Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fighting Distractions - Guest Blog by Author Lucy Felthouse

As a writer, one of the most difficult things I have to deal with is getting distracted from my work. Aside from basic needs, like eating, sleeping and using the toilet; there are also got emails, Twitter, Facebook, mobile phone... the list is endless.

I'm very easily distracted, too. A car door slamming, voices, sirens; I'm there, looking out of the window to see if anything interesting is happening. It never is. The only time looking out of the window helped anyone is when I saw the old lady fall in the snow and ran out to help pick her up – but that's another story.

So it's a constant battle to stay focussed. Keep writing, writing, writing. Nooo... you don't need to read that email right now, at least finish your sentence! I'm terrible. I can't even listen to music whilst writing, which is a shame because I love music. I can do my other jobs, like PR, marketing and web design whilst singing along (terribly, I might add) to songs, but not writing. If I put music on, it's like it scrambles my brain or something and the words just don't come out. I even tried some classical music, thinking perhaps it was the lyrics distracting me. It was better, but not brilliant. So I have to have quiet.

As you know, it's pretty difficult to achieve quiet. It probably wouldn’t help, anyway. I think even if I lived alone, in a house in the middle of nowhere, I'd probably still find something to grab my attention. Birds singing, wind blowing... anything. It's a wonder I ever get anything finished. I do, though. I've discovered two very effective ways of making me stop messing around and get on with it:

• Look at the publishing credits of some of my favourite authors and think I'll never get anywhere near that – ever – if I don't get a move on

• Take a peek at my to-do list. I'm my own worst enemy, often taking on too much. But it helps to give me drive and determination to cross things off the list.

I'm sure many writer-types are nodding at the above. I'm equally sure there are others rocking out to some cool-ass music wondering what on earth I'm going on about. But that's the thing – we're all different, but we've got one thing in common: nobody is perfect (OK, except maybe Jared Padalecki – see, another distraction!) and that's one of my many imperfections.

But I don't care. After all, wouldn't life be boring if everything was easy?

And no, I'm not telling you how many times I checked Twitter and Facebook while I wrote this. No way.


Find more information about Lucy Felthouse on her website, http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/.

You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Her latest release, The Great Outdoors Vol 2 is available on Amazon, 1PlaceforRomance and Smashwords.


Tina Donahue said...

Great post, Lucy - I've found getting away from writing for a bit relaxes me enough so I can think of what comes next in the plot. In fact, I have my best ideas and solutions to plot problems while I'm exercising on my stationary bike. What's more, thinking of writing while I'm exercising makes the time go sooooo much faster. :)

Delaney Diamond said...

Lucy, I feel your pain. I can't have the TV on when I write. And I listen to music only as a source of inspiration, and then I turn it off when I begin to write.

My distractions tend to be social media. When my first book came out, I was constantly online reading and participating in discussions. I didn't want to miss anything, and I wanted to network and interact as much as possible.

This year, I'm still not where I'd like to be, but I have cut back drastically on my social media interaction and tried to become more systematic about it. I scan subject lines and participate periodically instead of all the time. There are so many groups and lists to be a part of, if I actively participated in all of them, not only would I not get any writing done, I wouldn't get anything done!

Thanks for sharing.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I love your blog Lucy. I know exactly what you mean about distractions from writing. I have problems with writing if I check my emails first. Like a burning addiction, I want to see my messages. If I go there first, I never get back to writing.
I love the cover for The Great Outdoors. It is so interesting. I wish you every success, Lucy.

Rawiya said...

OMG, definitely a great post! I am always distracted while writing. I have three kids. The hubby and my 3 yr old daughter and 12 yr old son. That is why I usually write when its quiet. 12am and on.

My hubby is a gamer, so the Ps3 is constantly on and he yells at the game all the time. I cannot concentrate with that going.

Then like you say, the lists, FB, Twitter, Livejournal, Goodreads, you name it going.

Music however helps me write. Most of the time, I have it on while doing it especially when a particular song was the inspiration.

Lovely blog Lucy!

Redameter said...

I find distractions help me sometimes. I mean, I love to listen to the mockingbirds, they make me happy, so that puts my mind in a good place to write. I can have a baby on my knee and write. Distrations are just like clutter, they don't bother me a bit. They help me get on with it. But like you say, we are all different. You have to take a break though and allow yourself some peace of mind. Try looking at it as giving you incentive.

Great post. Enjoyed it.

Fiona McGier said...

I'm with you, Lucy, I can't do any writing with music on. I love my I-pod, but I need to wear my noise-canceling headphones when I write. With multiple adults in the house, all of whom have TVs, stereos, computers, etc. it's noisy up until about 2am around here! Hence my usual lack of sleep, when I stay up late writing. But still, the stories must come out, so there we are!
Interesting post...nice to meet you.

Lucy Felthouse said...

Interesting to see how everyone else feels about distractions. I so wish I could write with music on, as I love it, but I can't :(