A writer faces many challenges against his or her work. Procrastination, health, finances, and lack of inspiration are but a few.
But no challenge is more insidious or more difficult to handle than distraction.
Whereas procrastination is the willful neglect of a given task, distraction is a waver in concentration brought on by external sources. Procrastination is the writer’s fault. Distraction is not. Either way, procrastination or distraction, the end result is the same. Writing does not take place. Gestating strings of thought are lost. Time must be spent just to recover the point of development abandoned when distraction or procrastination took place.
Once the distraction lands in the writer’s brain, it has done its damage.
Limiting sources of distraction is a writer’s only recourse to handle this particular threat to his or her work.
Turning off the television, not looking at email or text messages, limiting internet searches to anything other than research directly related to the current project, and not answering the phone are the best means of closing the predominant avenues of distraction. Concentration is hard enough without being impinged upon by demands for communications brought on by family, friends, business associates, or strangers. Broadcast media are prone to news flashes that may raise concern of a socially conscious individual. However, more often than not, the writer distracted by such news usually can do nothing at all but empathize and the news could have been heard or watched at another time when the writer could contemplate its meaning without being pulled away from his or her work.
Music and hence music players can be a wonderful tool for inducing an emotional state which the writer wishes to experience as an inspiration toward creating the same emotional state through a written passage. However, a writer must be judicious with his or her time spent playing music. If he or she is paying more attention to the music and less attention to the work at hand, music has become a detriment. Time spent playing music must be invested with discretion.
An author must learn that time is his or her most valuable asset. Time must not merely be spent wisely, but it must be guarded and cherished.
Though time for the universe may be infinite, time for an author is limited.
When someone demands time of a writer, the writer must know that what is being demanded is the most precious thing the writer has to offer. He or she is better off giving blood instead. Those who are in an author’s life must know that the author’s time is worth more than gold.
Time is to be respected. Time is to be cherished.
Like any human, an author is entitled to a social life. Human interactions are necessary. Humans are social beings, and–despite any allegations to the contrary–writers are human. Relations are also necessary to provide the fuel and material upon which the writer draws not only in the creation of his or her work but to provide substance to his or her work.
Relationships require an expenditure of time in order to stay healthy and active.
However, the writer must make it clear that his or her “writing time” is a specific time where interruptions must be of dire nature if they are to occur. The wise writer sets days and times when he or she is “unreachable,” as well as days and times when he or she is open to discourse.
Although a window with some sunshine flowing through it can make a writer feel less isolated, and whereas a picturesque view can be cheering, a window is also an invitation to allow the world entrance into the writer’s workplace. A window is an opening upon distraction and an easy crutch for the procrastinator.
It is best for the writer to turn his or her back to any window and to “exist” only in the “room” of his or her mind when writing.
For a writer at work, it is best to let the world run on its own during writing time. Writing time is sacrosanct. Nothing short of natural disaster or Armageddon should be allowed to intrude.
Writing time is time to be a hermit. A writer at work is a monk at prayer. Let no one interrupt a writer’s quest for union with the divine.
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