National Young Writers Month – Day 13 – How not to get distracted while writing

As part of my internship with Express Media, I am currently in charge of orchestrating National Young Writer’s Month (NYWM).(Published in NYWM site)

DAY 13

In previous posts we’ve talked about alleviating writers block. This post is slightly similar, only this time we’re going to discuss how not to get distracted while writing.

Let’s be honest, there are a multitude of things that can distract us from our writing goals – unexpected events to attend, laziness, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr…the list goes on forever. The internet itself is a MAJOR distraction, and typically the one we fall victim to the most considering that many of our pieces are typed up and not handwritten.

Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom, once told TIME Magazine that he disabled the internet connection by literally sticking a cable into the ethernet port and sealing it with crazy glue. But it didn’t end there – he then severed the cable so he couldn’t use it anymore!

“It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction,” was his reasoning.

Now we’re not trying to say you have to go to that extent (because let’s face it, we NEED the internet), but there are other practical ways to tackle distractions.

– First things first, turn your phone off. If you are not waiting for an important call, then there is no need to have it on. That way you won’t be distracted by constant notifications and various apps. When you think about it, writing is a lonely task and requires immense peace and solitude in order to complete it to your best ability.

– Clean your desk – a cluttered desk is a cluttered mind. Mess only disorganises your thoughts and ideas, The only things you really need on your desk is a drink (water, coffee or even alcohol, take your pick!), and a pad and pen in case you receive any epiphanies about your writing that you might forget.

– Have silence, absolute silence. You need your creative flair to bloom during the process, and it won’t happen unless you’re in a quiet and comfortable space. But with that said, we do understand that sometimes music needs to be played in the background to keep you awake and inspired. Check out these instrumental film scores from Richochet Magazine.

– Start in the morning – Now we don’t mean you need to get up super bright and early to get a sufficient amount of writing done (everybody loves a good sleep in), we just mean that writing should be the first thing you should do in your day. That way, chores like mowing the lawn or washing the dishes won’t distract you because you’ll be so absorbed in writing.

– Take regular breaks. The brain is a sensitive thing, and burning it out by spending an entire day writing non stop is not helping you at all. Give time to yourself to breathe and relax. But don’t make it too long or else it’ll be hard to get back into the pattern. We recommend 15 minute breaks per hour.

– Motivate yourself – have a writing quote stuck in front of you, give yourself an hourly reward, do anything you want to stay motivated, just as long as you get your writing goals completed.

Need more advice? Check out this guide by write to donehere.

Opportunities and events

We’re always on the lookout for writers to be featured as part of NYWM. If you’re happy to answer a few questions about you and your writing, please fill out this form.

All you bustling writers in the media and communications industry listen up!

Hardie Grant Media are seeking an editorial intern for a 3 month period. Tasks include pitching story ideas, fact checking and editing, and writing web content for the site and social media. More details are here.

North Sydney Times are seeking a writer/journalist to join their expanding team on an internship basis. There are a range of categories to write for including real estate, opinion pieces, food and much more. Apply here.

Bauer Media are seeking a lifestyle editor to join their team and work across their Women’s Day and Yours magazines. More details are here.

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” – Ray Bradbury

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