Every day I wage a battle against distractions. I have to fight them constantly before I can get any writing done. Distractions besiege me on two fronts: the first internal, the second external. Internally, there are my daydreams, regrets, disappointments, hopes, and idle thoughts, which flicker through my mind one after another and, if I do not put a check on them, can, before I know it, eat up minutes and hours of my time. Externally, there’s technology, the Internet, the wealth of interesting content out there, social media, people, and life itself as well.
In our day and age it is easier than ever to be distracted, because of smartphones, tablets, interconnectedness, and the wealth of information and of things ready for us to consume. There are millions of sites out there, millions of apps, millions of people to ‘connect with’, and so many stores, so many things to buy, so many things to do. I am both confused and overwhelmed by so many possibilities. And you know what? It’s enough toturn on your WiFi for all these to flood you.
I wish I could write well with my Internet on, but then something crosses my mind and I have to check it, and then that leads to something else, and so on in a vicious circle. Next thing I know hours have passed and I am confused because I have assimilated more information than I can process. But let’s not blame the Internet alone. Hobbies, friends, and even family, all of these can be distractions for the aspiring writer.
“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for contructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.” ~Rollo May
There’s a lot of content out there that can help us write better and get published, a lot of inspirational examples. But it’s so much easier to start your day online than to get some writing work done, isn’t it?
Reading, too, can be a distraction. Reading helps us expand our vocabulary and assimilate information, and has a positive subconscious effect on our writing ability, but the fact of the matter is that reading a lot doesn’t necessarily make one a great writer.
I try to write in the morning with my Internet off, and refrain from going online until the afternoon. I read in the evening, when it’s quiet. While I write, I keep my phone turned off, and my tablet out of sight. And as to relatives, they can’t get past the locked door. But there’s a danger to this, of course…
“Talent develops in solitude, character develops in the stream of life.” ~ Goethe