Distractions and Interruptions

Looking in a roll‑around case I used when I was teaching writing classes, I noticed a folder where I’d saved two magazines, put out as special editions, by Writer’s Digest, and another three or four published in a like manner by The Writer. And, even after 3 or 4 years’ time, they STILL have GREAT advice. For instance, one of the Writer’s Digest tomes, was entitled “1,082 TIPS TO WRITE BETTER AND SELL MORE!”

I’ve written lately about often feeling obsessed with one thing or another. It keeps me under a lot of pressure when I’m trying to work that way — and it’s not necessarily good. As I flipped through this old issue (and, BTW, I feel pretty sure, that they’ve culled most —if not all —of their 1,082 “tips” from who knows HOW many years’ worth of even older issues. Still, it’s worth paying attention.

So for today’s blog I offer you an article entitled “8 Ways to Handle Distractions and Interruptions,” by Leonard Felder. As a person who obsesses all on my own, without ANY help from others, “distractions and interruptions” can become just one more thing to obsess over. Here are his eight major ideas:

for Preventing Interruptions and Distractions Ahead of Time:

1. Get up early and write when there’s no one to interrupt you.
2. Ask people ahead of time not to interrupt you, rather than waiting for them to make you angry.
3. Put up physical barriers to prevent distractions and interruptions.
4. Take care of potential distractions before you sit down to write.

for Handling Interruptions That Occur Despite Your Best Efforts:

5. Delay the interruption until a better time.
6. Have a sense of humor about interruptions (this could keep them from taking on too much importance).
7. When interruptions, occur, keep their impact to a minimum and ease back quickly to writing.
8. Use each interruption as an opportunity to preclude the next interruption from this source.

And I LOVED a Barbara Kingsolver quote at the edge of this article. “There is no perfect time to write. There is only now.”