Hi Bookish People!
I wanted to tell you guys about my most useful trick when I have a lot to get done: writing jail. Sometimes it’s editing jail (ok, it’s mostly editing jail). This is how I got my last novel edited even on days when I had the attention span of my border collie. This might be especially helpful to those of you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo and have fallen behind on your word counts, or just want to get ahead!
1.Relocate to a space where people can’t or won’t distract you.
My preferred space is the quiet room of my local library. I literally sit facing a cement wall. It is the least interesting cement wall you’ve ever seen and facing it keeps me from taking in the scenery when my brain doesn’t want to focus. Any space that you can find with minimal distractions will work. Leaving the house also does have the added perk of saving you from the popular distraction by cleaning.
2. Turn off your wifi.
I know this is pretty much unthinkable to everyone but it’s the only way to maximize the benefits of your creative isolation chamber. I know the first outcry is usually, “but what if I have to look something up?!” You’ll be fine. Make a note in the document for later when you can afford to check email, Facebook, Instagram, remember to actually Google the question, then repeat the cycle for a mind numbing 30-40 minutes until you’ve wasted all your writing time. Turn it off. It’s good for you.
3. Put your phone away.
Preferably in another room and on airplane mode, if not off. A recent study showed that just the presence of our cell phones, even if they are turned off, can drain our cognitive capacities. The people that preformed best on cognitive tests during this study had their phone in another room so that’s what I try to do. With push notifications, text messages and delightfully distracting apps there is no writing jail without the absence of your phone.
Set a time when you’ll be done or at least have a general idea to keep you motivated. I would suggest breaks every hour or so, but I don’t stretch my breaks much longer than five minutes. If I do I get pulled away from the story too much. This is a personal preference and your breaks might be longer. I also never set a timer because I want to preserve whatever flow states I fall into and really sink into my work.
So that’s the basic overview of writing jail. I use it when I find myself slacking off, when I have a deadline, or when I’m editing because for some reason it brings out my worst habits (checks Instagram for the 500th time that hour). I find the time highly productive and should probably use it more often.
I hope that it helps you if you’re struggling to stay focused! What are your writing struggles? I’d love to help so comment on the post, shoot me an email, or DM me on Instagram.