Top 10 Writing Distractions

We all have them.  Those little blighters who woo us away from the actual work, tricking us into thinking it needs to be done, like, now. Here are my top 10, in no particular order because let’s face it, procrastination has no standards.

  1. Food
    Argument: Because I need to eat to LIVE!  Right? I think that’s a pretty good argument, don’t you?
    Reality: Getting up for chocolate, or to open the fridge door and stare for five minutes only to find that it is still stocked with the same products that were there 20 minutes ago when you last looked and decided there was nothing in there you want, is not the same as eating your three meals a day so that you can, you know, live. Get in, do what you need to do, then back away. Also, if you are like me and convinced that chocolate is a plausible energy booster, keep it by your computer so that you don’t “need” to get up for it.
  2. Housework
    Argument: Because a clean house is a clean mind.
    Reality: The wardrobe that has needed cleaning out since 1982 can wait another day while you write your damn novel.
  3. Reading
    Argument: Because Stephen King said that “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”
    Reality: Reading is so very important to writing, but if you spend absolutely ALL your time reading then you won’t have any time to use all those new skills and words in your own writing. Balance your time between the two.
  4. Staring at Walls
    Argument: Because I can.
    Reality: They’re not going anywhere, look at them later.
  5. Sleeping
    Argument: Because I can’t write with my eyes closed…and I’m tired! And dreams make great fodder for stories.
    Reality: You slept the required seven hours last night and another nanna nap is just not necessary. Yes, bed looks so good right now and it’s cold and rainy outside, but hey, you can sleep when you’re a hundred and eighty and after you’ve published your 50th bestseller.
  6. DVDs
    Argument: Because eight day Buffy & Angel marathons are totally legitimate methods of studying the fantasy genre and excellent examples of brilliant writing (thanks Joss Whedon).
    Reality: Moderation is the key. Get creative inspiration and watch an episode (or four) but then get back to business.
  7. Blogging
    Argument: Because I’m totally honing my writing skills and getting constructive feedback from a wider audience.
    Reality: While you’re blogging about writing you’re novel, you’re not actually writing your novel. Do what you need to do, but don’t forget about the bigger picture.
  8. Social Media
    Argument: Because I have to connect with my readers and get my name out there.
    Reality: Twitter and Facebook and Google+ are your frenemies. They will help you get your name out there and act all nice to your face, but just when you least expect it, BAM! Those good intentions of yours to spend a mere half hour replying to tweets and promoting your blog, all of a sudden turn into the Black Hole of Evil Time-Sucking Badness. Before you know it five hours have gone by and you come to your senses only to find that you’ve been watching ninja cats and talking unicorns called Charlie on YouTube for an unspecified amount of time. How did you even get there? The Black hole of Evil Time-Sucking Badness has ways, and social media is its minion. Don’t be a sucker.
  9. Exercise
    Argument: Because keeping healthy and fit is important.
    Reality: Thinking about exercise, buying gym clothes and talking about exercise are not the same as actually doing exercise. Or so I’m told. 30 minutes a day is all it takes. Do it, then get back to the writing.
  10. Time
    Argument: He’s my arch nemesis and purposefully made it so there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything just to spite me.
    Reality: Time is an asshole. He always has and always will be an asshole. When you have two hours to finish an assignment, he thinks it’s funny to go at the speed of light just to keep you on your toes. When you’re at work with nothing to do he slows down so the minutes drag by and you end up death staring the clock. He ain’t gonna change, so your only choice is to work with what you have seeing as the bastard is not gonna budge.
What are your biggest distractions and time wasters?
~storytelling nomad~

54 comments on “Top 10 Writing Distractions

  1. “Because eight day Buffy & Angel marathons are totally legitimate methods of studying the fantasy genre and excellent examples of brilliant writing (thanks Joss Whedon).”

    Exactly! How can I write about vampires if I don’t closely study what’s already been done? Or perfectly describe James Marster’s amazing cheekbones without doing an exacting case study? ;)

  2. Hah! I tell myself I should get up to eat too. “I’m wasting away, shriveling in on myself. I must eat if I am to type coherent sentences.” Yeah, I ate lunch; I don’t really need the muffin. :-P

  3. The reading defintely gets me. I spend so much time reading writing-related stuff (such as this great blog!) that I can get distracted from my own writing. There is nothing I love more than to sit back and read the latest copy of Writer’s Digest.
    I can see how blogging could be a distraction too. My blogging is kind of giving me more ideas for things I want to write a book about someday. One of my goals is for my blog to be a springboard to my writing career.

    • Reading is an especially huge distraction for me because I very easily convince myself that it’s all time spent for ‘the greater good’. I’d like blogging to be a springboard for my writing career also, but have never heard it put so eloquently! Thanks for the comment Jeuron :)

  4. SO TRUE. You’ve got it down. Those are all the reasons.

    The way I sometimes rationalize doing things that aren’t writing when I should be writing is by reminding myself that if I never live life, my outlook and viewpoint won’t develop, and then I won’t be a good writer :P.

    • You are absolutely right. Experiences, people and just living the daily grind are all things that feed the imagination. My problem is when I get carried away! Oops!

    • This can also branch out to staring at ceilings, doors, out windows and at air itself. There are no limitations to the distracting nature of simply staring!

  5. Twitter, video games, Netflix, and spending time with my family. Rather proud of the last one, but still one of my biggest time consumers.

    I try to find ways to fight it all, like taking my Ereader (with word copy of my short story) and a notebook to bed, to work on edits, but it is still a struggle.


    • Spending time with family is never time wasted! I force myself to stay away from video games because I get so easily addicted to the damn things. At least you’re making proactive steps to make the best use of the time you have. Out of curiosity, which e-reader do you use? I’ve had my eye on the Kindle for some time but have never actually seen one ‘in the flesh’.

  6. Today it’s #8. I’m just trying to connect with other writers, and I found your blog. Super writing. I love it. Now if I could just discover how to understand and use facebook I wouldn’t feel so old-fashioned and out of it. Maybe I should write a book about facebook for the 50+ age group!

    Keep this blog going. It’s great.

    • #8 is the bane of my existence. Period. I’m so glad you’re enjoying storytelling nomad though! Feel free to get distracted here anytime ;)

      As for Facebook, as far as social networking goes I’d go out on a limb and say it’s one of the easier platforms to use, it just takes a bit of practice. In saying that, they do seem to be getting into the habit lately of making drastic changes to the layout, which I can assure you even the teens and twenty year olds are spewing about and having trouble understanding. So don’t feel old-fashioned! You’re active on the blogosphere, which pretty much makes you part of the cool crowd anyway ;)

  7. I have all sorts of distractions. Yours are good, I’ll probably steal a few. Staring at walls, or, most recently, lightning storms, is my favorite – it can take up hours! Anything to keep from writing, right?

    oh, dear. I need to find a new pen.

    • LIGHTNING STORMS are the best! We don’t get enough of them here. Sigh.

      P.S. Finding a new pen can be a lengthy business, fraught with peril and the risk of further distractions. I feel your pain.

  8. Fun post. I’m guilty of all of those. One thing that helps me is leaving the house. If I go to the library or a coffee shop, I get so much more work done. If you treat it like a job, it will become one.

    • That is very good advice; advice that I don’t indulge as often as I should. I wouldn’t say that I see writing as a chore or a job, I really do love it, but I’m far too easily distracted. I like to see results straight away with things and sometimes writing can take time, so I do other smaller things to feel like I’m accomplishing something immediately. It’s a strange place my brain!
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

  9. Great post. Thanks for liking my blog and allowing me to follow you home! I’m quite comfortable here, among fellow wall-starers and food procrastinators.

    Also love seeing fellow Wrimos prepping for the big day!


  10. Katy, you forgot videogames. They are truly the modern apples on the Garden of Eden’s time-wasting tree. Could I do without the Sims and Age of Empires in my life? Yes. Do I want to? No.
    Now there’s Cityville on Facebook which I’m currently addicted to. I know for a fact that I would have finished my book by now if it wasn’t for Facebook. Curses! :P

    • I did indeed! But you know, I don’t play many video games because I get so hopelessly addicted to them. As a kid it was hard to pull me away from my Nintendo 64 and a few years back I downloaded WoW and it was bad, bad news! Katy and video games don’t play well together! Lol

  11. You got them all there, housework doesn’t get much of a look in for me. I figure that it all just gets dirty again anyway. Visiting others blogs is what get’s me. I just love seeing what other people are thinking & doing & writing and….. Should I go and write something now? Wait, I am writing. mmmm. I see what you mean.

    • I love housework because it’s so easy and you see results immediately. But you’re right, it’s only temporary. I just like my quick fix of accomplishment!

      Yes, the old “but I’m writing now” scenario gets me far too often. Sigh. Can we ever win?!

  12. Yeah this is the hilarious one. Looking forward to reading many more. 4 is the soundest argument, while 10 is the funniest. :)

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  14. This is an amazing post, and so very true!
    I’m also glad to see you a Buffy fan! ;) Are you a team Angel or team Spike? :P

    • Thanks Becky! Oh Buffy! I think I’m due for another complete series marathon. I’d have to say team Angel; they were clearly meant for each other. But Spike pre-Buffy-romance is awesome. Then in S7 he redeems himself again at the end and I can’t help but switch to team Spike. Such is the brilliance of Joss Whedon. Plus, there’s just something about James Marsters. I met him last year and he’s still got it. Then again, David Boreanaz. Oh, I can’t decide!

  15. I am torn between #1, #6, and #8. Chocolate, of whatever form, gets my creative juices flowing, but so does a good episode of Buffy (go, team Spike!), reading a creative blog like yours or seeing a YouTube video. And have you experienced “The Vampire Diaries” TV show yet? Damon is a hilarious vampire character and blessed with some really good one-liners, ably delivered by the actor who portrays him.

    • It’s funny you mention Vampire Diaries. My best friend recommended I start watching it last week, and I ended up spending two days getting through the first season. It’s not Buffy, but it is pretty damn awesome (and addictive!). And you’re right, Damon has the best lines in the show! He really makes it.

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