Distractions are murder to a good story. They are a stepping stone that a writer trips and stumbles over before slamming head first into “writer’s block.”
But, I feel that not all distractions are bad. When I decided that I was going to start writing again, I first had to decide what I was going to write. I had to decide what style and what length. Then, the important key points, topic, characters, plot before I even began to research. All of these were distractions, but all led to the common goal.
The thing that works best for me is to have a list of items or ideas that need to be researched, a list of books yet to read, or a stack of movies, unwatched. When I reach a dry spot or start to stagger to stop in my writing I watch a new movie, pick up a book, or research some possible new venues that my characters might deviate down thereby causing plot twists and stimulation. Sometimes, I even reread a book that I found particularly delightful, either due to style, language, or complexities in content.
Some agents say, in their blogs, “Write! Write! Write! And don’t stop writing!” while some writers say different. For example, in On Writing by Stephen King, Stephen recommends writing some every day in a quiet spot where you won’t be bothered. He also says to read if you’re not writing. He suggests carrying a book to the grocery store to read while waiting in line. Carry a book everywhere you go.
I don’t go to that extreme, but I did take a lot of what he said to heart and seemed to work for me.
This blog, for instance, is a huge distraction. However, this is where I turn to when movies and books don’t work and when I don’t feel like researching one more single item. This blog lets me take a break from the world in my head and allows me the freedom to rant and ramble while still writing. It gives me a chance to revitalize my desire to write and keeps me near my computer so that I can and will.
What are your distractions? How do you overcome them in your hobbies or work?