Monday, April 16, 2012

Fighting Internet Distraction

There is a reason that, before my surgery, my laptop did not have internet access.

Distraction.

My laptop was for writing, and writing only. If I wanted to get on the Internet, I'd have to go downstairs to our desktop computer. This was a good thing as it kept me from clicking on websites when I should have been writing.

But now that I have wireless on my laptop, I am finding it incredibly difficult to concentrate solely on my manuscript. I love checking out writing blogs and hanging out at the Facebook page of the blog, Writer Unboxed, where there's always a good conversation to be had. That's all well and good, but I need to write.

Yesterday, we had a lot of wind and it must have played havoc with the Internet as it wasn't available for several hours. I got a lot of writing done during that time, and I think it was God's way of putting His foot down where my writing procrastination was concerned.

All this is to say that I have shoddy will power. I knew that to begin with, which is why I didn't have Internet on the laptop in the first place.

While I can easily disable the Internet once my recovery is over, that's really not the point. I should be able to develop the will power to focus on my manuscript when I need to.

To that end, I've already developed a few strategies.

1. The Ten Minute Rule. I tell myself that I have to write for ten minutes. Just ten minutes of pure writing with no distractions. The ten minutes invariably turns into much longer. Once I get into the story, it's not as easy to get back out again.

2. No Open Windows. I close all open windows to the Internet. Sure, it's just one click to open them again, but that's one more step I have to take. It's just a simple mind trick, but it seems to work.

3. Good, Old-Fashioned Discipline. Sometimes, I just have to give myself a stern talk and make myself write.

These strategies don't always work, of course, and over the last several days, I've found myself flitting from one page to the next. But I do have to remind myself that I'm recovering. Sometimes I simply don't feel like writing. I don't have the concentration due to my pain medications or otherwise not feeling good. It's at those moments when I need to be kind to myself.

What about you? What are your distractions for writing when so many delicious goodies await on the Internet?

20 comments:

  1. Facebook for sure. Email. News. Blogs. :-) (Hmm...wonder what I should be doing right now?)

    I use something similar to the 10-minute rule, and it does work. Often, I also disable my internet connection. The few clicks it takes to re-enable it are deterrent enough, if getting on the internet is just a passing whim...which it virtually always is.

    Definitely be kind to yourself right now...

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    1. I do have that little switch that disables it, which I could use if I have to. It's just so easy to switch it back on, though! GAH. I have ZERO will power when it comes to this and chocolate.

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  2. Speaking of distractions, the iPad wins the contest.

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    1. I can see how it would, Jasmina! All those apps to use...

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  3. Melissa-It's the delicious goodies in the cupboard that distract me too LOL!

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    1. Oh gosh. I don't even WANT to know how much chocolate I've consumed in the last few days. But I figure this is the perfect time to indulge.

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  4. Blogs are my biggest 'distraction'. Though, I don't really think of them that way I guess.

    My biggest time suck is when I get to chatting online. Because you can't chat and write at the same time :) So after a while I just have to tell them, 'I have to go. I'm supposed to be writing!'

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    1. I love blogging, that's for sure, and like you, I don't see them as a distraction unless I am supposed to be writing and I decide to go check out blogs instead. :)

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  5. I so relate to your post. Sometimes I get so cross with my computer for tempting me with FB, emails, blogs etc. But, of course, it is my weak will. I have been mulling over this in the last weeks, and starting next week (beginning of school term) I am going to make myself write a minimum of 800 words per day before I can go online.
    I hope your strategies work for you too.

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    1. JT, I think that's a good idea, to give yourself a minimum to write before you reward yourself with going online. My problem is that I always have to check email, etc., first thing, and then I can get going on the writing. I need that "fix" in the morning first. :)

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  6. It does take a lot of discipline, and I've had to cut back on my blogging/internet use to move forward with Book 2. Everything is a balance, I guess, and it shifts as we go.

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    1. I agree about the balance, Joanne. I love to surf the 'net and read blogs and interact with people on FB. I think I'm going to have to take the same stance as you - to cut back on it all so I can write more.

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  7. It's difficult isnt it Melissa? Like your strategies. I tend to do internet stuff first then get on with work. Doesnt always work like that though!!

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    1. It certainly hasn't worked for me today. And I was disappointed in myself, too, since the overall theme for my novel came to me last night as I was falling asleep. I wanted to write then, but of course, fell asleep! Just didn't have the energy today, I guess, though maybe tonight I'll get some done.

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  8. I've done that ten minute rule as well. Or I have to write 500 words before I can go check something. The internet is such a good thing, but so is chocolate. So all good things in moderation.

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    1. That's one thing I have NOT had in moderation lately and that's chocolate! I figure I have a good reason, though. ;-)

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  9. My will power sucks when tempted by the internet. I need to get that tool that you put in a timer and it blocks your internet for you. ;)

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    1. I'm thinking I need to get that tool, too!

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  10. I am so distracted it isn't funny. I need to write and keep putting it off.
    Hope you are on the mend!

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    1. Doing good, Terri, thanks! It's slow going and I tend to think I can do more than I actually can, but my body lets me know when to slow down. :)

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