Monday, April 5, 2010

Writing While Distracted

More than ever, writers are expected to promote their work through blogs, websites, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Plaxo, email, Twitter, Skype... the list grows faster than (wish I could think of a clever way to end this sentence).

The challenge, of course, is managing the time needed to keep up with all that and still get the writing done. Compounding the problem is... it's fun! More fun, for example, than diving into the first draft of that next scene or wrestling down a particularly slippery sentence. And the ease with which we can click on an icon and check email or the latest postings from Facebook can test the resolve of even the most disciplined writer.

I have to make a conscious effort to divide my day up. First, the creative writing. Then, check email and social networks. Then, the "paying" (i.e., nonfiction) writing. Then, more creative writing. Finally, a last check of email and social networks. That's my strategy. Execution so far: dismal.

What's your approach?


  1. Why do you think that's so? Is it because you end up spending way more time on email / social networking than you like? Or because you aren't feeling inspired when it comes to the "real" writing?

    I'm not sure that anyone has "the" answer, but I'd also be interested in hearing writers' strategies.

  2. Great question, Yen. In my case, it's really a matter of discipline.

    Writing takes discipline, is hard work, and you often don't get any feedback on your work for quite a while.

    All the social networking, on the other hand, takes no discipline, is easy and fun, and in many cases provides instant feedback.

    But then there's the frustration and guilt of not getting as much 'real writing' done as you know you should have.

    No wonder so many writers are driven to drink.