I’m sitting here in my living on my couch, my laptop on a small table in front of me, my TV (on, of course) another six feet in front of that. Beside me is the book I’ve been reading, and on the recliner to my left the latest issue of SEED magazine, something I’m anxious to get to. And to top it all off, on the arm of the recliner, barely six inches away from me, my phone with full internet access and my daily sudoku puzzle awaiting my attention. Did I mention my brother gave me a Wii for Christmas?
At the moment I’m wondering how I ever even wrote a short story let alone a novel.
Distractions are everywhere, and they are no more evident than when I’m at one of those points in my manuscript that seems to just drag along. Where every sentence…scratch that…every word needs to be wrenched from my keyboard with a crowbar, or, if necessary, plastic explosive.
This all comes to mind because I’m at one of those points now. It happens with every manuscript, but it still annoys me. Each time I start a new novel, I think, Not this time. I have yet to be right.
How do I combat this? How do I keep the distractions out of my way?
I don’t know. I don’t have the answer. I give up.
Okay…I don’t give up. I enjoy writing too much. But even with this enjoyment the distractions are often more than tempting. They way I do it, and the way I think most successful authors probably do it, is to keep a specific schedule.
I think I remember reading in Stephen King’s ON WRITING that he writes for a specific amount of time each day…it might have been writes a specific amount each day…I guess I could go upstairs and get my copy and check, but the TV’s on, remember? And right now there’s this cool documentary about building a manned base on the moon…anyway…King has a schedule and he keeps to it.
I have a schedule, too. Mine is kind of a combination between time and quantity. I get up every weekday morning at 5 a.m., and am sitting in front of my computer by 6 a.m. latest. I’ll write for a couple hours and try to get at least 1000 words. Don’t always make the goal of quantity, but I try to keep to my goal of time as often as possible. Weekends I try to snag at least a couple of hours on one of the days…hopefully both. This is what works for me. This is what gets the stories written.
And the distractions? That’s what evenings are for.
And since it’s evening when I am writing this, you’ll excuse me while I go bowl a game or two on my Wii before I finish that sudoku puzzle then get back to the book I’m reading, because I gotta tell you, 5 a.m. comes around pretty quickly.
What do you do to keep on track?