if I hang out with him too much, I’ll never get anything done, so I’ve developed a few tricks to cope with him.
- Use distraction as a reward for accomplishing something. ‘Once I hit 1000 words, I can surf Facebook for 15 minutes.’ It takes some effort to train yourself not to surf Facebook early, and to actually stop after your 15 minutes, but it’s so worth it. I find that when I dangle that carrot, my 1000 words comes much more quickly and easily.
- Darling, put your computer in airplane mode. Then, when you click that Chrome icon, your computer will remind you that you are supposed to be writing, not playing with the monster.
- Put on headphones and listen to music. I find that the music gives my ears a Distraction and allows me to focus on what I need to be doing. It also helps get me in the right mindset for whatever I’m writing.
Sometimes I use a combination of my tricks to get me where I need to be, but every time I sign in to Google, Distraction is there waiting to greet me like an old friend.