I recently wrote about finding the time to write a book, but sometimes finding the focus is a bigger problem. Yesterday, I sat at my laptop and wrote over three thousand words of the first draft of my second novel. I felt great afterwards and am really pleased with what I produced. It made me wonder why I don’t always have that dedication. The truth is, there are all sorts of distractions that get in the way of writing. Here’s the list of my top 6, mostly fun, distractions:
1. Social Media
This is an obvious one. I sit at my laptop with a few spare hours stretching out in front of me. I tell myself I’ll quickly look at Twitter. Just to check in, you know? An hour later I have read some great posts, found the perfect pair of jeans and thought about whether the cost of having those Everlane loafers shipped from the US is worth it. Still, no writing done…….
Before I got a book deal, I read a book a week. I don’t have as much time to dedicate to reading now but I love to read more than anything. I have a pile of books on my bedside locker that I am dying to get through. Sometimes I just can’t resist and so I allow myself to get lost in a brilliant book. I tell myself it’s important to keep on top of what other people are writing and who am I kidding? I’m never going to give this one up.
3. Extended Deadlines
In my day job, in public relations, deadlines are tight. A journalist sends in a query and it must be answered, usually within a couple of hours. I work best this way; under pressure. The deadline to complete the first draft of my second book is February 2019. That seems like a long way off right now and so allows me to procrastinate in a way I most certainly shouldn’t.
4. My Emmy’s Dress
It’s not always what I will wear during my imaginary attendance at the Emmy Awards, but this distraction usually goes along the lines of: I lose myself in a daydream where Home to Cavendish is a wild success and the TV rights are picked up. That leads to the resulting TV series being nominated for a multitude of awards and I will, of course, attend the awards ceremonies. But what the hell am I going to wear? I then phone my fashion designer friend Margaret Coyne to see what she thinks. You’d be surprised at the amount of thought I put into this. Great fun but not exactly productive!
5. My Third Book
I am over thirty thousand words into my second novel but annoyingly, I recently had a great idea for my third book. That idea is rattling around in my head, the characters are chattering away, and I want to get them onto paper. Knowing it will be at least another six months before I can do this is killing me.
The final distraction is my blog. I am obsessed with what I will write about next. I have a notebook with a list of over twenty blog post topics. The list of distractions that take me away from writing isn’t on that list. It came to me this morning when I woke up. It’s written now and so I’ll post it.
Then I’d better focus, or another day will pass, and I will be no closer to getting to the Emmy Awards!