Each and every writer gets distracted. Deny it if you like, but you know what distracts you from your goals the most. Here are my top five writing distractions.
Research Rabbit Holes
As a historical adventure writer, research is part of my personal journey. When the idea for my work in progress first came forth, I never imagined I’d spend the next four years going down the research rabbit hole.
Old habits are hard to break. Getting stuck on research for days on end prompted the creation of a weekly schedule, and I intend to stick to it. Mondays are now designated non-fiction days, so hopefully that will help keep me on track for the rest of the week.
However, research can lead to ideas for other stories…
Ideas for Other Stories
You have a light bulb moment as you read a biography about a person who once existed. Or an idea for a spin off series from the one you’re currently writing pops into your head. Or you decide to write a script for your own science fiction series after being a fan of Doctor Who for years. No…you should be working on your WIP, shouldn’t you?
Does any of that sound familiar? That’s what happens when I do research. I’ve got piles and piles of notes, and not all of them pertain to my current project. But that’s one of the joys of discovery. And a curse of being a creative. I’ll never give up research. And by Jove, if it sparks another book for The Firedamp Chronicles, I won’t be mad at all.
Social Media (yes, that includes this blog)
This distraction is the most self-explanatory of all, and the trickiest to rein in. With Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, MySpace, Instagram and so many others vying for attention, it’s a wonder I get anything done. Sometimes I don’t.
I envy people who’ve managed to find a healthy balance between their online activities with daily life. Perhaps, since I’ve finally set up a writing/reading/research schedule, that it’s time to set up one for social media activity as well.
All the Korean Dramas
American television. Although I am a citizen of the United States, I know diddly squat about what’s on prime time or currently popular. What I do know are Korean dramas. Would it surprise you to know I adore an amazing historical Joseon Era drama over, say, an American episode of CSI?
My love for Korean dramas began during the summer of 2008. I lived and worked on my college campus repairing and repainting dorm rooms. When work was done, I dug up as my episodes of Boys Over Flowers as I could. Now Korean dramas are easily available from Viki to Netflix. And they’re my number one crutch when it comes to staying on task with my reading. Just as I do with my reading, I have to plan out time to binge a new (or rewatch an old) Korean drama. Along with my love for Star Trek, my love for Korean dramas will never go away.
I just have to make sure they don’t interfere with my love of books.
Good Ol’ Procrastination
And finally, there’s good ol’ procrastination. Whether it’s watching a myriad of YouTube videos for an entire afternoon, stress baking all the cookies, or constantly checking emails for query responses, perhaps it’s a sign you truly need a break from your computer or notebook.
When I find myself drifting, it’s time to step away – do some gardening, clean the house, take care of family – and detox from all the words. Especially if nothing’s clicking or making sense.
It’s okay to take a break from your project. And maybe, just maybe, that a mundane task may be just what you need to reset and rejuvenate.
What distracts you the most? Feel free to share them below and know you’re not alone!