Distractions by Ann Evans
For all our good intentions as we sit down to write, there's just so many distractions to contend with. And top of the distraction list for most people has to be the internet!
Where would we be without it though? It's information at our fingertips. Good old Google is a fount of all knowledge, and a massive time saver when you need to check something. And emails – what a disaster when they let us down!
Trouble is, most of our notifications from our social media sites gets fed through to our emails so often there are dozens of notifications of who's posted where, and it takes such a mountain of willpower not to be distracted and take a look then click on the post and maybe add your own two-pennyworth.
Facebook is probably the number one culprit. Of course it has its good side, the networking, socialising, making new writing contacts and friends, promoting your books etc. But it does have a knack of drawing us in, so that writing time is diminished by our continually dipping in and out of it as we sit and try to write.
But apart than the internet, what's your top distraction? Tea and coffee breaks? Definitely, but I've found that a tea break has its good and bad points. Bad – if you're working from home, when you walk away from your PC to make a cuppa, you also note that there's some washing up needing doing, or the carpet could do with a hoover, or washing to be hung out. So that 5-minute tea break can result in taking up half your day if you're not careful.
But on the good side, often stepping away from the computer screen especially when you can't think what to write next is the ideal way off getting the creative juices flowing again. When I worked as a feature writer for the Coventry Telegraph, where you had to write articles up pretty quickly, I found that once I'd got my opening sentence I was off and running. But staring at a blank screen rarely provided the inspiration for those first few woods to hook the reader.
So my routine was to get up from my desk and head off to the canteen and let the brain free-wheel for a moment. Almost without fail as I was adding boiling water to my teabag, those magical first words would jump into my head. I'd quickly get back and start writing – sometimes not even getting a sip of tea until the article was drafted out. It still works now. So I think there's something to be said for distractions.
So what's the main thing that distracts you when you should be writing?