Sunday, February 17, 2013

Knuckling Down(aka - Fighting Distractions)

As the dozen or so people who read this blog know, I've been working feverishly on a new novel.  I've set a daily word count goal of 2,000, and I go to 4,000 or 5,000 during federal holidays where I have the day off but my daughter has school.  This should result in my book being complete by the end of April.

However, some days are harder than others.  Sure, it's not an issue once I get started, but I have to get past my urge to see what crazy things I need to catch up on or finish that debate on some message board or social media site(usually Facebook).  That takes discipline to sit in the chair, open up the work, and not follow some random interest down a rabbit hole.  It might not sound like much, but those of us who write know that such distractions are tempting.
(Don't follow the dragon into oblivion)
If I want to maintain some sense of sanity in my family life, I have to limit my time on the computer.  My wife will tell you that I've been known to sit on the computer all day and just browse through stuff, and that means less time spent with her and my daughter.  In order to not spend my life staring at a pixilated screenand flirting with divorce, I have to ration my computer time.  This means making choices as to what to do.

This writing thing is my lifelong dream.  In order for it to work, I'll need to get my name out there as quickly as possible and try to build a fan base that will notice my work and want to find more.  However, if I want to meet my initial rollout date, I've got to stay focused on writing.  My first year or so in the realm of actually selling books, I don't plan to write very much(except for this blog).  That's not to say I won't start anything new, but it means I will want to focus mostly on marketing and distribution, so writing new novels won't be very high on my list.

As most of those who read this blog know, writing an entire book is a time consuming and all-encompassing effort.  To finish in a timely manner requires continuous output, and that means you have to make the most of your computer time, especially if you want an outside life.  If I was doing this full time, I don't think it'd be much of an issue - I could write during the "normal" workday while my wife and daughter are otherwise engaged, and I'd still be very productive,  However, in the crevasses in which I can find time to write - after they go to bed, when they're out shopping, etc. - I can't let the latest Facebook status or my addiction to political websites get in the way.

It's been hard to eschew these things, and I don't always succeed.  I love getting embroiled in philosophical debates(yes, I'm a nerd) or reading about the latest in the world of science.  They help keep me sharp, or at least feeling as if I'm sharp, but they're still taking time away from finishing my work.  Could I be better at getting away from this stuff and better utilizing my limited computer time?  Sure, but that requires a great deal of effort.  Sometimes I succeed, but I fail almost as often.

How do you knuckle down?  Do you have something to knuckle down for?  And how do you handle things when your mind wants to go off into La La Land?

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