Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I don’t write in a vacuum. I’m not just a writer. I can’t turn off the world for my craft. Distractions are one of the biggest problems I face as a writer and the biggest impediment to writing my books.

I don’t have a full-time, paying job around which I have to schedule my writing. I’m a stay-at-home mom to two children who are old enough to fend for themselves if necessary, not that you’d know it from all the “MOMs” yelled around here. I try to write during the day while they’re in school. Usually, I can get in at least a couple of hours. However, life often gets in the way. There are errands to be done, phone calls to make, rooms to clean, groceries to buy, etc. My kids depend on me, as does my husband. While everyone is supportive of my writing, they still need my help with things, and sometimes my plans for finding somewhere quiet to write just don’t work.

Then there are the social distractions: Facebook, Twitter, email and blogs. I leave them on in the background. Since I’m home alone most of the time, those things provide my social opportunities, my ways of interacting with people from the confines of my home. What’s great about those mediums is that they make it easy to take a five minute break and go right back to work. What’s not so great is that it’s very easy to get distracted.

Lately, there’s been a bit of a weird distraction. Starting February 1, I’m participating in the New Jersey chapter of RWA’s JeRoWriMo. It’s a 30K word challenge in 30 days. I’ve never done this before and I’m a bit nervous. But I’m also really excited and I’m finding myself getting inspired. I’ve got two manuscripts I’m planning to work on during that time period and the ideas are percolating. But since I can’t actually start writing until Feb. 1, all those ideas are doing right now are distracting me.

So, what’s my solution to the myriad distractions that keep me from writing? Well, a lot of it has to do with good intentions, while some of it involves actual plans. For the family distractions, I try to look at my calendar each day and plan when I think the best time for writing will be. I find if I schedule my writing, just like I schedule everything else, I’m more likely to get to it.

As for the social distractions, well, those are tougher. Part of my strategy is willpower; just sitting down and doing it. But part of it is also going easy on myself. Being social is not a bad thing. I’m allowed to “talk” to people. And it’s very helpful when asking for writing or industry advice. But like everything, it has to be done in moderation. So I use social media during breaks, after I’ve gotten my to-do list done, or as a needed distraction when I’m stuck on something.

As for JeRoWriMo, well, it may distract me temporarily, but ultimately, I’m going to have written 30,000 words in a month. And if I’m able to do that, and damper the other distractions, I’ll consider myself to have conquered this writing problem!


  1. It should be "legal" to plot the story for the February push, Jen. I've read that it is for the gib November NaNoWriMo. I think that would get you a great starting platform and ease the waiting stress.

  2. Oh it is, but I can't write that way. So for now, I'm just reminding myself of all the scenes I've created in my head and then on Feb. 1 I'm writing them all down!

  3. Being retired, and living on my own, I don't have the distractions that a lot of writers have. Okay, so the house needs cleaning from time to time, and I do have other commitments, as well as real-life socialising, but I still have a lot of time for writing. My biggest problem is self-discipline. I could write my novels a lot quicker if I actually used all the hours I have free. But then there's FB, and blogs, and critiquing, and emails ...

  4. Yup! Someone I know sets a timer and doesn't stop until it bings. I might have to try that sometime.

  5. oh you can do it, Jennifer.

    I did the Nanowrimo in November...50K words in a month. Result: My novel is ready. I would never have been able to do it cause of the many limitations and distractions.

    Wishing you the best!
    I like how you start your blog with one letter...following you :)
    Cheers to a new journey!

  6. Hi Ruchira, thanks so much for following us and for commenting here! I appreciate the encouragement. I think I just need to get started already--you know, anticipation is often worse than the real thing!

  7. I totally agree that part of dealing with distractions is will-power. Deciding to sit down and write instead of checking e-mail, Facebook, blogs, etc. can be half the battle.

    Those life intrusions, family, jobs, etc. are a bit more mandatory and often take priority (as they should), but it's the things that we do have control over which sometimes take away the biggest chunks of writing time. It's up to us to make 'smart' choices in those circumstances.

  8. Debra, you bring up a good point. Prioritizing is key. Sometimes the writing takes priority, other times the family, etc. does. The key is to make sure nothing suffers!