Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Guest Post: Erin Bassett

Erin Basset is author of the urban fantasy online series, Clock Work (Abandoned Towers Magazine). Today's post deals with a common problem for writers.


Dealing with Distraction

Most writers nest. We dig in, create a space and make ourselves at home before we start work. And for a good percentage of us it's at home. The appeal of writing in your pajamas with whatever beverage of choice readily available and literally surrounded by the comforts of home is hard to resist. But, inevitably, those comforts tend to become distractions. The cat runs across the key board, the kid's boredom demands alleviation only you can give or, if you're like me, the laundry and dirty dishes start to seep into your mind creating a mental block. And even if you aren't bombarded with the everyday there's the mother of all distractions: the Internet. What's a writer to do? Well I have come up with a few simple tricks that keep me focused and the distractions at bay.

1. For those lucky enough to live with loved ones or liked ones: Tell them what you are doing. Don't just hole up in your writer's space with no warning or explanation. If you don't at least attempt to communicate how important your writing time is, how will anyone in the house know?

2. Good way to get at least an hour of uninterrupted time from little ones? Put on a movie for them. My mom used to use Don't Wake Your Mom with Lamb Chop. Dating myself aside, I was thoroughly entertained for an hour and mom got a nap. There's also the option of a day sitter. I used to go over to a neighbour’s house and babysit two kids while their mom practiced karate in the basement. She got her time and we had fun upstairs.

3. Really addicted to the net? Can't resist the temptation to tweet? Put your iPhone in the next room and pull up the timer on your computer. Or get a cooking timer. Set it for 45 minutes. Tell yourself once you have got 45 solid mins of writing then you can go check out face book or tweet. But once again time yourself. Five or so minuets then back to writing. Slowly up the writing time and decrease the distraction time. It will really help time management and slowly break the Net addiction. Then maybe the next time you tweet it will be to tell everyone you have a finished manuscript!

Now, that said, I’m a firm believer that you cannot force a muse. Sometimes the mind is just too full of other things to be creative. It happens to the best of us.

I hope you find these little tricks helpful. And remember: You are not a writer unless you write! So get past those distractions and write on!

Erin Bassett is Senior Editor for CW Productions and her serial Clock Work airs every 5th of the month here.