Last year I hit a new record. I wrote five full-length novels. Three of the five were YA (Young Adult) books which are slightly shorter in length (and require less research) than my adult historicals. However, five is quite the accomplishment for me considering my busy schedule with five children and homeschooling.
I’m often asked, “How do you do it?”
I never have a perfect answer. Mostly because there are numerous factors that come into play. First and foremost is the fact that I’ve been writing almost every single day for the past ten years. My writing muscles are very strong. There’s NO way I could have run a writing marathon early in my career. I had to work my way up to where I’m at.
Second, I’m an extremely self-disciplined person. Before I start a first draft of a new book, I map out how many words I need to write every week in order to complete the book by my self-imposed deadline. Once I figure that out, I stick to my word count goals and rarely let myself get off track.
Third, I carve writing time into my day. I intentionally block it in (sometimes in longer chunks, sometimes shorter, but always something). Then when I sit down to write, I don’t get distracted with the internet. In fact, I do my writing on a small laptop that has a terrible internet connection which deters me from “browsing for just a few minutes” (which almost always turns out to be much longer!).
Finally, one of the biggest factors in helping me focus is that I have an arm’s length relationship with social media. Of course, social media is an important part of every author’s toolkit in promoting books and relating to readers. However, it has the potential to suck a person in.
I recently read an article by Alon Schwartz the CEO of unGlue: “How to Stop Facebook From Hijacking Your Attention.” In the article Schwartz quotes the founder of Facebook who admits that his social media company was built on one goal: “How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?”
Schwartz goes on to talk about how Facebook and other tech companies want to get their consumers addicted, but now Facebook is beginning to acknowledge how harmful social media can be to a person’s mental health.
The article gives 8 tips for preventing Facebook (and other social media) from taking up too much time. The tips are practical—like “Remove Facebook and Instagram apps from your phone” and “Stop taking your phone to the restroom” (which made me chuckle). Read the rest of the tips HERE.
All of us can benefit from taking a look at whether we’ve allowed social media to hijack our attention.
But for writers and other creatives looking for ways to boost productivity, cutting back on social media is ESSENTIAL. When we cut out the social media noise, we free our brains to focus, to finally take us deeper into a quiet creative place so that we can lose ourselves in our imagination.
As we visit that happy creative place consistently and for longer periods, we pave a smooth pathway there, so that eventually we’re able to push aside roadblocks and return to our imagination-world with greater ease.
Whatever our situation, whether we’re readers or writers, we all can benefit from taking a look at what kind of grip social media has on us.
Has facebook (or other social media) hijacked your attention? What tips do YOU have for keeping social media from becoming an addiction?
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