Melissa is an avid writer and loves to share personal experiences, so others can learn and grow with her.
My goal as a writer is to make sure I can balance my day job while hoping to complete blog posts, freelance writing jobs and of course, my actual novel. Can I even call it a novel yet? It's in its first draft and that seems never-ending. But for this blog post's sake, let us say it is a novel.
But what happens when I go to work towards my writing goals? Let's focus on just the novel right now.
I have moved twice since I began writing it (almost two years ago). (I bet you are questioning why you are taking writer's block advice from someone who has been working on an unfinished novel for nearly two years.) You must be really desperate.
In all seriousness though, I made a lot of progress in all locations. It isn't always a struggle to write and it isn't always the same things that distract you or help you. Part of the writing journey is where you go and what you experience while writing; inside and outside of the story. A writer needs to learn about themselves as well during the process.
What did I discover?
I finally discovered that:
- I need to sit at a table to write.
- I need to sit at a better table to write.
- I need better posture.
- I need a loud food court full of a hundred people or a coffee shop with machines going.
- I need headphones blaring music into my ears, while I ignore everyone around me.
- I need no access to Wifi.
- Timed breaks of one hour, broken up by using my cellphone for 10 minutes.
Why is Number 6 bolded?
Its the biggest one. Not only are people able to hack into my computer on public Wifi (it is so very easy!), I can no longer message my friends, surf the web as a distraction or watch Netflix.
Here is another list:
- Facebook Messenger (I have the computer app now so I no longer need the whole Facebook website open. And I also deleted the Facebook app off my phone.)
- Video Games
- INSTAGRAM (Help me! It's a real problem!)
- My own mind. (It's easy to get lost.)
These are all of my main weaknesses. Only Number 6 isn't fuelled by the internet. I, unfortunately, can't remove that app. It's always on.
When I finally began bringing my laptop (the portal device I write on that remains glued to the unproductive island called my bed) along with me to work and writing before and after, I saw my progress increase. I made a spot for myself at different locations where I felt comfortable and familiar and let myself forget where I was.
I wanted to tune everything out. At home, I want to be distracted. At home, I want to relax. Add the fact that right now, all I have is my bed to sit on, all I accomplished was a nap and fifteen episodes of The Office.
I was producing 3000 words a week at the most at home. When I went out and wrote? 3000 words in three hours. That's one thousand words an hour.
It felt amazing! I felt like I could really finish this. The book felt realistic and possible.
Somehow my mind managed to focus for an hour straight with surrounding movement and people living their lives while I lived mine by writing the lives of fictional characters. I went with my natural timer and allowed myself to reply to messages and scroll Instagram for ten to fifteen minutes. And then I was back at it again.
I was finishing scenes I spent six months thinking about. No longer were they trapped in my brain. I felt lighter.
All in all, every writer is different and different things work to cure their writing struggles.
But think about the distractions the internet causes EVERYONE and not just writers.
Maybe distancing yourself from your modem could do you some good. It couldn't hurt to try, right?
If you are someone who can turn their computer and phone on airplane mode and be disciplined enough to write, then way to go! But I would end up scrolling through Amazon, trying to indulge myself.
I hope my experience with learning my writing kryptonite has helped you think about what might be distracting you from completing that novel!
Now, if I could just figure out a way to put my job on airplane mode.