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Why You Need Interruption-Free Writing Time by Rochelle Melander

DSCN2005In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion. —Albert Camus

New research by Cyrus Foroughi, a PhD candidate out of George Mason University, suggests that small interruptions decrease our ability to write well. In two studies, participants were asked to outline and write an essay. In the first, some were interrupted at regular intervals. In the second, they were interrupted at random times. But the result was the same: those who were interrupted wrote less and scored lower than their peers.

What does this mean for you? That smart phone that keeps buzzing? The twitter feed popping up on your screen? Even the IM on Facebook? They’re killing your ability to write.

How do you overcome this? Give yourself a block of interruption-free time each day or week to write. It doesn’t have to be a whole day. It can be two hours on a Saturday afternoon, 30 minutes each morning before the rest of the family wakes up, or ten minutes before bedtime. No matter the amount of time you can grab—take it and write.

Pro tips:

+Turn off anything electronic that might interrupt you, including social media feeds and text messages.

+Decide ahead of time on a signal that your family or housemates will recognize as, “Writer at work” and leave you alone. This might be wearing a special hat or putting a “do not disturb” sign on your door.

+Get out of the house or office and write somewhere new and different.


2 Responses

  1. This is certainly true for me. I’ve noticed that if I’m interrupted while writing, it may take me only a few seconds to deal with the interruption itself, but it takes me much longer to get back into the “flow.”

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