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Work Room - Week 8

Distractions.

Everyone has them and they come in all variety of forms.

They keep you from getting into a routine and shift your attention away from doing what needs doing. After all - often enough those "distractions" might be the thing that needs doing!

You always hear though, that if you want to write - you need to write no matter what. You need to focus and find the time to do it. Even though there might be various life issues (or in the case of Idol, special powers) trying their best to shift your attention.

What are your tips for keeping that focus? What works for you? What have you found doesn't? (I'm sure there have been plenty of experiments that haven't worked out all that well in the past! ;) )

How do you manage to make the process "fun"? Is that something you consider to be important, or is the suffering part of your craft? :P

Comments

( 45 comments — Leave a comment )
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banyangirl1832
Jan. 3rd, 2011 06:35 pm (UTC)
First!?

For me, I have to make writing a job and routine just like brushing my teeth. Sit down at the kitchen table, tv turned off, soft music on a (very) trained Pandora station turned on, in real clothes. If I wear my PJs while trying to write, I'll just end up surfing the web. Sometimes I'll write when I'm hungry so that I can have food when I'm done with a certain word count.

Discipline is normally a problem for me only if I don't feel "inspired" by the prompt, or story, or whatever I'm writing. Trying to draft something that's based on a "blah" topic is really hard for me. I'm trying to suck it up and just write no matter what, though.
tijuanagringo
Jan. 3rd, 2011 06:46 pm (UTC)
that's a good idea
"Sometimes I'll write when I'm hungry so that I can have food when I'm done with a certain word count."

I was already agreeing with you after the Pajama comment, but then you said that about food.

What a superb, realistic, powerful strategy. I have got to try that As Soon As Digestively Possible
Re: that's a good idea - banyangirl1832 - Jan. 3rd, 2011 06:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
pixiebelle
Jan. 3rd, 2011 06:37 pm (UTC)
Sadly, procrastination is my best motivation these days. I can be super excited and want to write, and may even do it early on...but then fear takes ahold. I get doubts, and decide to see if something else comes to me. Sometimes it does, but mostly it doesn't...so then I just work with what I have on the last day, using the excuse that I have no other choice. Or sometimes I just start writing that day.

The process is fun naturally for me. The writing part, getting so into your idea and then sharing it is fun. The stressful poll situation and sometimes lack of feedback (comments) takes the fun out bit by bit. Unless, of course, I'm doing well...then the fun continues :)
kehlen
Jan. 3rd, 2011 06:44 pm (UTC)
My best ideas are usually trickling into my head when I have not way of writing them down, like on my way to/from work. Then come home... and they scatter so fast I can't catch them :-). So normally I just sit myself at my computer and tell myself I am not going anywhere without writing at least something. Especially when I already know what to write about.
kenakeri
Jan. 3rd, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
Having insomnia has been useful for finding writing time.

I usually write or draw a piece of silliness before settling down to work if I hate the prompt for LJI. I'm definitely going to be using that technique this week.

Outside of the competition, I use a site that records your writing and gives you notice when you've gotten to 750 words. Since I manage to make the target in less than 20 minutes I usually do it on my lunch hour. It's a good way to make sure I write SOMETHING each day.

xreesex
Jan. 3rd, 2011 07:06 pm (UTC)
I write best when it is late at night, and I have headphones on. I find that whatever music I am listening to tends to influence what I write, but mostly I just need to drown out everything around me and immerse myself in the process.

I tend to write the topic over and over until some sort of idea hits me. Once I start writing, I can tell if it's going to be the piece I end up with based on if I write till I'm done, or if I have to stop numerous times. If I stop, I usually end up scraping it.

Edited at 2011-01-03 07:07 pm (UTC)
louiement
Jan. 8th, 2011 02:42 am (UTC)
I sometimes do this -- start writing and see where it goes. And yeah, I trash a lot of writing when I do that, too.
worldofcharlie
Jan. 3rd, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC)
No tricks really...unfortunately in my situation..since I'm multiple...I share the same body with other folks...sometimes it's hard negotiating time with the main fronter Carrie and of course with her partner...

Best times of the day for me tend to be in the morning (our body has ADHD...best focus is that time of the day)...

Usually I do best without any music, Television...usually great ideas come to me the minute we wake up...
creature_girl08
Jan. 3rd, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
My best writing happens at night of all things. Yeah, not good for when you need to get up and go to work but that is always how it goes. Different things can be going on around me but the most likely distraction for me is going to be my husband. I can't shut him out if he is wanting to talk. And putting him before writing is higher on my list of things to do. Everything else can be pushed aside.
hellboy
Jan. 3rd, 2011 08:49 pm (UTC)
I have yet to find a technique that works every time for me. Sometimes just zoning with the headphones on for a bit is great. Sometimes I need silence to be creative. And sometimes all hell could break loose around me and I'll get something semi-interesting and possibly coherent out of it no problem.
mstrobel
Jan. 3rd, 2011 09:43 pm (UTC)
Gee, I have no rules or processes... or focus... I just get stories in my head that want to be told! If I have no stories, I can't really sit down and tell myself to write -- I have to wait for an idea to waft past. And once I get an idea strong enough, nothing can distract me until it's written. I tend to write all in one go.
thaliontholwen
Jan. 3rd, 2011 09:46 pm (UTC)
I'm sort of an expert in writing because I have to (Hello Grad School!), so I have a few tricks I use.

1. LeechBlock. It's a Firefox extension that blocks time sucker websites that I program in after 15 minutes. Especially helpful because I can't just unplug from the internet if I'm doing research. I just need to not spend hours on LJ and Twitter and Facebook.

2. 15 Minute Brain Breaks. I'll go play a game, or read something interesting, or get up and take a walk. Leechblock comes in hand here, too.

3. When I'm actually writing, usually I write to music without words. Sometimes it's video game soundtracks, other times it's a custom Slacker Radio station set to ambient techno, classical, or instrumental jazz.

4. For serious writing, I have to be at my desk.Occasionally, when serious writing in Office isn't happening, I'll write longhand on paper or do an actual outline. Usually I don't need it, but there are times when nothing is coming up.
fortitudehigh
Jan. 3rd, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
My key for keeping a focus and making sure things actually get written is to have a deadline and some feeling of responsibility attached to what I have to write. That's the main reason I joined Idol - to feel like I had no choice but to churn out a piece of writing every week.

Unfortunately, the structure of the competition this time around has meant that the fun part of things has been completely lacking for me, to the point where I'm questioning staying in at all. There's no fun in being at the bottom of a tribe every week and certainly no encouragement to keep churning out those pieces when the only real question is whether I'll go out this week or next.

Which means, I guess, that focus isn't an issue for me. Fun, however, most definitely is.
locknkey
Jan. 3rd, 2011 11:55 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty much feeling exactly like you. I wanted to try Idol for the fun aspects, but tribe negotiations and being barely at the bottom each week have taken a lot of the fun.

(no subject) - fortitudehigh - Jan. 4th, 2011 01:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - locknkey - Jan. 6th, 2011 01:14 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - phoenixejc - Jan. 5th, 2011 05:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - locknkey - Jan. 6th, 2011 01:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - streetnights - Jan. 4th, 2011 01:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
sonarvampress
Jan. 4th, 2011 02:40 am (UTC)
I have found that what doesn't work for me is seeing a topic then saying "eh, I'll let inspiration come to me and write when I think of something". This is exactly why I am not in the game anymore. I have to write as soon as I see the topic even if I am not inspired.
joeymichaels
Jan. 4th, 2011 03:10 am (UTC)
What are your tips for keeping that focus? What works for you? What have you found doesn't?

When I am ready to write, I work better if I just spew it out without any thinking or editing. I can do this in almost any circumstance. I usually don't distract myself once I get going. However, if I'm interrupted mid-spew, I have a bear of a time getting back into that spew's flow and usually have to start again.

How do you manage to make the process "fun"? Is that something you consider to be important, or is the suffering part of your craft? :P

You know, for me, the process itself is fun. Even if I am bummed (or am writing about a bummer topic), I feel better after I've been writing.
robertlyon
Jan. 4th, 2011 04:32 am (UTC)
I've been trying to take your approach a little more. Sometimes I get bogged down in trying to write the perfect sentence, and it actually makes my writing worse.
(no subject) - joeymichaels - Jan. 4th, 2011 05:12 am (UTC) - Expand
fourzoas
Jan. 4th, 2011 03:40 am (UTC)
I find that writing requires the application of my butt to the chair in front of whatever I happen to be writing on. Only when these two forces--butt and chair--combine can I live the writing dream. Everything else is just fantasy about writing; I can have any number of potential ideas and stories and essays--heck, whole books--in my head, but until they're out of me they don't really exist.

When I find myself losing focus, I close my eyes and type until I'm back on track. I can always get rid of stuff that doesn't matter after I've gotten the words out.

As far as fun goes: I find that writing isn't fun. Writing is painful and heartbreaking and hair-tearing madness. Somewhere along the way I churn out a phrase or a sentence that makes me smile a little, but overall, the act of writing is a lonely and frustrating one. Sharing that writing, on the other hand...
douchejuice
Jan. 4th, 2011 04:14 am (UTC)
what exactly is a first world problem?
spydielives
Jan. 4th, 2011 04:32 am (UTC)
I was thinking something like Larry Niven or Ben Bova, but....
(no subject) - talon - Jan. 4th, 2011 01:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - robertlyon - Jan. 4th, 2011 04:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - douchejuice - Jan. 4th, 2011 04:38 am (UTC) - Expand
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