Saturday, September 4, 2010

Distractions, distractions ... SQUIRREL!

How do you handle distractions?

Do you power through them without glancing away from your screen? Do your fingers fly across the keyboard while the world races around you?

Or...

Do you stop writing to answer the phone? Do you read new emails the moment they arrive? Do you glance at each tweet as it pops up on your screen, and click on the awesome linkage?

Me, I'm in the second category. I'm a bit like Doug from the movie UP. I'm easily tempted to lose focus and move on to whatever dangles in front of me.

Ooh! A new email!

Where was I? Oh yes, distractions.

Thanks to Christine Fonseca, I learned about Dr. Wicked and his amazing Write or Die program. Am I the last writer in the world to hear about this?

I used it yesterday and fell in love. Before signing on, I planned where I was going with my story (for me, a crucial step). I shut down my email and Twitter pages. I entered my word count goal, set the timer, and clicked write. What a rush! Watching the screen turn from pink to red when I lingered too long was a great motivator. It's the perfect cure for my short attention span.

Would this work well for revisions? I don't think so. But for a first draft, it was perfect.

Do you struggle with distractions? And if you've used Write or Die, what's your opinion?

photo credit: google.com/images

44 comments:

  1. I handle distractions by making deliberate plans to engage in then, even for a short while. I can't surpress them all together so I give myself a mental break and play around with them, whether it's checking on in Twiter, loading the dishwasher, playing with the cat. I usually come back more refreshed and inspired. - G

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  2. I was so upset that the phone kept ringing all day yesterday. I answered some and others I ignored. To answer your question-- I am easily distracted during revisions cause I HATE them!

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  3. When I'm editing (like I am now) I'm easily distracted because I hate editing. However, when I'm writing, I'm so lost in my world, I don't even recognize my kids.

    CD

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  4. Georgina, taking a break and coming back refreshed sounds like a great plan.

    Terri, I know how you feel! Sometimes we're more distracted when we're doing something that less appealing.

    Clarissa, that's funny. Yes, our poor children learn to deal with us parents in our own little world.

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  5. It sounds absolutely frightening to me. I get so competitive with things like that, I'd be lost to the world. I think I better just deal with these distractions. Because you know, I'd probably be drowning in books otherwise anyway... He he he.

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  6. Oh, I may have to try this. But, yikes, I'm afraid of a couple of those modes.

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  7. Lisa, you manage to write a book a month even with distractions! I'd say you're doing just fine.

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  8. I am so like Doug! I may have to give Write or Die a try. And I definitely need to shut down Explorer when I open Word.

    Came for the BBQ, stayed for your great posts!

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  9. Jenna, thanks for stopping by! Karen's bbq is a blast.

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  10. Now I am going to check this out. For some of my writing projects, it will be just the thing.

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  11. I started laughing as soon as I read your post title. My kids and I love up and "Squirrel!" is heard in our house often because of it.

    Two more days and my kids will be back in school and I can't tell you how excited I am to get my peace, quiet and iPod Touch back! I have a terrible time writing through the distractions of summer, but a few stories have managed to fight their way out of my brain despite the noise and chaos.

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  12. I get distracted like anybody else does, but what I do to keep myself from not getting too distracted is I set a goal for myself. If I want to get a whole chapter done I obviously can't be looking at the new email that's come into my inbox and I can't blog about something I just realized. However....
    Sometimes distractions do get to me, despite how I try to avoid them.
    I never heard of Write or Die either, Julie, but thank you for sharing. Maybe now I actually can be more productive.

    Happy writing,
    LReneeS

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  13. I'm sorry...what?
    Kidding.
    You know, Julie, I'm going to have to answer this question sometime in the winter. The last time I did any fiction writing, the only distraction was the e-mail. Now that I am loaded with all of the social networking accounts, as well as the four sites that I write for, who knows how well I may or may not handle the distractions. All I need is to go over my second novel one last time before handing it over to Vamplit Publishing, but then my attention will need to turn to book three in the series, which at this point is only in the outline stage, as well as being in my head.
    Thanks for posting about the Write or Die program, though. I will keep it in mind.
    See you on Twitter,
    -Jimmy

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  14. YAY!!! So glad you like Dr. Wicked. Some days, it is the only reason I get any words in at all!

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  15. I haven't tried Write or Die yet, but I've heard about it, and now you've inspired me. I'm exactly like you - squirrel anyone?

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  16. I'll have to check it out. I haven't heard of it either, so don't fret, Julie :) I'm with you. I have a zillion things going all around me. As my husband always says, "When you're defending everywhere, you're defending nowhere." I'll go check out Write or Die. Thanks!

    Marissa

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  17. I'm so distracted easily I run into walls sometimes. Editing is so tedious that when I see the red light flash on my Blackberry announcing new messages or tweets, I snatch it up because I think I'm going to miss something. When I start a new story, you can't pull my attention away. I block everything out. Great post! :D

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  18. I've heard about Write or Die. Haven't used it yet. I'm currently in high revision mode. Thanks for stopping by the Tiki Hut.

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  19. I'm having to schedule time for everything these days. I'm not good at keeping to a schedule, too many exciting things happening, and it's a bit like being told what to do. Ouch!

    I see that you're getting lots of writing done. You go girlfriend! Happy writing. (can dudes say go girlfriend?)

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  20. I get frustrated by distractions too. When I've had it, I usually pack up my stuff and go work at the library for a few hours.

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  21. I came for the BBQ! And oh yeah! I'm just like Doug up there, though not as bad as my husband who would've stopped typing this to do something else...

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  22. Hi,

    Thanks for dropping by my blog (BBQ drop-in).

    Re distractions: I'm one of those given to ignoring every thing and everyone when writing, and that includes the phone. The only one of the household to get a response is the dog - he's genius at thinking up ways to lure me away from the laptop!

    best
    F

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  23. Never heard of Write or Die! Can't wait to try it out.

    Not only am I like Doug, that IS my dog. Looks just like Bailey (aka Schmoo). Ever since we saw the movie, Mr. Lemmony and I walk around saying things like, "I do not like the collar of shame." to the dog.

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  24. terrific post, julie - thanks for sharing this wonderful resource. i chase way too many squirrels and can really use this!

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  25. I'm with Terri...I hates revisions! Which leads me to pulling out all my Advanced Procrastination Techniques.

    Yes, I know many writers who use and love Write or Die...I'm still procrastinating trying it. ;)

    And, last but not least, UP made me SOB. Like snot-bubbles and air sucking sob. Within the first 7 minutes. Love that movie, but that whole part where the couple loses the baby and gets old and then he's alone...OMG. It slays me.

    Have a wonderful rest of your holiday weekend. :)
    Love,
    Lola

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  26. Ha, I'm a highly distracted person. Thanks for the Write or Die link. I've never heard of it either. Looks like something I could use!

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  27. I'm here from the BBQ to say hello and follow - what a lovely blog!

    I sometimes let things distract me, however, once I'm really into the story, I stick with it and go because I'm "there" and being "there" means everything else goes away. Of course, having deadlines gets me off my "here there and yondering" too! :D

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  28. LOL--omg, Julie, I am totally Doug... EMAIL!

    I've never heard of that Write or Die program--I am so going to check that out... And this week, when it's back to WiP, I fully intend to turn the email notifier OFF!!! :D

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  29. I'm very good at ignoring the phone, but other distractions always get to me.

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  30. Give me the faintest whiff of a distraction, and I'll be there. Except when I have deadlines. When I do have deadlines, nothing can distract me. Well, practically nothing.

    Must check out this new software.

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  31. Julie...I fall into the easily distracted category. I am always ready to pick the phones. Emails don't distract me as much as phonecalls.
    I will click on the Write or Die program and check it out. Thanks for the link!

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  32. I've heard it mentioned before, but I had no idea what it actually DID. I think the screen would be strobe-lighting on me. Is there audio? I'm thinking I'd also need a grating "danger danger" kind of alarm to go with the lights.

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  33. I have heard of that program! And I don't think it would work for me. I write how I write, and if that's too slow for the program, I don't want to rush it. But when I'm writing, I have no idea if I've gotten new emails or if new tweets have popped up. And I have no problem ignoring the phone unless it's my kids' schools!

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  34. I have never used or heard of Write or Die, but it sounds like just what I need.

    I am delighted to have found you through KarenG's BBQ. Thank you for stopping by my blog leaving a comment, and following.

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  35. Nope, I would be the last writer in the world to hear about this! I definitely struggle with distraction~squirrel! Yep, that's me. Thank you so much for this link I'm off to check it out now. Oh wait, a new e-mail! ;-)

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  36. Here from the barbeque. Interesting post. FWIW, you are not the last author in the world to learn about Dr. Wicked's program.(: Thanks for the tip.

    As for distractions, I recently wrote a post about procrastination on my blog. I presented a possible solution to the problem by hosting an anti-procrastination challenge for other writers. It begins tomorrow, so stop by and see what it's about if you are interested. Hopefully, this will be the swift kick in arse I need to get me writing again.(: I look forward to reading more of your posts.

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  37. Hi! I popped over from Rayna's, she gave us the award today, thought I'd come say hello. I've tried this to use this software, but couldn't get it to work on my mac...I don't know if it would work for me, because even though I try to power through distractions, I can't do that when it's one of my homeschooled boys needing their "teacher."

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  38. Natural born procrastinator here so those dangling things are deadly, guess I will give the Write or Die thing a go....

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  39. How great you found something that worked for you.

    When I have a block of writing time, I negotiate with myself to work for a solid hour before I can spend 5 minutes checking e-mail or reading a blog. Then back to work. I try to do this for four hours. And NO phone.

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  40. I'm mostly blog writing (does that count?) but I do get easily distracted - sometimes I call it multitasking but it can be non-productive at times. There's just two much going on that I want to do at the same time - I can knit, read and watch TV simultaneously which is why I spend so much time on those activities (well not much TV actually, blogging's taken over there.) Found you on Sandy's blog.
    Hope you visit/follow my blog. I'll add yours. All the best, Catherine

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  41. I'd heard of Write or Die, but I haven't tried it yet. Today I let the phone be my distraction. *sigh*

    Back to work!

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