Monday, February 22, 2010
I’m a list person. I write everything I need to get done for the day down and try to make sure I have enough time to do what I have scheduled (Although, I NEVER do!). And it never fails that things come along to distract me. Some I LET distract me, some I have no choice over.
Here are my Top 5 Distractions:
1. Immediate family. Is there a reason they have to eat every day? Couldn’t we stretch that out a little? Do kids really need baths? A little dirt never hurt anyone, right?
2. Illness, mine or someone else’s. It seems like, since December, we’ve gotten quite a few bugs around the house, no matter how many vitamins I keep pushing on everyone or how isolated I keep the infected. There’s nothing like that call during your mid-morning writing sprint to inform you that your child has thrown up at school. Then there are my various foot and neck problems (I absolutely can’t function with a headache. Aleve is my new best friend!).
3. The Internet. Yes, this is a self-control problem. I’m addicted to my email and have even been known to click the Send/Receive button as soon as it tells me I have no new mail. Just in case. Sigh. Then there is Facebook. I resisted for a long time before I finally created a Facebook page. Now, the little status updates call to me on a regular basis. Double sigh. And my blog, and other people’s blogs, and my horoscope… You get the picture.
4. Day Job. I haven’t figured out how to get out of this one yet. I run a small resume writing business that basically provides enough income to support my writing habit. At least once a week I get a call that says, "There's this job I want to apply for, and the closing date is in 48 hours." Um, a little forward thinking would be nice, people! There are many times I’d love to just drop it so I can focus solely on my fiction writing, but since fiction isn’t paying me anything, yet…
5. Housework. This isn’t so much a distraction as a necessity. With a hubby (who doesn’t do dishes) and 2 kids, the house gets dirty, quickly. While I’d like to say that I’m June Cleaver, it would be a lie. I pretty much leave the house until I can’t stand it any more (for instance, we’re sticking to the kitchen floor, much to my mil’s dismay) then I clean thoroughly. Unfortunately, some things can’t be put off as long, like needing clean underwear. If I could just remember to get the clothes out of the dryer when they are done… My ultimate publishing fantasy is to make enough money to hire someone to clean for me once a week. That's all I ask, I swear! (Okay, I'm lying, but still...)
I’m slowly learning to cope, though I’ll never be the gal who can “Go With The Flow” and embrace interruptions like they are life’s way of telling me to slow down and all that jazz. Instead, my body and psyche view most interruptions as stress-building exercises (except in the case of the internet, where it is a stress-relieving exercise). But a few chosen techniques are making me better in this area. I just have to stop long enough to remember to employ them. :) Deep breathing (heck, breathing at all), prioritizing, exercising daily, accountability partners, and instructing my kids on how to take over more responsibilities are going a long way.
One such technique I’ve instituted is a weekly Write-Out. Many people think that because I get to stay at home all day, I have more than enough time on my hands to write, along with anything else they want me to accomplish. In addition to outside influences, problems also come from me allowing my focus to be pulled in other directions. Lately, in order to get writing done, I’ve found myself leaving the house 1 day a week. I’ll go camp out in a restaurant or bookstore, plug in the hubby’s laptop or drag out my alpha smart, and get to work. Except for my cell phone (which I try to only answer if it is the kids’ school calling), there are no distractions. I don’t know how to get on the internet on the laptop, so the computer becomes a work only zone. Clients can’t reach me because they need something Right Now! No email. No Facebook. And someone else will serve me lunch. These “Write Out” days have helped my output and focus tremendously, and I often come home ready to work even more. I justify this by reminding myself that J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter in a café, so there’s nothing wrong with running away from home, right?
Have you found any techniques that help keep you focused and on task? I’d love to find some more that I can utilize!
P.S. I’m blogging today over at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood on Author Burnout. I’d love to see you there!
Tomorrow drop by to meet adult contemporary romance and young adult romance author Trish Milburn/Tricia Mills.