Since I began writing my YA novel I have become incredibly efficient at everything other than writing. My house is cleaner than it’s been before my son was born. My office is organized, my kitchen is tidy and de-cluttered. We rearranged the furniture and I planted my hanging baskets.
Every time I think, I should get back to my book, a new chore pops into my head that has to get done right away. Procrastination is fickle, ever-changing, and a writers worst nemesis. Aside from chores, here are the main culprits of distraction that I battle every day.
Oh sitcoms, you are my downfall. F.R.I.E.N.D.S, The Golden Girls, The Middle, and many more. I could easily lose days watching these shows. It’s so tempting to zone out when my son is sleeping and just let the television entertain me.
Turn off the damn television Rachel.
Here are the tabs I currently have open on my screen:
- WordPress (duh)
Poor little Microsoft Word is minimized at the bottom of my screen and shoved—like a pair of dirty socks out of my immediate visual proximity.
I can justify WordPress because I’m writing and engaging with other writers, but the rest of the tabs I should just close up and put away for an indefinite while. They are total time-sucks. I spend so much time reading about other people’s success (real or otherwise) when I should be focusing on my own goals.
Close the damn tabs Rachel.
Reading is valuable research, but also my deadliest procrastination. If someone told me I had to chose one source of entertainment to pick, reading would win hands-down every time. Aside from spending time with my friends and family, reading is my greatest joy. It’s my drug and my own YA book pays for my addiction.
My Solution: Balance
To complete our goals we all need balance. If I gave 100% to my goals, I would burn out and I can’t allow my patience to extinguish, because my husband and son need me too. I have given up A LOT of my television time, that addiction was by far the easiest to weed-out. I’ve tried cutting back on the internet, but it’s more persistent and follows me wherever I go (hello smart phone). So I try really hard to just check my notifications, and I don’t allow much scrolling. I focus on the most important media outlet (WordPress) and spend most of my time there. I still get sucked in, but I’m working on it.
As far as reading goes, I am only reading one book at a time and I allow myself to read AFTER I write before bed. I also sneak pages in while my son is playing or during nap time. I’m a firm believer that reading is critical for writers, and I simply refuse to deprive myself of the joy of reading.
What are some of the deadliest distractions to your writing? How do you battle your procrastination demons? Let me know in the comments below.
I gotta go, my Microsoft Word icon looks sad and neglected at the bottom of my screen.