Writing is hard. I get it. But there are a lot of things that make it harder than it needs to be. I do have my vices (looking at you, BuzzFeed Tasty videos). Everyone has habits which stops them from churning out the next great American novel.
What do we do, then? Let our distractions stop us from becoming published novelists and poets? Never. Don’t give in. Fight the good fight. For your convenience, I’ve collected a few of the main culprits that kill my train of thought.
- It’s not worth it to listen to Spotify as you type. Turn off the wi-fi. Come on, now, say it with me: Turn off the wi-fi. It’s like carrying around a bag of cookies when you announce to the world that you’ve gone sugar-free. (I have a nasty habit of writing advice blogs instead of chapters on my manuscript.)
- Don’t let it paralyze you. Allocate your time well so you can let yourself forget about everything when you write. Every time you think of something you ought to do instead of write, put it down on a piece of paper. Then, you can forget about it. You’ll have both your post-writing sesh to-do list and a sharper focus. Win-win.
- There are certainly a minority of writers who thrive in mess, but I am not one of them. If you’ve revised out a detail but want it back later, what will you do? If the old sheets of paper were crumpled up and recycled, you can say goodbye to that subplot. All it takes are a few manila folders to keep things in their place.
- Whether or not you sit down to write isn’t dependent on your schedule. It’s dependent on you. If you truly value what you plan on writing, you must make time. If it means writing in five-minute increments, fine. If it means getting up earlier, fine. If you really think your manuscript will be good, you have make your priorities show that.
- Self doubt
- Stress is paralyzing, but it’s even worse when you think your work isn’t worth writing. Ignore the little jerk on your shoulder who says it’s not good enough. (That’s your inner editor. He’s important later, but not now.) Remember, the perfect is the enemy of the good. Let yourself make mistakes and the words will come. You will never have something good if you have nothing at all.
None of these distractions should stop you from writing. Even if you’re not writing the next great American novel, who cares? If telling yourself that motivates you, then that’s what you should tell yourself. The world needs your book. More importantly, you need it. So get out there and get writing.