5 Strategies to Banish Writing Distractions for Good

by Suzannah Freeman

Girl with television in snow

One of the biggest complaints I hear from writers is about the difficulty of distractions.

Twitter. Facebook. Google Reader. These social media outlets are highly tempting to the average writer, not to mention the everyday interruptions of a career, housework, and television.

Are there strategies we can use to help keep us on track during a writing session?

Check out these 5 ways to banish writing distractions for good:

1. Dark Room Feature

If you find yourself looking at all the shiny buttons and tempting options on your desktop, try a dark room feature, which blocks out everything on your screen and leaves you with nothing but a blank page and cursor.

Download Dark Room for Windows here.

Download WriteRoom for Macs here.

2. Freedom

This is a program for both Mac and Windows users, which blocks your internet connection for whatever amount of time you specify. Simply type in the number of minutes you need to concentrate, and voila–you’ll be internet free.

Download Freedom for Mac or Windows here.

3. Schedule Your Distractions

You love Twitter, right? Me too. It’s a great social outlet for writers.

But, instead of tweeting while you’re supposed to be writing, schedule your messages ahead of time by using a program like HootSuite. Just type in what you want to say, add any necessary links, then decide when want your tweet to go live.

Check out HootSuite here.

4. Pencil and Paper

If you find yourself distracted by pretty much everything on your computer, try getting back to basics: write with a pen and paper.

Leave the house, if you must. Grab only what you need, take a walk, and find yourself a quiet place to write.

5. Embrace the Noise

Many writers find themselves unable to write except in complete silence.

If you’re one of those writers, why not deliberately condition yourself to write with background noise?

Start with some quiet music playing on the stereo, then slowly build up your tolerance until you barely notice the noise any more.

Distraction Free

Anything that prevents us from writing is something we need to address, if we want to be successful as writers.

Learn to free yourself from ongoing distractions, and make the most of your writing session every single time.

What things distract you  most from your writing?

Today’s Challenge: List your top three writing distractions, then decide how you will eliminate them from your writing sessions in the future.

About the Author: Suzannah Windsor Freeman is the founder of Write It Sideways, a blog where writers learn new skills, define their goals, and increase their productivity. She is co-founder of the Better Writing Habits challenge.

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