I told myself to write about distractions.
I’ve already clicked on seven tabs and sent two emails while coming up for the title of this blog.
Irony called and wants it’s applause.
Guess what? If you’re trying to ignore all distractions to write, you’ll always lose for two reasons.
One, distractions are everywhere. Period. Something just dinged on your phone probably.
Two, writing doesn’t seem that important. While this is a confidence issue, on several occasions, it might also be truth. If your child is standing at the doorway and wants to show you their lost tooth or their art project, you should be distracted.
Here’s the thing- life is happening.
Why is that a bad thing?
That’s why you’ll lose.
You can’t fight distractions with focus: fight it with passion.
If you start with focus, and you become unfocused, you’ve already lost. Your goal is already strained.
So instead of setting a goal to write and stay focused for a period of time, find something about your book to be passionate about.
Why does that make a difference?
Your passion with some God-given wisdom will do two things.
One, you’ll know instantly when you should pull away from your notepad and focus on your kids, family members, friends- whatever is distracting you- because you’re passionate about them, too! It’ll hep you prioritize without having to think about it.
Two, you can set an attainable goal: I’m going to spend an hour focusing on my passion for “this character” in my book, my passion for helping people with this problem, my passion for this story…etc
Then, when the ding comes, when the tab lights up with the notification, with the Netflix “do” sounds in the other room, it’s not about writing anymore: that’s just the tool for your passion.
Passion will win over distraction every time.
So why do we lose? We don’t remind ourselves of the “why” nearly enough.
So when someone distracts us, we don’t “fail” at focusing or writing, we simply transfer our attention on what we are more passionate about for a moment. We don’t fall away from the practice of writing- we have an opportunity to have more things to write about another day because we are chasing what matters most in our life.
And what happens if it doesn’t matter? If you’re not just trying to write, but spending your time being passionate about your book or blog? If you are fired up about writing, you’ve now devalued everything that you aren’t passionate about by degrading it’s affect to pull your attention away.
Or think of it as an experiment if you need to, fueled by both passion and curiosity. What if you spent and hour writing instead scrolling on FB?
Curiosity and passion are stronger than your resolve to focus on something.
While some might argue that this is not necessary, they probably already have novels. Maybe they did use all the grit that the rest of us don’t have to fight the distractions, fears, doubts, and distractions of writing.
But for me, this worked.
Because babies cry. And I need to pick them up.
And no matter what happened, I got sick of “regretting getting distracted” or “failing at focusing” when I had something so precious in my hands. It didn’t make sense.
Some days, I was distracted and left my computer sixteen times, and in the sixteen minutes I had, I wrote amazing quotes. I didn’t have to start the process of my pre-writing pep talk or fire up my creativity engine: I had just kept it going.
Now, if you write non-fiction…here’s where you have to get that “why” and passionately find time to focus. You need to do research and can’t just “imagine” studies and quotes from history in your mind. But maybe find a podcast to listen to while shoveling snow- be passionate about writing so that it ebbs and flows with your life (and so you don’t end up hating snow any more than you already do).
Give the menial moments meaning.
If you’re trying to fight the reality of never being interrupted, you’ll lose. Always.
You can embrace that interruption and find the passion anyway.
And write anyway.