Tips for distraction free writing

Often for me it isn’t the time it takes to write that’s the problem, it’s how I can somehow waste that time once I sit down.  I think there may be some concentration vampire that lives under my desk, but I have yet to find him so must ponder an alternate root cause.

M. Jaynes blogged about one key issue here recently, Creating a Writing Space.  That’s an elemental item for me, because while I sometimes enjoy banging out ideas in a coffee shop or other public area, the distraction factor is through the roof.

Lifehack also has an article with some great additional tips to help remove all the other excuses and help you get down to writing when you sit down.  My favorite items are:

Make your software leave you alone – Use tools to hide all the other pop ups and software running on your system.  The browser is a tricky one for me because I use it for valid research, but then suddenly find myself surfing Wikipedia for an hour on random, tangential (but interesting) garbage.

Use pen and paper – It’s so retro it’s cool.  On top of that, it really forces me to connect with my ideas and work slower. I struggle writing full paragraphs, but I can work out plot points, ideas, and phrases.  I also like to people-watch when I do this, and make notes for characters.  There is a Starbuck’s in San Francisco that I particularly love as I think only the most bizarre and fascinating people seem to stream in there (well, except for me of course)

Music – Maybe a given, but I think the choice is key.  I like Classical, or Techno music.  No words, just energy. It’s a mental white-noise for me, and helps me tune out all the other things to help me focus.  If I give in and switch Pandora to my workout station to try and get “pumped” I invariably want to go hit the gym or something.  Background noise only.

If I missed any favorite tricks you like to use, let me know.  I can always use more… those vampires are relentless.