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  1. LexStorm

    LexStorm Member

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    Dealing With Distractions

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by LexStorm, Jan 1, 2020.

    We all live in a world full of distractions, and I'm definitely getting my ass kicked by them. I'm constantly on youtube, checking my phone, or playing videos games and before I know it a ton of time has passed where I've gone without writing. For all the writers who have learned to handle it better, how do you deal with it? My biggest issues tend to be distractions on the computer, because I write on the computer. Thus it becomes much easier for me to veer off course without even knowing it because it's such a habit for me to do so.
     
  2. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 12/210 MP: 0/130 Contributor

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    Willpower?
     
  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    that - or turn the internet off, but i find the internet useful for impromptu research while writing
     
  4. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    100% self-control and dedication. I could spend my time sitting on YouTube or even here instead of writing. I just choose not to. I make the decisions. If you can't control yourself, then nobody can help you.
     
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  5. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    You could try my method––I have the world's worst internet connection. Some days I essentially don't even HAVE internet. When I do, it can be 5 or more minutes for a simple page to load. Not sure how one would go about deliberately creating this situation though.

    I used to use an app called Freedom (back when I had good internet), which blocks internet for a period of time you specify. I got a lot done in those days, until I found a way to disable it. But even then, just the fact of using it was like a ritual that helped me focus my discipline.
     
  6. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    The only thing that works for me is habit. It needs to be an automatic choice trained into my brain because once thought is involved it's a losing battle. You need to train yourself to shut down distraction as soon as you notice it's happening. It's never perfect but the key is staying dedicated to the habit. Lost dedication unravels the habit and makes the struggle a little harder each time.
     
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  7. Rence

    Rence Member

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    I used to spend too much time on a football (soccer) team forum. I told myself to just stop going on it, but still found I'd end up browsing there instead of writing.

    I requested a 6 month ban when I decided to take writing seriously. So with YouTube, social media etc, maybe actually putting a block on your computer would help. Even though it could be easily reversed, the fact you would have to go through the unblock process might put more relevance to your abstention.
     
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  8. More

    More Active Member

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    Having a routine can help .
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
  9. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Remember back in the double oughts (2000's) when you could either get full time internet or limited? It was a certain number of hours per month I think. A while back I asked Spectrum if they still have anything like that and the lady looked at me like she had no idea what I was talking about. She said I could just not pay one month and not have any internet. Um, not exactly what I had in mind!

    Many websites, video games, and phone apps etc are designed to be highly addictive these days, to stimulate the dopamine system so you just want to keep on experiencing the little hits of pleasure, like a rat pressing a bar over and over with leads going to the brain's pleasure center. This was an actual experiment––right next to the bar was food and water, but the rats would just keep pressing the bar over and over till they died. And today's app designers know how to exploit this protocol, and do it shamelessly so their corporate overlords can make money hand over fist. And evolution will take thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of years to begin to counter it. So meanwhile we're stuck in this information overload world of modern bread and circuses, programmed into addiction.
     
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  10. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Contributor Contributor

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    I look at the clock, pick a time, and say "Right!" (no pun intended) "Writing time begins then!" When that time comes, I turn music off (my pref), put my phone under a pillow, turn the internet off, and look to my "to do" list of what i next left myself as a target.

    Then, I write!

    Then, I look at the clock and realize its eleven at night and I'm dehydrated, and I go downstairs and treat myself for being a good little boy by having a snack before bed and an hour of watching the Witcher.

    I find that pavlovian thinking of treating yourself small things for doing it is a good way to help with motivation. But that's just me.
     
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  11. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 12/210 MP: 0/130 Contributor

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    The phone, the TV and the internet, I can turn off.

    The wife, the dog and the girlfriend are more of a problem.
     
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  12. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    yeah i can see that being an issue...
     
  13. LexStorm

    LexStorm Member

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    Currently pushing past my distractions to get more writing done. I noticed some things that tip me off that I have to avoid like the plague, so that helps. Not that I AM getting writing done now that I've hit another block, but at least I'm putting in time to work on breaking through.
     
  14. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Contributor Contributor

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    Great spot Moose!!! :superlaugh::superlaugh:
     
  15. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    What works best for me is to have a project that hits the pleasure center harder than any of the distractions, meaning one I really am in love with. It happens on those projects that develop what I call the flow––you know, when everything starts to really come together nicely and it almost writes itself. The characters take on life and interact, and your job is just to work your ass off to try to keep up as the story unfolds itself.
     
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  16. MissBadWolf

    MissBadWolf Senior Member

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    Hmmm, I use my iPhone for writing but I can use the feature like do not disturb or something like that.
    One of my issues is that my roommate tends to talk to herself and gets offended if I ask her to be quiet. I could use duct tape but then I would get into trouble by trying to put it on her.

    Internet distractions are one thing but other people are another issue that needs to be handled differently. I wish I could get another roommate but I have no say apparently who my roommate is.
     
  17. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Contributor Contributor

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    And then, one day, you suddenly blink your eyes open and find a bloody knife in your hands, their remains in front of you on the floor, and the words "I'M GLAD I KILLED THE BITCH!" scrawled in blood across the walls.
     
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  18. LazyBear

    LazyBear Banned

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    Limited internet
    Replace your broadband with a limited data plan. 100 GB/month gives a nice balance when you have the discipline. 5 GB/month if you need to break your internet addiction. You may go into a restless withdrawal but will later feel that you have twice as much time to spend and more creative ideas.

    Limited hardware
    Get an ARM based mini-computer. Raspberry Pi 3B (my favourite) has enough USB ports to work as a desktop while not having the cooling problems of Pi 4. There's also the Pine64 but it's just a more expensive knockoff with lesser HDMI compatibility. The $5 Pi Zero is for prototyping embedded systems, so not so useful as a desktop with just one USB port.

    Clean operating system
    Install Ubuntu Mate (kind of like Macintosh) by flashing the micro SD card with an OS image for ARM. Ubuntu Mate is better for authors than Raspbian by having X11 support and a browser that actually works. Disable desktop sound effects in Mate to make it more responsive.

    No phone games
    Get rid of any addictions that might trigger your internet habits. Turn off your phone and router at night. Sugar, caffeine and phone games combined make people a lot more violent and stupid than games that are actually violent and stupid. It's the dopamine itself that causes the frontal lobe to shrink just like with heroin.
     
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  19. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Writers write. It's that simple. And if you want to be any good at it, you'll have to put in more time and effort than you think. Writing is a choice. All those distractions you mention are choices too. You might be really good at texting your friends... if that's your focus. But it's not really writing and I think you know that. Distractions are just excuses. Seriously, if you can't turn off your phone when you want to be working on your story, it just sounds like you don't really want this.
     
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  20. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Contributor Contributor

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    Some distractions you just can't avoid but the ones you mention are easily avoided with will-power and dedication to your craft. Maybe you need to adopt a work now, play later attitude. I think we all go through phases and days where we have to push ourselves to write, but if it's on a constant daily bases you either need more discipline or accept maybe you're just more into others things and would rather spend your free time doing those.
     
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  21. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Try finding a place to write away from the place you usually donk around. People are generally creatures of habit and when you go to a place that's generally reserved for one kind of activity, you subconsciously expect that behavior and it makes focusing on something else harder. Conversely if you have a place to work where you develop the habit, it eventually gets much easier.
     
  22. Siena

    Siena Senior Member

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    Writing is discipline. Discipline yourself to not get distracted while writing. Not more complicated than that.
     
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  23. DarkWoods

    DarkWoods Member

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    In the last year, I have spent a lot of time trying to find the best tips to be more productive and stop procrastinating. I still have lots of work to do but here are a few of my tips.

    1. Since my iMac broke more than one year and a half, I only use my iPad to do all my work. There is an option on my iPad that show you the time you are spending on each app every day and every week. Take note of those websites and block them completely so you wont spend more time surfing on them. I am thinking of news sites, social media ...

    2. I don't have any social media account and that makes a BIG, BIG difference. For a long time, I was using lots of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest ...) but eventually, I found out I was becoming more anxious and lost lots of time using them.

    3. I don't have any smartphone. And that makes a BIG, BIG difference too ;)

    4. On my iPad, I removed all the apps that were not useful. Today, I only use about eight apps.

    5. I blocked Google so I am not surfing the web everytime I need to work. Eventually, I will unblock Google but just the fact that I have to enter the password and remove the blocked website make it harder.

    6. I don't have a TV anymore and I also blocked Youtube. Sometimes, I just go on iTunes to pay and watch a movie and I block the app after.

    7. I unsubscribed to all newsletters.

    8. When I want to focus and do some work, I use the Focus Keeper app on my iPad. You can set a fixed time, for example, 25 minutes. You focus on your work for 25 minutes, then the alarm tells you you have a five minutes break before the other 25 minutes block and so on. Very useful app.

    Well, I hope my tips can help you improving your productivity.
     
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  24. MissBadWolf

    MissBadWolf Senior Member

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    One distraction at home I can help ignore is my goldfish begging for food. The solution to that is not to be too close to the aquarium and/or face another direction.
     
  25. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 12/210 MP: 0/130 Contributor

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    I take that approach with the kids.
     

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