Ah yes, distractions. The dreaded “D” word. The bane of a writer’s, or really anyone’s goals.
But there are good distractions and negative ones.
An example of a good one in action:
At one of my husband’s previous jobs, the front desk phone had stopped ringing. Calls were still apparently coming in, but the phone wouldn’t alert anyone. Around the same time, the front admin had given away her foster cats and was sad about the kitten-less house. She was talking to my husband about it while he worked on the phone. That’s what gave him the idea.
The next morning went business as usual: the admin put her things away, sat down at her chair, and started to prepare for the day. Then she heard kittens meowing. I’m sure she looked all around and under the desk. At some point she figured out it was coming from the phone. My husband could hear her laughing on the other end when she picked up. “Guess it works now,” he said.
But normally people tend to focus on the negative distractions, as they halt our progress. I recently read another blogger’s post on the subject. How they set out to accomplish their goal but other things kept getting in the way: email, animals, other chores, etc. Once all the small things had been taken care of, time was eaten away and victory not accomplished. And the day had been especially set aside for goal conquering.
Sometimes I find myself in a similar moment, but what I do is try to focus on the pivots, not the distractions. For example, it gets tiring sometimes staring at a computer screen, so I do some of my writing on a couch or on the front porch with a notebook. I actually have a Remarkable (which is really neat), but because it’s usually so hot outside I don’t take too many electronics on the front porch with me. So I find myself writing stories mostly on the computer, and poetry on paper. Then book outlining in another notebook. That’s how I’ve been managing my 3rd poetry collection, another book, plus a book outline.
But I’m a slow writer. This past weekend was dedicated to capturing all the lost words I missed during the week, and I managed to make a small dent. Plus nap.
You are what you spend your time on. Breaks are definitely important, but when you set out to do something, try to have pivots in place to help you accomplish your goals. And even if you don’t fully get there, you’ll know you did the best you could in the moment and can finish up later. Tomorrow will always be another day for additional pivots.