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Proven Strategies to Overcome Distraction and Write Your Book

June 11, 2024

Note From Rochelle

Dear writers,

Today’s tip will help you when you’re struggling with your writing.

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I’ve got a couple of classes coming up. The first one will teach you why it’s still a good idea to write a book and how to use it to promote you and your work! The second one will give you concrete tips on overcoming procrastination. If you’re interested, check out the workshop page to learn more and sign up.

Happy Writing! -Rochelle

Proven Strategies to Overcome Distraction and Write Your Book

by Rochelle Melander

Perhaps we should resist trading the important work for the urgent distraction of right now. —Seth Godin

In conversations with multiple clients last week, they talked about how feeling overwhelmed and distracted by work was keeping them from writing. For most of my clients, writing happens in addition to their job. It may eventually become part of their work, a book they use with clients or sell at speaking engagements. Until then, it’s something they fit around their day job.

And that’s not always easy, especially at this time of year. For most of us, it’s the beginning of summer. The days are longer. There are more opportunities for fun—farmer’s markets, outdoor concerts, festivals, and wandering in the great outdoors!

How do you focus on writing? The following interventions can help.

+Work on a single writing project at a time. When we are juggling work and life, adding multiple writing projects to the mix can make writing especially challenging. Consider choosing one big project to work on at a time.

+Get a deadline. The reason you get distracted by work projects? They have deadlines. Set a deadline for your book project. Then map out how much writing you would need to do each week to meet your goals.

+Keep a list of small steps for your project. It’s sometimes hard to know what to work on next. Having a list of small tasks gives you a place to start. If you have a deadline, then these small steps are part of the plan that will get you to cross the finish line.

+Schedule writing time. Whether you schedule 30 minutes a day or a few hours once a week, put it in your calendar.

+Create a distraction-free writing zone. Whether you write in the morning or afternoon, in a busy coffee shop or a corner of your bedroom—you need to eliminate distractions. This means putting a big “do not disturb” sign on your life. Shut off the internet, put the phone in another room, and get to work.

+Give yourself transition time. When we hop from answering email, socializing online, or consulting with a work colleague, it can be difficult to focus. Our brain is still spinning with the things we’ve done or need to do. We need time to think. We need space to mull over our topics or jot down ideas. Give yourself extra time at the beginning of each writing session to think about writing. Take extra time to journal or mind map your ideas.

+Get accountable. It really does help to have someone who’s waiting to see your words. You need someone to ask you, “Are you getting your work done?” Bonus points if they can help you figure out why you’re having difficulty working. Ask a friend to be your accountability partner or hire a coach.

Wondering why anyone would write a book in this market? Check out my class:

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