|Photo credit: Rico-san on Flickr|
We suddenly aren’t so sure if we want to write anymore.
Ok, maybe that’s not exactly it: usually upon sitting in front of the keyboard, we still want to write...but we aren’t sure where to start. Or we think we know where to start, but the words are being stubborn and not magically appearing like they’re supposed to.
And so we get distracted. We open up Twitter, or tumblr, or Facebook, and start scrolling through feeds. We watch adorable videos on Youtube and look up old Harry Potter Puppet Pals episodes for fun (no? Just me then? Oh well). Then, before we know it, two hours have passed and we haven’t written a single word.
It’s funny, because while we’re unable to write, there are few things we’d rather do than write. When it actually gets to the writing bit, however, oftentimes it seems we’d rather do anything else than write another word. At least, on the sluggish writing days that’s often how it feels.
The problem isn’t so much that we need an attitude adjustment—it’s that we’re too easily distracted when the words don’t come easily. Luckily, there’s a very easy cure. Three cures, actually.
The first is an app called Freedom, that basically turns off your internet for an allotted time. While I haven’t tried this one (I’ll admit the concept of turning off the internet even just for a short time terrifies me), I’ve heard that the only way to turn the internet back on once you’ve set it is to wait for the time to end. While this sounds like some medieval punishment, it does effectively block distractions and allow you to focus on your writing.
The second cure is an online app called Write or Die. I’ve written about it’s awesomeness before, so I’m not going to repeat myself, but it is absolutely fantastic.
The third cure isn’t an app—it’s a feature available on just about every program and it’s called fullscreen. Maybe you’ve heard of it.
It seems almost obvious, but writing in fullscreen has proven time and time again to be a great way for me to really focus on what I’m writing. The rule is just that you don’t exit fullscreen mode until you’ve finished your writing sprint. Or else.
For those of you who use Pages or Scrivener, I’ve found that I particularly like their fullscreen options because it blocks out everything but the document on the screen (rather than stretching the document into oversize mode), which makes it very easy to focus. Even without the nice isolation effect, however, I’ve found that writing in fullscreen can really help to force you to write without getting distracted. And all it takes is a click of a button.
Have you tried writing in fullscreen mode? Did you find it helped? What other tips do you have for cutting distractions out of your writing time?