I'm distracted.



According to my stats, if you're reading this, chances are you got here from my Instagram page. If you were reading my Instagram page, chances are that you were supposed to be doing something else but got distracted by the charms of the Internet. Am I right, anyone?

Don't get me wrong - I'm not telling you to avoid my Instagram page (just the opposite - go check it out if you haven't already!) or to avoid the Internet altogether. I'm just suggesting that it might be the most distracting power in our life and it might be the top reason why we aren't writing when we should be.

I know, because I'm one of the worst offenders. If you see me without my phone, it's because ... actually, I can't think of any possible scenario in which I'd be without it.

Google is very useful. If you want to know how to murder a character and get away with it, you've found the source of such knowledge. (Just don't get caught by whoever is spying on your system, because you know there is someone.) It's when Google turns into Instagram and Instagram turns into Wattpad and Wattpad turns into searching for a molten chocolate lava cake recipe that you don't have the ingredients for but you could go to the store if you stopped for gas on the way even though you don't actually know how to make molten chocolate lava cake and the last time you tried it turned into a igneous volcanic rock lava cake ...

See my point?

There are simple ways to avoid these distractions. The simplest is to write with a pen and paper and banish all technology from the field of battle, but I doubt most of us want to do that. After all, typing is much easier. So how can you keep technology but resist the temptation to check social media when you're supposed to be working?

One method is to turn on airplane mode - disable all wireless communication between your device and the World Wide Web. This strategy is effective but can be circumvented by using a phone. And that brings me to Strategy #2 - don't ever have your phone with you while you're writing unless you're expecting an emergency caller. And if you do have it with you, silence it or use the neat little feature that lets you select which calls and texts make sound. That way you won't miss anything important, but you'll still have your personal space. Windows 10 has a similar feature called Focus Assist that blocks pop-up notifications about your antivirus definitions being out of date.

There's no avoiding the fact that a strategy like this requires mental discipline - a lot of it. You might not be able to change your habits in one day. Just remember - there's time for the Internet (and there's no reason to avoid it) and there's time for writing. Those two should never mix.

As I write this last sentence, I realize how pathetic of an example I am as I put down my phone with a sigh and turn back to my computer ...

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