November 2, 2012

Distractions from Writing: NaNo Lessons

NaNo has already been a huge help for me, and not just because I've managed 6,073 words in my first two days.

It has helped me realize how I get distracted from writing...

That Perfect Word or Phrase
Do you have those moments when you just can't think of a word? I do. Normally when that happens, I jump over to my Internet and search.

But guess what... I end up getting distracted by emails, which lead me to a Google+ message or Facebook post. Then I'm sucked in and time disappears in large quantities.

Character Needs
I am writing an intense scene, and my character has to have something specific and/or saying something specific. I don't want to put the wrong date or whatever I need in, so off to the Internet again. From there, see my point above.

Character Names
I haven't written a particular character in awhile, and I need to insert them in a scene. What was their name again? Off I go to my character list, or worse... searching through the document. Wasted time, for what ends up being a quick reference.

Phone calls
Now, I put all the ringers around my house on mute. I left a note at my kids' schools to call my cell. It sits beside me, and I only answer calls that can't go unanswered. Even looking at the screen is distracting, but I have a daughter with a severe medical condition, so I can't afford to completely zone out.

But I must say... I can't wait for this election to be over. My phone rings all day, and it's mostly freaking political calls. "I made up my mind about my candidate based on their sweet phone message," said no person ever!

This is a problem for me in general. I'm hungry more often than I'm not. I keep some healthy snacks and water next to me for writing time (okay, I might have a few snack-sized candy bars left over from Halloween there, too).

Getting up to get food costs me way too much time. I'm too easily consumed by "shiny object syndrome". If I notice any other task between my writing space and my kitchen, it's over. I'm not proud of it, but it is so.

Bathroom Breaks
Okay, I haven't figured out this one. That darned water gets me every time.

(I'm sure there are more, but I'm going off the cuff to keep blog post writing time at a minimum during NaNo.)

NaNo has taught me to focus on getting the words down and relaxing about the details. Now when I face one of the issues above, I either put my best guess or XXX and highlight it in red. When December comes, I will go through and fix the red marks. Or, for future post-NaNo projects, I'll fix those spots in editing.

Writing requires focus. We all face time challenges, so wasting time is frustrating. It also takes me "out of the game" of writing. I lose momentum. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I'm sure I've lost great scenes.

This month my posts will be reflections. But only after I've finished writing for the day. After all, I wouldn't want my reflections to be another distraction.

What distractions you, and what solutions have you discovered?


bookworm said...

I am so used to editing on the "fly" when blogging,I find I can't turn my "inner editor" off. Day two already and I feel like I'm walking up a very steep hill. Sandy has also been a big distraction, with knowing how people I know are suffering. I had to blog for tomorrow; I just couldn't hold it in anymore. I somehow wish I could work it all into my NaNoWriMo novel. It's supposed to be fiction, isn't it?

Helene Poulakou said...

Yep, I need to work on this one too!

Jo Michaels said...

Congrats on the word count! That's awesome!! :) WRITE ON!

Julie Glover said...

I can relate to your distractions. I also suffer from walking across the house for a snack or bathroom break and noticing some bit of housework along the way. I start straightening up, changing out a load of laundry, emptying the dishwasher, and before I know it an hour has passed. Ugh.

Best wishes with NaNoWriMo!

Tia Bach said...

I conquered the distractions and won NaNo. Yeah, me! Thanks everyone for all your support.