I don’t think I need to tell anyone whose ever spent any time trying to write about this problem, yet here I am. One of the biggest problems with writing is distractions. They might come in the form of family duties, your “day job”, the internet, Facebook or other Social Media, YouTube, or just television. I include streaming services as part of the television category.
The point is, lots of things distract us from our “job” as writers. Unless you’re fortunate enough to be a “full time” self-supporting author, you’ve got a day job. Sometimes that job comes with enough stress that you can’t relax and write. I know, relax and write seem like contradictory terms. For me, writing has always been cathartic. It’s my Zen, my nirvana, my comfortable zone. I treasure the time I spend turning thoughts into stories for you all to read. I hope you all enjoy reading them as much as I did creating them. That’s the goal, anyway.
No matter if you’re a writer of horror, sci-fi, fantasy, romance, fiction or non-fiction, distractions play a factor in how much actual writing you get done. To that end, I’ve created a chart on the wall of my writing room. It’s broken down by days of the week and has tasks listed (writing related) that I need to accomplish that day. Subjects like: My Blog, Social Media Promotions, Short Story Tuesday (which I’m loving), Podcasts that I co-host/host, and, of course, writing. It keeps me on task and lets me focus on things I need to have done.
Short Story Tuesday is something new I added. I find that I’m enjoying it very much. I decided to add a day where I concentrate on a different project other than the book that I am currently writing. This lets me focus my creativity in another direction for a while and when I go back to the main project, I do so with fresh eyes. It’s fun and helps me build up a library of short stories that I can go to if I’m invited to be part of an anthology unexpectedly. So far, I wrote one that might become a screenplay (more on that later if it’s accepted) and a side project that was originally for an anthology that was cancelled. Like I said, I just added it. Give me a few months and I hope to have quite the library of short stories built up. Maybe I’ll do my own anthology, then. Who knows where it might take me?
Social Media Promotions is just what it sounds like. Posting links to my books in groups, scheduling posts, updating my author page, answering questions from people and so on. If you send me a message, I will answer. It might take me a day or two, but I will answer. Dropping links in groups is very time consuming and I have to make sure I remember to do it. It’s not difficult, just kind of tedious. It’s necessary, though.
Podcasts are fun, but they are still a distraction from the actual time spent writing. I co-host The Wicked Little Things Podcast on Blogtalk Radio with Catt Dahman. In this podcast, we cover horror in all it’s forms and interview other authors in the genre. We sometimes even manage to stay on topic. It’s a fun show with a light-hearted approach. We like to relax and have fun with our guests. This show airs on Blogtalk Radio every Wednesday and Friday.
I also co-host The Nightmare Hunter with Roger Noriega on NDB Media. This podcast deals with cryptids and monsters. We discuss encounters, sightings, and stories of everything from Bigfoot to Chupacabra to La Llorona to the Loch Ness Monster to Mothman… and everything in between. It’s not a regular podcast, so watch the page for dates and times, usually on Mondays.
Lastly, I will be solo hosting a podcast called “D.A. Ex Machina”. This podcast will be for me to discuss my work, upcoming projects, answer your questions, interview other authors, and talk about all things in horror, cryptids included. Maybe some of the things we read about are far more real than we would like to believe. I’m planning on doing this show on Saturday nights. If you want to chat with me or would like to be a guest on the show, let me know. You can find the links for all these shows below. Make sure to give them a like and follow them for updates.
Distractions don’t always have to be detrimental, if you manage the time you spend on each task. Don’t let yourself fall into the “just one more video” trap on YouTube or “just one more post” on Facebook or Instagram. It happens. Watch your time, pace yourself and focus on the tasks that need to be focused on. I made the dry-erase board checklist on my wall to help me do just that. If I can do it, so can you. It’s not nearly as daunting of a task as I thought it would be.
I hope this helps you, my fellow writers, to find a path that allows you more time to create those stories that we all want to share with the world. Writing is a journey that we shar with our readers. I’ve said that many times and it’s kind of become my mantra. I have never seen other writers as my competition. I’m always happy to help if I can. I’m more than willing to share the lessons I’ve learned along the way. It might not get you to the Bestseller’s list, but I can help point you in the right direction. Hell, I’m still trying to reach the top of that ladder, myself.
Thank you all for taking this journey with me. I hope you enjoy the stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them.
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