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OTHER ITA SITES:
Distractions: Irritants To Writers
You need to write; you are eager to write; you sit down to write. The phone rings; your neighbor comes to your door with her personal problems; your children fight. These types of distractions happen to all the writers, even when they plan their writing session according to the times when they are least likely to be distracted. Still, no matter how much they complain, most writers deal with distractions successfully and continue with their writing.
If writers are flexible and recognize distractions as part of the process, they can devise ways to deal with that dilemma. In my home, although I have a separate room to work in, I set my regular writing space in the corner of the living area, so I can be in control of the goings on. In two or three strides, I can reach to my kitchen to handle the cooking; I can keep the family members company, since they canít manage their lives without talking to me; and when they are watching television with the sound too loud, I can still concentrate because I keep a box of ear plugs on my desk.
Maintaining an organized work space and scheduling the work also helps. Plus, just in case, I hide a can of bug spray under the desk since I live in Florida where, due to Sauna-like conditions, an explosion of insect forms can invade my whereabouts without any warning.
Most of the time, outside distractions like these are easy enough to handle. The worst distractions, however, are the ones that come from inside a writer. When some writers sit down to write, they find they want to do something else or they procrastinate. They check the e-mail; surf the web; fool around with the graphics or the music inside their computers, etc. These things happen because a writer may feel panicky when facing the blank page or the computer screen. The cure is to write anything, just anything, or to start from where he left off yesterday, even if it means heíll delete what he is writing at the moment.
Some of the distractions writersí minds come up with might result from some kind of an inner rebellion. Writers pride themselves as being free and do not adjust to authority figures well. When a deadline, a work under contract, an editing job, or a rewrite shows up, the mind arranges a full-blown mutiny and the fickle muse starts playing around in other fields. At this time, the assault of ideas from everywhere, minus the ideas for the task at hand, afflicts the writer.
When writers are bombarded with ideas that seem fantastic at the moment, they want to go after them. In this case, the best approach is to jot down the ideas either in a notebook or a notepad file. I have a notepad file minimized while I type, because alien ideas attack even when I am in the middle of an earthbound manuscript.
Possessing an unpredictable mind is the writerís destiny and all writers have to deal with its burden. Yet, every so often, a distraction may save the work in the form of a word or phrase the writer didnít think of before or an additional idea or an inspiration that may add to the well-being of the piece he is busy writing.
Ultimately, if the work at hand is important to the writer, cajoling his concentration and fixing his attention on the subject may prove beneficial. After writing a few pages, he may find himself truly absorbed in the project until he carries it to the end. That is when the writerís knack to focus his attention will generate productivity.
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