Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tips to Keep Distractions from Veering You Off Course

Me - Dora Hiers
This spring, hubby and I purchased a new car. Before that, I drove a Ford Explorer, which I loved, but now that it's mostly me and the dog tooling around, it seemed pointless to drive such a big car. And gas? Nothing like watching $70 drain out of a tank, right?

So when the Explorer got to be of age, I set out to find a car with better gas mileage, but it had to be sporty and roomy enough to accommodate our full-figured Golden Retriever.

We decided on a Hyundai Santa Fe. I could ramble all day about the features. Heated seats, shiftronic capability (the ability to switch between automatic and stick~don't get me going on that!), great gas mileage, and ...

<--- check this out!

An electronic digital display estimates my average miles per gallon. What?? Do you know that you can boost your gas mileage by taking your foot off the accelerator for a few seconds? Well, I am all over that! That's why I got the car, right?

So, instead of focusing on the road, sometimes I would find myself honing in on that blue line, getting giddy as it edged closer to 50 mpg. I mean, really. How cool is that?

But then a honk would get my attention. Or moseying off the side of the road...

It's the same with our writing, isn't it? We allow distractions to take our attention away from getting words on the page. Those interruptions and diversions will drain our writing time and cause us to veer off the road, er...not accomplish anything that day.

Here are some suggestions that help me stay on track:

Determine your most productive time and stick to it. Early on, I recognized my most productive time of the day was in the morning, so that’s when I write. After breakfast and quiet time, I respond to emails and check social media briefly, and then immediately start writing. Every thirty minutes I get up and stretch, occasionally hit the restroom or refresh my drink. I don’t answer the phone unless it’s my husband, and I schedule all appointments for afternoons. Figure out your most productive time and do your best to work with it within the confines of your schedule. 

If you work a full time job, but your fingers fly across the keyboard in the mornings, can you get up a few minutes early to write? If your mind comes alive late at night, carve out some time after the kids go to bed to write. If your day consists of taxiing your kids around from football to gymnastics, you may have to adjust to lugging a laptop or tablet and squeezing word counts in fifteen minute increments. As much as possible, whenever you write, guard that time.

Set a goal. Set a realistic word count goal for the day, and then map it out for the entire year. Sounds like a lot of work, but it’s actually a great tool to help you see what you can accomplish if you cut out the distractions. Ask your spouse or a friend to keep you accountable by asking how many words you wrote that day.

Recognize your priorities. My recent college grad lived at home for a short time while he searched for a job. When he sauntered in my office, no matter the time, I was all ears because I recognized time with him was short, so talking with him was a priority. Occasionally, I found it necessary to adjust my word count while he was living with us, which I did, willingly.

Eliminate unnecessary distractions. Do whatever it takes to eliminate distractions. The biggest distraction for me is the Internet. There are apps available to disconnect from the Internet for extended periods of time, or you can just set a timer to alert you when your break is over.

What about you? How do you minimize your distractions?
Care to share the tips that work for you?

Journey's End
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Devastated after the brutal murder of her husband, Chelsea Hammond vows never to love another lawman. Intent on rebuilding her shattered life, she turns her focus to helping troubled teens. But when an angry father bent on retaliation, threatens her, Chelsea must turn to the one man she never thought to trust: Deputy U.S. Marshal Trey Colten. 

Trey wants only to protect Chelsea, but she blames him for her husband’s death. Trey can relate. He blames himself, also. As danger lurks, Trey begs Chelsea to heed his warnings. He let down one Hammond. He won’t let down another—especially one who now holds his heart.

When Chelsea is snatched from her home, can she put aside her fear, and trust Trey with her life? Can she forgive him for destroying her past and let him help to rebuild her future?