Friday, March 2, 2012


The hardest part of writing sometimes is learning to avoid distractions. Some household distractions (pets/children insisting you play with them, phone calls, snow shoveling/leaf raking/lawn mowing, etc.) can be avoided by writing very early in the morning or very late at night. But that was in the days before the internet.

Email, Facebook, Google+, Twitter - you think you'll just check in "just for a moment", but then, when next you surface, hours have passed. At least with research you have an excuse.

One way of managing distractions is set them as part of a routine. First thing in the morning I'll check the Astronomy Picture of the Day for inspiration, a few of my favorite webcomics and two online newspapers for the news while I'm eating breakfast. Then there's a break to uncover the cockatoo's cage and feed her (she's not a morning bird). Email and Facebook checking is done while she decides if she wants to play. And then it's time to work.

Other distractions can be set up as rewards - so many words, or pages, or marketing/promotion time done and then you can check that blog or Facebook or emails.

Since it's March once again, my major distractions are the nest cams. I first blogged about my addiction to watching nest cams last year here (where you can find more details and links to various cams). For those keeping track, the Decorah eagles are currently sitting on three eggs, the Valmont, Colorado owls Dan and Snowflake have three as well, the San Francisco peregrines Dan and Lil have four eggs, and the San Jose peregrines Clara and EC have two (but at least two more are expected). There are also new cams installed in Minnesota and Wisconsin, such as one with sound on Great Spirit Bluff.

Fortunately, there are enough people reporting on nest activities either in the forums or via email and putting up Youtube videos of significant/important/funny events that I can check those in order to catch up rather than having screens open for hours on the various nests. Until the fuzzballs start wandering, that is.

What are some of your distractions and how do you manage them?

Or do they manage you? Ooo, shiny!

Done yet? Now can we play catch?


  1. Wow, I can understand perfectly. When writing is going miserably, even cleaning the bathroom and doing laundry present perfect distractions. And I always seem to have a new book lying around that's just calling my name...

  2. I'm easily distracted. The birds fascinate me too and I'm always waiting to snap a picture. Then the cats get in my lap or on the kepboard and I end up with all these weird letters. Of course, I need a drink or cookie or ... :)

  3. Oooo, distractions! Don't get me started. Having to WORK is my biggest distraction. lol. Though I have to say that with having my hours cut back so I have Fridays free, I had expected to do a lot more on the writing front than I've actually been able to get away with. There's always some unexpected event or other that siphons away the day. *pout*

    Mostly though, I try to schedule things as much as I can so they all have their own time. At work I had Facebook, Google +, and Twitter up so I can check there between print jobs, between file updates, and whatnot. My writing and reading times come before work and during lunch. And woe to those who interrupt! :P

    Most weeknights at home belong to family (except for writers group meetings). Thursday hubby plays with his friends online, so that's perfect for the coming week's blog post, and then a half hour of online play for me!

    Friday night is movie out night, but when I get home I do a review and post it around before indulging playing games online for an hour.

    Saturday night I do technical and writing and marketing stuff. And If I've been good, I get to play online a little before bed time.

    The beauty of all the play though is that I've figured out a way to also make that marketing! Sunday mornings I go a "Virtual Tourist" blog post with pics I've taken from the games I've played. Photography without ever leaving my chair. Totally a blast. :P Heh heh heh