How to Overcome Writing Distractions | Rebecca Livermore | Skillshare

How to Overcome Writing Distractions

Rebecca Livermore, Microsoft Office for Creatives

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7 Lessons (15m)
    • 1. Intro

      1:13
    • 2. People You Love

      2:25
    • 3. When Other People Aren't the Problem

      2:44
    • 4. Distraction Free Writing Programs

      1:00
    • 5. My Favorite Method

      2:30
    • 6. Use Noise Effectively

      3:55
    • 7. Your Project

      0:56

About This Class

Have you ever noticed that when you sit down to write, you immediately think of a million and one other things you need to do? And once you decide to make yourself write, you're immediately distracted by email, YouTube, and social media notifications? Then when you shut those off, your phone rings! 

Such is the life of a writer. 

The problem is, without getting distractions under control, you'll write less, publish less, and consequently most likely fail to accomplish your writing goals. 

The good news is, it doesn't have to be that way!

In this class, I cover common writing distractions and how to overcome them.

Can't wait to have you join the class!

Transcripts

1. Intro: distractions are one of the biggest issues you'll face as a writer. If you're like a lot of writers the moment you sit down to write, you immediately think of a 1,000,001 other things you need to dio. And when you do sit down to write, you may find yourself distracted by email and social media notifications, text messages, phone calls can interruptions from family members. Hi, I'm Rebecca Livermore and I am a full time writer. Having written 15 books and counting. I know a thing or two about writing distractions, and I'm here to tell you that it is possible to overcome them. If you felt that I was describing you at the beginning of this video, this class is for you. In it all dive into how to deal with family members or others who live with you, how to turn technology pitfalls into advantages. My favorite way to focus and more. So what are we waiting for? Let's go ahead and dive in 2. People You Love: whether you're married or single. Chances are you have people in your life who either support or unfortunately in some cases , undermine your writing efforts. Those who undermine your writing efforts conduce so in a number of ways. For example, you may have family members who don't really believe that you have what it takes to be a writer. But even if you do have people who believe you can write, they may struggle with giving you the time and space to do so. There are a couple of ways to deal with this. For instance, you can write when other people are sleeping or not home. You can also have a good heart to heart. Talk with them about your need to write and come up with a solution that works for everyone . I'll give you a personal example. My husband and I both work from home often right next to each other. The problem that we both had is that we enjoy talking to each other Sometimes. I wanted to talk when he wanted to write, and other times he was in the mood to talk. When I was in the mood to write this frustrated both of us. Finally, we decided that we would not talk to each other at all between 9 a.m. And noon. If something comes to mind that we want to discuss with the other person, we make a note of it to discuss later in the day. Other people find it helpful to have an office with the door that can close the closed door . Let's others living with you know that you're writing and for them not to disturb you during that time. If you find that your family or roommates simply can't keep from interrupting you in spite of you having talked with them about it, you may find it helpful to write somewhere other than home. Regardless of the solution that you choose. Be sure to have a plan in place to spend time with and be available to the people close to you and communicate with them regarding when that will be. That way, they won't feel neglected or feel like they're in competition with your writing. They'll know that they're still a priority to you. 3. When Other People Aren't the Problem: Let's face it. Sometimes the problem isn't the people living with you. Sometimes it's you. Yes, you allow yourself to get distracted by anything and everything. Here are a few tips to keep you focused on your writing, whether that be blocked post or books. If you like me, the Internet is a great big bundle of distractions. You hear a sound every time a new email comes in Facebook, YouTube and other notifications pop up every time someone you've subscribed to post something new. On top of that, your addiction to checking social media, email, Google analytics and more suck you into doing anything and everything other than writing. One of the best ways to beat this distraction and time suck is to turn off the Internet for a specific period. You can do this for a whole day once a week or for an hour to every morning, experiment with what works for you in this regard and then treat that time as sacred. Turning off your Internet is a great way to say it's time to write, and nothing is going to get in my way. While there are many distractions online, there are also many online tools that help get things done. For instance, when writing a book or block post, you may need to do some research. Most likely you research online, right? The need to research may stymie you a bit the first few times you disconnect from the Internet before writing. But once you've had that happen to you a time or two, you learn to do your research before turning off your Internet. I personally send blood, post or other content that I may want to use toe one note. And since I can access my one note notebooks both online and on my desktop, the research I've done is readily available to me without an Internet connection. And you can do the same thing with Evernote or other applications that you might want to send your research to before you shut down the Internet. Now, in spite of my best planning, at times, I find that I need some information that I don't have on my computer. When that happens, I make a note of it in the content I'm working on, and I keep writing. This keeps the writing flow going, since I don't stop to look things up while writing. Turning off the Internet makes a huge difference in my overall ability to get things done, since I don't allow myself to be interrupted multiple times while I'm writing. 4. Distraction Free Writing Programs: if you don't want to go as far as turning off the Internet. Another option is to use a distraction free writing program. I personally don't use any distraction free writing programs, because for whatever reason, they don't help me. But I wanted to include them here, since some people have found them helpful. The primary way that they work is that the only thing on your computer screen is a thing you are working on at that moment. Now here are a few programs worth checking out. I'm Writer J. Dark Room and calmly writer. Again, I can personally vouch for these. Since this type of approach, it doesn't do anything for me. But since so many writers swear by them, you might want to give them a try. There are also APS you can use to block certain sites such as Facebook, and all linked to all of those in the resource is document that you'll find in the project area of this class 5. My Favorite Method: in one of my writers groups, I learned about a great technique that helps increase blogging and other types of writing productivity, and that is the Pomodoro technique. Now the basic routine for time management, including writing using the Pomodoro technique, includes the following at the beginning of the week. Write down all writing you want to accomplish during that week. Each day you look at that list and you add items from the list to a to do list for that day . Select the most important task from the to do list. Next, you set a timer for 25 minutes, and you work like mad on the selected item. When the timer goes off, put a check mark by the item to indicate that a quote unquote Pomodoro was completed. Whether or not the task itself was completed after you complete a 25 minute writing session , you take a 3 to 5 minute break before picking up where you left off with another 25 minute work session. The break should be a mindless activity and can be anything from taking a bathroom break, having something to eat or drink, or simply stretching if a task is completed before the timer goes off, spend the remaining time over learning. Go over the work and finer detail, making minor improvements. Once the task is complete, you draw a line through it. After completing 4 25 Minute Pomodoro. Take a 15 to 30 minute break. Now I think the key reason that this works is that it put you into kind of, ah, hyper focus mode. I kind of like to picture it like sprinting. You know, I am going to run as hard and fast as I can for a short period of time, and I'm gonna try to hit the finish line or a certain amount of distance before the timer goes off. So if you treat the Pomodoro of technique like that, you create a goal and you've simply work as hard and fast as you can in the 25 minutes, and then you take that break in between. I think you'll be amazed at how much you can get done in just a hour or two of writing 6. Use Noise Effectively: some people work well, no matter what's happening around them. One of my writer friends wrote full time and was the full source of financial support for her family. When her kids were little, she could write with the kids watching TV and football whizzing past her head, contending, even fazer. Well, unfortunately, I'm just the opposite. The smallest bits of noise throw me off. And because of that, I was surprised to find that noise. When you strategically can help people concentrate and actually get more writing done. One reason that noise helps people concentrate is that it helps to block out other noise. For instance, if a family member is watching TV, you can put on some headphones and listen to something toe block out the TV. The same principle works in a noisy coffee shop or any other place where you can't control the noise that others make. Now it's important to know that not all noise is created equal. For instance, if you want to block out the sound of someone else watching TV and you listen to talk radio to do so, you may find it hard to write while listening to a spirited debate With that in mind, there are two types of noise that I recommend to help block out distractions. My first recommendation is to listen to music. Now, generally speaking, music distracts me when I write put, it helps so many people, and when done right and in small doses, it even helps me. Others swear by it. But again, not all music, just like not all other noise is created equal. The best recommendation that I have for using music to help you concentrate is a program called Focus at Will. It's not free, but there is a free two week trial, and after that it costs less than $10 per month. I'll leave a link for this program in the project area of this class, so be sure to check that out now if music doesn't work for you or if you simply want more than one option for using sound to block out distractions, consider white noise. White noise is simply relaxing sounds that helped to block out other sounds. Sometimes they have kind of a rhythmic aspect to them, which, just, for whatever reason, helps people concentrate. And you know, an example of this. Have you ever noticed that some of your best ideas come when you're taking a shower, and there's just that sound of the water running that is an an example of white noise. But of course, it doesn't work too well to write while you're in the shower, so using white noise is a way to kind of achieve the same result. Not on Lee does it block out some sounds, but it also can increase productivity and ideas and creativity. I personally like nature sounds such as rainfall, and some people find it helpful to even turn on something like a fan again. There's that kind of, like repetitive, worrying sound, and it helps to block out some other noise. You can purchase a white noise machine or find white noise videos on YouTube, and I'll be sure to include links to some of my favorites in the project area of this class . Now, if using noise to block out noise doesn't work for you, consider picking up a pair of noise cancellation headphones. The way those work is that they simply block out noise. They make it where you don't hear it all, or don't hear nearly as much of the noise that's going around you as you would without them 7. Your Project: Well, you've made it through the end of this course on how to block out writing distractions. I hope that you enjoyed this course and that you'll soon join me on the journey towards writing more efficiently and effectively as your project for this class. You'll first of all, choose a method for blocking out distraction. For instance, your method may be too right when others in your family are sleeping or you may turn off the Internet. Use the distraction free writing app or go to the library or use music to help you focus regardless of what you choose. Be sure to share your plan for blocking out distractions in the project area of this class . Thank you so much for taking this course. It means the world to me. If you enjoy this course, I'd really appreciate it if you believe me. A positive review. Thanks so much and happy writing