Distractions: Benefits and Pitfalls

distractions_designers

  1. The Bachelor/Bachelorette (my personal tv fix)
  2. Phone call
  3. Email
  4. Modern Family
  5. Google
  6. youtube – aww, cute barfing alien baby!
  7. Music
  8. Snack
  9. Books/Magazines
  10. Video games
  11. Go to mall
  12. Blog – cookies, yum! Not that I can make any
  13. Walk
  14. Email
  15. Blog – this one! (but hey, this shouldn’t count – right?)
  16. Jello
  17. Pee…

The list could keep going. After all, we are all warriors fighting a great war against everything  – TV, the internet, friends, family, you name it.

Like I said, the list is never ending….especially for a writer wannabe (who works from home – the ultimate distraction!)

Now, here’s some good news about distractions: they are actually a good thing if you plan them right. For several of us writers, there might be days when you feel robotically inclined to do nothing but work. Me? I do have those days but there does come a point when all that creative energy starts to flush down the toilet a bit…the point that is otherwise known as ‘writer’s block’. A burnout. And yes, Writing is SUPPOSED TO BE CREATIVE! More on writer’s block in another post.

ModernDistractionsCOMIC

I know, I know…I did say this was a post on how to ‘avoid’ distractions. But for now, here are some things that are currently working for me and some that several working screenwriters also use. I will be posting more details about some of these points in future posts. I would love to hear feedback from you guys on anything that did/didn’t work:

Wake up early (I am not a late night worker unless I am pressed for deadlines, but this has literally saved my life!)

Set a routine/ schedule (Helped me immensely – even if you are not a ‘schedule-my-life-not-that-robotic’ kind of person)

Give yourself rewards/motivations. If you are going to get distracted, try distractions which help you write better aka. reading a great screenplay/novel. You should be doing that anyway if you want to be a screenwriter.

Go workout. I am no workout junkie, but nothing better to get all that blood in your brain pumping and rearing to go before you get into it. Or better yet, take a walk. Successful screenwriters like Ron Bass, Robin Swicord, Leslie Dixon do it too!

Remember it’s a job – and you are a writer. The beautiful thing about writing is once you get into it, it really is the ultimate distraction if you are passionate about it.

Set goals and deadlines. Time yourself. Be judicious with it. One thing that works for me is I intentionally rush through things. Sometimes you just can’t rush art – but the thing about writing is that you can always rewrite. That’s the point. (btw, this doesn’t mean I always get things done on time…but tricking your brain does help in getting things moving).

Be a two-timer. Work on another project. Seriously. Here’s a case in point: I slaved on one project, one  for YEARS and then going nowhere, finally put it away, and took a break from writing (another post on that another time).  Then I restarted it and also started working on a second project and voila –

Internet, your frenenemy? I use a mac. Self-timing apps like ‘freedom’ and ‘selfcontrol’ work great or you can do the simple thing and turn off your network, but I didn’t trust myself enough so I went for the apps instead. Low-cost or free.

Go take a nap. I am a napless zombie, but especially if you are stuck, this might help rather than hurt. Sometimes you need to just hit your brain’s off-switch so it resets.

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