Distractions While You’re… Wait, What Was I Talking About?

Ice cream is delicious. Credit: Someecards.com

This week on the Ball, we’re talking about distractions — and how to not let them get in the way of your work. It’s ironic that we’re talking about it this week, as my house is currently getting completely re-sided. And between the loud banging, the pictures flying off the walls, my dog barking like crazy the entire ten hours that the workers are outside working, oh, and fighting twin morning sickness (and losing), this has been a week of distractions, for sure.

And I have to be honest — I haven’t done a great job with my writing. I think I’ve written a total of 1500 words in seven days.

So telling you how to power through distractions feels a little like Ann Coulter giving a seminar on how to be a likable person.

Instead, I think it’s best if I give a list of what NOT to do.

  1. Don’t take your laptop in bed, thinking that you can type out some scenes in between bouts of puking — and then start watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix in between naps.
  2. Don’t sit down for a four-hour writing session, only to spend 3 ½ hours on “research,” which includes poring over Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Poshmark.
  3. Don’t agree to meet a friend for lunch to get out of the house (and away from the hammer banging), and then decide that since you’re out, you’ll go to Target, and the grocery and get your oil changed and swing by your husband’s office to say hi — even though you should be at home writing.
  4. Don’t promise yourself that you’ll write that evening when you feel better, and the kids are asleep in bed — and then pass out at 8:07 on the couch before you even make it to your desk.
  5. Don’t start looking through images of nurseries for twins, find one that you like and then spend the entire day sourcing furniture and décor from Ikea, Craigslist and JoAnn’s Fabrics.
  6. Finally, if you do happen to do any of the above, don’t be too hard on yourself. All writers have off days, and sometimes distractions DO get the best of us. But what counts is pulling yourself out of it, getting your butt in the chair and getting back to work. Which is what I’m going to do starting today. You know, as soon as I find those gray chevron curtains for the nursery.

Author: Colleen Oakley

Colleen Oakley is the author of BEFORE I GO (Simon & Schuster/Gallery, Jan. 2015), a love story. A former editor for Marie Claire and Women's Health & Fitness, she's now an Atlanta-based freelance writer. Find out more at colleenoakley.com.

8 Replies to “Distractions While You’re… Wait, What Was I Talking About?”

  1. This is hilarious (except for the puking). Every author has been there–I don’t want to know the ones who haven’t. For me the best thing to do is to promise myself to do a minimal amount–even if it’s tiny. One page. Twenty minutes. Anything just to get a few words down.

    But what can possibly compete with Friday Night Lights??

  2. You are funny, Colleen! Even when you’re a puking mess — funny. I’m looking forward to writing my distractions post this week because, well, it’s just one more way to procrastinate my daily writing goal — and all writers need procrastination strategies! Also, we are binge watching FNL at the moment (just started season 4), so I enjoyed the references 🙂

  3. Oh man, Colleen. LOVE this list. Maybe because it just feels SO FAMILIAR.

    I so hear you on the zonking by 8 p.m. I was supposed to get up and wrap up some project stuff yesterday — fell asleep with the baby at 7, and woke up in a panic at 11. Unfortunately, an all too familiar scene, and as you know, it won’t stop once the twins are here!

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