A good writer pours his/her heart into every grueling sentence, spending countless hours weaving words together until they transform the reader to another time or place. Finding a large slot of time to write can prove a struggle in today’s busy world. And if you’re like me, even when I have the time, distractions often tug at me, eating away at the minutes. With so many things pulling at us–family needs, job commitments, church functions, phone calls, media devices, household duties–staying focused can be a real challenge.
“Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.”
We all deal with distractions. How many times do you check your phone or email a day? How many of us cheat one aspect of our lives to fill another? If we aren’t careful, we can crowd out what’s truly important. Here are five essentials to help keep distractions at a minimum in writing, and in everyday life as well.
1) Pray: Writers: Start each writing session by asking the Lord’s will to be done in your writing. As Christian writers, our purpose is to bring glory and honor to God. He alone can give us the words to speak into the hearts of others. Everyone : Start your day by seeking the Lord’s guidance and blessing. We never know how He might use us to touch others’ lives.
2) Organize : Writers: Begin by organizing your thoughts. What do you want to accomplish in this particular writing session? What’s your goal? Having a plan of action can help you keep on task. Everyone: Make a mental list of your plans for today and how you hope to accomplish them. Make the best use of your time by determining beforehand how you’ll go about them.
3) Prioritize: Writers: Decipher what is most essential for that day. Have you made commitments to another writer, editor, or agent you need to follow through with? Do you have a deadline to keep, or a schedule to maintain? Start there, then work your way down to the other items on your list. Everyone: Ask yourself, what matters most? Decide what needs to be done first. Then chip away at each task one by one.
4) Eliminate: Writers: Remove unnecessary distractions–noise, clutter, phones–whatever lures you from your writing. Resist the urge to check social media sites. Set a time limit on how long you’ll write, then reward yourself afterward with a break of some sort. Scrivener is great for this. You can easily set a word count and work to meet your goal. Everyone: Remove unnecessary clutter from your life. What can make your life easier? What can you eliminate that will help enhance the rest of your life?
5) Disengage: Writers: When your allotted writing time is over, give it a rest. Enjoy time with family, other hobbies, or focusing on other commitments. You’ll be fresher and more ready for another writing session when you lead a balanced life.(Of course it’s always fun to brainstorm in the shower, doing laundry, or while preparing a meal!) =) Everyone: Seek a healthy balance between rest and work. When at work, “work with all your heart, as for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23). But when you’re home–be home. Enjoy the blessing of resting both mind and body. After all, even the Lord rested on day 7 after creation! So what’s good for Him, must be good for us!
How do you handle distractions as a writer? I’d love to hear your thoughts!