Thursday, 2 July 2015

How To Cut Distractions

Brecon Beacons Visitor Centre - Maria A Smith

We've moved to Pandy, in Monmouthshire, the caravan site is small and peaceful, and we're right on the edge of the Breacon Beacons National Park. We've been here three nights already, and I'm trying to think what we've done.

We went into Abergavenny yesterday, just six miles down the road, a vibrant little town, with lots to see and do, and we've been to Brecon where we had lunch by the canal basin. There's been lots of walking, and more good food, and I've mainly been relaxing and taking it easy. I needed the time out to sort out in my head what to do in the remaining half of 2015.

A mini review of the last six months, tells me my writing output has been pretty grim. I can do better, but it will have to be at the expense of something else. That's the problem I'm facing, as a big chunk of my time needs to be taken up with exercise and looking after myself. Then of course there is the day job, the family, and the chores. I'm accepting of this, because it's the way it has to be for now. However, I'd like to try and improve my performance when it comes to writing output as it's something I love doing.

There are so many distractions though, and this was the topic of #writingchat last night, which was lively as usual. I had all day to think about what distracts me away from my writing, and ways to combat it. And if you boil it down, a lot of it is procrastination. Maybe as much as 50% of lost time is me dithering and not getting down to the writing. Hell, being honest, there is no maybe, I've definitely procrastinated these last six months. So how to solve the problem then?

Based on #writingchat conversations last night, I'm taking some of the ideas put forward by other writers.

  • Make a Plan - The plan must include all the important things that need to be done, not just the writing related stuff. A weekly plan is best.

  • To Do List - This has to be part of the plan, and I'll need to break it down into daily tasks. It's a good thing to do, because I'll see at a glance what I need to get through, and can plan my day accordingly. 

  • Prioritise   - So I have a plan and a 'To Do' list, now I need to get it in my diary so I can make a date with myself, make it official. So it could go something like this, dentist at 3pm, start making the evening meal at 5pm, go for a walk around the block 6.15pm  - 6.45pm, writing hour 7pm - 8pm. 

  • Get Ready - In advance, in other words, get my laptop out, pens, paper, tea, chocolate bar, or whatever I need, before the appointed hour. Download a nifty little egg timer device. Go here to find out more.

  • Turn it Off - Pull the plug on the internet, set the mobile to airplane mode or turn that off too. Shut the door. Let the family know I'm not available for the next hour. 

  • Start - And don't look back. Don't stop until its time to stop. Just write.

  • When The Whistle Blows - Leave the last sentence half finished. Yes, I'm going to try it, in the hope that when I go back to the writing, I'll be eager to get that sentence sorted. 

  • Reward - Just a small one then. Will have to give this one some thought, don't want to be eating too many chocolate bars. Well I do, but you know what I mean.

That, my writerly friends is the new plan. I gotta keep trying. Maybe you need help too? Feel free to join me in my quest to be more productive over the next six months. 

Next time I write here, I'll be back at home, catching up, and that will be a good time to implement the above plan. 

Two Little Birds - Maria A Smith


  1. A lovely view! Not sure when we'll get back to Wales, but it's on the list! (We actually spent last night at home and will be tonight - longest period since we collected the van!)

    1. Oh I don't blame you getting out and about...why not, if you can. Enjoy!

  2. Thanks for the useful summary, Maria. Enjoy the rest of your time away.

    1. Thank you Bea, have managed to sort out the first couple of steps already.

  3. Lovely photograph, Maria, not far from home for me. A great post. I shall try to keep your list as a reminder to keep on track with my writing. Good luck in implementing your plan.

    1. Thank you Jan, and you live in a lovely part of the world...really enjoyed our trip to Wales.

  4. What a beautiful place. And as for the writing, don't forget that writing our blogs is writing. I'm a firm believer that if we relax and don't worry about it, writing will happen...I think!

    1. You are a wise owl Ros, I believe that too.

  5. You know what they say, right? The best laid plans .... ;) Relax and enjoy the holiday! Stress blocks the creativity just as much as procrastination!

  6. I use an old-style cooking timer (a 'pinger') and set it for 30 minutes. I MAKE myself keep working until it goes off and then I have a stretch before carrying on for another half an hour. It works for me. Also, deciding to make a plan is half the battle. Sounds to me as though you are on the road to success.


I really appreciate you taking the time to leave me a comment, and I try to reply to every one. Many thanks!

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