"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

4 Distractions That can Actually Add to Your Productivity as a Writer!

Many times, "distractions" have a negative connotation; they get a bad rap. One online dictionary defines them as: "Something that makes it difficult to think or pay attention."
Well, this can also be said of head injuries, one could argue.

Here's why a paradigm shift is in order.
I've discovered that distractions don't have to do you in!
Just like money, the "evil" exists in how they're used.

Allow me to elaborate. Distractions can be used to inspire, gain clarity, broaden our perspective, energize us, and enhance our creativity.
(Sorry, not the ones like playing computer Solitaire for hours)- I mean the constructive ones.

Rather than using distractions as a convenient excuse for not making progress, or failing to meet deadlines, let's look at how the constructive ones can actually increase productivity, allow us to explore other creative avenues, and even improve our bottom line.

Here are a few that come to mind...

How many times have you logged onto your computer to tackle your to-do list, only to be bombarded by email updates, links from friends, and announcements?
You quickly click on or open up the related content, and before you know it, you've covered a lot of online territory and spent an hour or two being detoured. 

Don't despair. Online distractions can work to our benefit through shared links and email blasts that keep us informed and "tapped"  into what's going on in the blogging community and the publishing industry; thereby saving time in future research and mental wear and tear.  Sometimes it can be through identifying new markets for creative projects, breaking news, or inspiration for a blog post idea.

I'm a big music lover, and I like mine loud. I dig listening to an array of sounds and musical approaches- from Beethoven, to Biggie Small, to Bob Marley, to Billy Joel. While for some, listening to music, (especially when accompanied by lyrics), can hinder focus, it often elevates my mood and motivates me to produce at higher levels. Additionally, those in the medical community have established that music has therapeutic properties as well. It is said to improve sleep quality, ease pain, and enhance physical workouts. You can learn more here:

No doubt we're all probably guilty of being taken in by this one. But, believe it or not, there's a wealth of information and inspiration to be acquired from the "Boob tube." Whether it's commercials that help you to brand your blog better, soap opera clues that impart lessons on crafting believable characters, or interviewing dos and don'ts, courtesy of Barbara Walters.

Cooking is a great way to turn up the heat on your creative projects and combat writer's block.
Combining various ingredients, textures, colors, and food groups, (and the pretty plating and presentation that follows), can be fun and inventive.
It can be relaxing too. Why not try your hand at some new recipes that will impress family and friends for the holidays?
No doubt, in the process, you'll discover some writing parallels, and the smells and sounds may even conjure up childhood memories that can serve as inspiration for a personal essay or "Chicken Soup" submission.

Here are a few other things to consider:
  • Set a time limit to your favorite distraction.
For example, I almost never miss watching the game show Jeopardy. But, I watch TV strategically, so that I am enhanced by it and not detrimented. I monitor what I watch and my viewing time.
You should too.
  • Recognize that all distractions are not created equally. Some are negative; while others are positive.
Here's how to tell the difference. If indulging in it makes you feel guilty, and you have nothing concrete to show for it, it's probably a negative pursuit. If the "distraction" relaxes you, makes you feel renewed, or gets those creative juices flowing, it's positive.

Keep in mind that distractions are just temporary. What's important is not to lose "focus" on the big picture and the joys of writing!

Your turn.
Agree or disagree? What's your favorite distraction? Do tell.


  1. Love, love this post! I'm distracted by most of the things you mention and find inspiration and rest (of all things) in most of them. Even Soda Crush exercises a part of my brain that helps me puzzle things out. Thanks, Jen. Have a great weekend.

  2. Jennifer Brown BanksOctober 11, 2015 at 6:06 AM

    Thanks, Susan. So glad you liked it!