Unexpected self distraction

There’s plenty of advice available out there for avoiding many of the distractions you find in the home (the dog, your spouse, the postman etc). It ranges from noise cancelling headphones to staying in a local hotel for a couple of nights. BUT what if, like me, your biggest distraction is yourself?
I am lucky enough to be home alone for a few days a week, which is when I get the bulk of my writing done. Unfortunately, a large amount of this time is spent with me distracting myself.

Initially I distracted myself by proof reading and editing what I had written previously which was a big no no. Advice from writing groups was to avoid this at all costs and that was the best advice I’ve had to date – had I carried on that way, I would be nowhere near completing my 1st draft.

I’ve mentioned before that I have 2 books ‘in me’ at the moment – this is distracting, as sometimes my ‘faucet’ is flooding me with ideas for my next book rather than the one I’m trying to write currently – which is distracting. The reason for this is obvious, my ideas for my current book are ‘out’, I’ve given birth to them and they are living happily on a piece of paper with just a little nurturing required. Since they’ve ‘flown the nest’ I can forget about them.

When I have an idea in my head, it won’t leave me until it’s written down and I can’t produce my best work on novel 1 if my mind isn’t present so I set aside my current project and I write up what I need to on my new one. For me, there is no other way and once I’ve ‘got it out’ I can return to my original project.

This method has attracted criticism from non-writers. Especially since I have no credibility as a new writer (I’m in business and only educated up to A-level in English literature & writing – though I did graduate at university and qualify as a teacher if you’re interested). The eyebrows raise of those who ask ‘what’s your book about?’ and I tell them about my two (polar opposite) works-in-progress. ‘How can you concentrate on two stories at one time?’ ‘I couldn’t work that way’ are just some of the comments I’ve received – I can’t help but wonder if people think I’m wasting my time. What non-writers don’t always understand if that the words come to us – we generally don’t sit there and think ‘ok I fancy writing a horror, what type of antagonist shall I have?’. It doesn’t work that way for me at least – for me it would involve tossing and turning all night thinking about a plot and a character that just HAD to be turned into a story.

If we expect school children to write essays on Romeo and Juliet and photosynthesis in the same week – I’m sure I can continue flitting between novels as the mood and ideas take me. It’s better to be fully immersed in what you are doing whilst you are doing it – so if you can’t concentrate on your work because you’ve another idea bubbling to the surface – write it up, otherwise your work for the day will be half hearted and you’ll forget your amazing idea.

On that note – blogging during writing time is also a distraction so off I pop.

Posted in Author, Blog, Creative writing, Uncategorized, Writer, Writers.


  1. Yep, I can very much relate to the biggest distraction to my writing being my own self. Sometimes, like you say, that’s okay 🙂 I had the same type of situation that you described a few weeks ago. I was in the middle of composing a few short stories along with making edits to my manuscript in progress when the idea for a new novel length work popped into my head and would not leave me alone. So, what did I do? I spent the next two days creating an eleven page outline of my *next* novel. The funny thing is that it not only helped be give birth to that novel, but it helped me to return more focused attention back to what I was working on in the first place. The way I see it, as long as we’re writing – whatever writing that is – then we’ve successful as aspiring authors for that day. Right on? Write on 🙂

  2. I say if you want to write then you’re a writer. Interestingly many authors come from a teaching background so you’re in good company. You should write about what you know and what comes naturally. When I wrote my first book I never imagined I’d still be writing a second novel. Chase the dream, or in your case, write it.

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