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Avoid Distractions and Get Some Writing Done

Recently, well-known blogger Cory Doctorow wrote an excellent post on how he gets his writing done in this information age where the internet provides umpteen sources of distraction. He advised writers to have short but regular work schedules, use simple tools like a notepad to write, and to not research while writing.

His post inspired me to write my own version of how a writer, especially one who writes for blogs and websites, can get a lot of writing done and also manage to interact with the world. Though not of the same stature as Cory, I am a web writer and I face the same hassles and hiccups.

While you may find similarities between Cory’s tips and my suggestions, this post primarily includes the methods which I practice as a writer. I hope it helps you to write more efficiently and be more productive.

Write When You’re Alone
Whenever you find yourself alone, that’s the best time to collect your thoughts and start writing. If you are living with family and have kids, then the best way to get it done would be to inform your family members that you are going to start writing and you should not be disturbed. And I’d agree with Cory when he says that you should write whenever you get the time, instead of waiting for the right time and right atmosphere.

Write at a Stretch
When you start writing, don’t allow any other thoughts capture your mind. Focus on what you are writing and write at a stretch for at least fifteen minutes.

Ditch Everything Which Requires a Response
Yes, in order to remain focused and write at a stretch, you need to ditch tools like IM, email, Twitter alert tools and any other service which requires a response. I’d also advise you to switch off your cell phone or give it to a family member for that time period.

Research While Interacting
You can’t just go on writing for the entire day with your IM and cell phone turned off. Interacting with the world is important and you could always do that when you need to research for something. I don’t think researching for an article necessarily requires a distraction-free environment. You could search Google and prepare notes and talk to family or post a twitter update at the same time. Doing the talking and the research simultaneously gives you a lot more time to get the writing done.

Don’t Distract Yourself!
How could you distract yourself? By focusing too much on the writing right from the start. When you start writing, just write and write, just go on. Don’t think about the spelling mistakes or sentence structure. The editing can always be done later. The important thing is to let your thoughts flow freely so that they produce the best content.

Use DarkRoom / WriteRoom
Simple tools like Notepad are great for distraction free writing and I’m with Cory on that. In fact I’d recommend another tool called Darkroom (for windows) which provides the ultimate distraction free writing environment. For Mac users, WriteRoom is a similar tool for the purpose.

If you are a writer, I’d love to know what other methods you use to get more writing done. Let’s hear them in the comments. 

By Abhijeet Mukherjee for DumbLittleMan