Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Writing Around the Distractions by Deborah Blumenthal

       Wisteria is discounting seasonal goodies by fifty percent, Groupon is offering 82 percent off Crunch membership, there’s an amazing French restaurant in the Village where - get this - you can eat for 30 percent off the check on Bloomspot, and wow, there’s a studio apartment that’s having an open house and my daughter's now apartment searching, and on and on and on and exactly how do you stay focused on writing your book when you’re being bombarded by e-mails and distractions, never mind the latest daily offerings on Gilt and  One King’s Lane, and omigod, there’s that holiday party coming up and J. Crew has the totally cutest stuff so I'll just take like five minutes and go check out what they have and then, ugh, the laundry is piling up and it’s almost time to take out the dog and my stomach’s starting to growl, so maybe I’ll just get up and have a yogurt, but oh God, I haven’t even glanced at the Times this morning and like what if something major happened and I don’t even have a clue???

      It’s harder than ever to stay focused on writing, especially at this time of year, so what do you do?
  1. Close your e-mail, at least for a couple of hours.
  2. Don’t answer the phone. That’s what answering machines are for.
  3. Don’t shop online. I’ll say it again. Don’t shop online. Establish a rule about online shopping, like not between the hours of nine and one and stick to it.

        How do you stay focused? Share your secrets! 

Deborah's latest young adult novel, THE LIFEGUARD, will be published by Albert Whitman & Co., on March 1.


  1. Nice cover! I use Freedom which disables the Internet for as long as you ask.

  2. I reward myself with a few minutes of internet time for every hour I work. Sometimes, though, it seems to be the reverse. Checking my deadline date is also a killer focus technique.

  3. I wish I could say I was good at avoiding distractions. But I'm not. My best trick is to set a timer. But I admit to getting up to the fridge, etc...
    Nice cover, btw!!

  4. I love your cover, Deborah! As for staying focused, the only way I can do that is to be away from the Internet... I'm too tempted to check email or read blogs otherwise.

  5. Deborah, are you reading my mind or something?! I just sat here, nodding at this entire post!!

    Alas, I have no tips on staying focused-- I'm just reading all of the smart ideas here!

  6. Ha, ha for a minute I thought your cover was an example of how we can get distracted LOL! We have a writers challenge every so often on www.jungleredwriters.com, which involves a kind of pledge--no going on the Internet until your two pages (at least) are in the bag. the group support and reporting in really seem to help! Little goals work for me, and writing them down...

  7. Deborah BlumenthalDecember 8, 2011 at 9:03 AM

    I love that pledge idea, Lucy, thanks. I'd also like to add one more idea to my list. Move your laptop to a room in the house where you don't get great internet service.

  8. I had an early Christmas gift exchange with 2 writer friends. One gave me a timer and I LOVE it. Following her instructions, I set it for 45 minutes and take a 15-minute break. During those 15 minutes is when I check email, Twitter, Facebook, Zappos, Etsy or, even better, GET UP and move away from the screen. Watching the seconds tick away REALLY bring home how much time is flying, and it's nice to know that I'll have a little break soon.

  9. So there would be more of the possible opinions and objects for the students to put here with more of the possible details and hopefully will govern better platform.