Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How to Outsmart Yourself and Get More Writing Done

Last time we moved to a new house I set up a corner in the master bedroom that was supposed to be FOR WRITING ONLY. I surrounded the desk with tack boards, hemmed in the space with a huge bookshelf, and set up a computer for one purpose only. Writing. My desktop looked like this:
Two icons, one for writing and one for the trash. Because all writers need a recycle bin handy.

I was really good for a while. Then I started getting in the habit of checking e-mail on that computer. And facebook. And my bank accounts. Pretty soon I was working on my algebra classes on that computer, and letting my kids play internet games. The desk piled up with bills, receipts, and other home office stuff that I had planned to keep downstairs by the family computer. And the computer desktop? Now my desktop looks like this:

When I sit down at my desk in my writing corner, there are so many things to do before I start writing, some days I never get around to it!

All that is about to change. Because the family computer downstairs died last night. Rather than buy a new computer for the family, I moved my old writing computer downstairs. Up in my writing corner I installed a really old laptop we inherited from my father-in-law. This machine is so slow, it's a pain to even check e-mail on it.

But it runs a word processor just fine.

Perfect.

Now my desktop looks like this again:
And I got more writing done this morning than I have in the past week.





10 comments:

  1. I love it! I've been working on productivity boosters too. Concentrated focus, turning off the internet - it's basic, but it works.

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    1. I'm not sure when it happened, but that tug I used to feel pulling me toward my writing desk stopped being about typing a few more sentences and started being about checking e-mail. Now if I want to check e-mail, I have to go downstairs. Might as well type the next few sentences first... hee hee.

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  2. That is so true how things creep into your writing space and it's like a neverending game of wack-a-mole to keep them out. I hate that since switching to an android device for writing I tend to have notification interruptions. Thank you for the nudge to turn all those OFF!

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    1. Oh my goodness! I hate pop-up notifications. The day I shut them all off was the day I got a manuscript request and the little e-mail pop-up appeared right there in the corner of the screen while I was in the middle of drafting something new. It was great to get the request, but it really threw me off. I was so excited I couldn't type another word. Without that notification, I might have typed for another hour or two before checking my e-mail.

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  3. Sometimes I grab my computer and head to the library to write. It feels like going to work, and I get a lot done while I'm there. A big part of it is I stay off the internet (and away from all the books).

    I also have to dejunk my office about once a week because for some reason it has become the dumping ground for everything from the kids' homework to binoculars. Sigh. But every time my work space is clear, I feel more like writing.

    Great post!

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    1. Leisha, how do you stay away from the books? Seriously, when I walk down an aisle at the library the things just jump into my hands. But writing in the library sounds like a lovely thing to do. Just like new winks of light in a stellar nursery, new stories being born in a cloud of great ideas.

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    2. LOL. I sit in the non-fiction section by a bunch of technical books that have very little allure. I tried the biography section once and found myself with a fat tome on the desk...I made myself put it back. I don't go near fiction on a work visit.

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  4. Interesting phenomenon, that. Yes, guilty here, too.

    But I think there's a little more to it. Wherever Mom is, there the family follows (which also includes the half-finished scout project which needs help from me, the mail that was brought in by a smiling do-gooder child and dumped on the keyboard, the sticky note from my husband with the number of the person I'm supposed to call back, Grandma's watercolor supplies that need to be put away properly, etc., etc.) BUT, whenever I take an hour to clean things up, I can breathe and focus on my writing.

    Thanks for the wonderful post - and talk about perfect timing. I can hardly find my screen. : )

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    1. Another good thing about moving my "home office" back downstairs is that I'll spend more time in the middle of things. I'll be where the family is. Then, when I retreat to my room for writing time, I can lock the door and go off into a universe of my own making.

      Enjoyed your comment, loved all the details of the things that get piled on your writing desk.

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