Monday, October 31, 2022

Dealing with Writing and Running Distractions

It’s Halloween morning as I sit here writing this. And there’s nothing scarier than letting your plans get derailed from a distraction, no matter how big or small. After I graduated from college, I stopped writing. Life included things like finding a job, having two children, and even going back to school to get my elementary education degree. Back then, it seems like all I was writing was lesson plans. I’ve had the dream ever since I was a little girl to become a published author with lots of books on bookstore and library shelves. But life distracted me. The scariest thing for a writer with big dreams is to never reach their goals. And if I wasn’t writing anything, that would happen to me too. So how do you get rid of distractions or deal with them when they show up?

  1. Schedule time for your goals
  2. Set priorities to protect what’s important
  3. Get away for a weekend to help you focus

Schedule Time For Your Goals

I’ve heard people say, “If it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t get done.” I have found that to be true. Of course, just because I don’t have my calendar filled with things to do doesn’t mean I’m sitting around like a bump on a log doing absolutely nothing. It just means that I’m letting daily distractions get in the way of doing anything meaningful that would help me reach my goals.

Like run a 50k or write my middle grade fantasy series.

One thing you can do is get a planner. On the calendar, schedule a time block to sit down and write. It doesn’t have to be 2 or 3 hours every single day. It can be as little as 20 minutes just two to three days a week. Schedule your exercise time. Put it on the calendar. It will help you be more consistent and every time you look at your calendar, you’ll have something to look forward to and start getting excited about it.

What about big distractions that you know about ahead of time? Like holidays (hello, Halloween), weddings, family reunions, or graduations? Schedule your writing and running time around those dates. Either take a few days off or schedule it for a different time.


Set Priorities

Setting priorities means putting what’s most important to you at the top of your list. People who like to run in the mornings guard their workout routine (and their time) because running is a priority for them. If you don’t do it first thing in the morning, it won’t get done. Others may like going to the gym right after work because that feels more convenient – and it’s on their calendar, so it’s a priority.

If there’s something you want to do, you have to make it a priority, or else you’ll let distractions take over. Want to attend a writing retreat next summer, then schedule it! Otherwise, you’re saying to yourself, “Well, if nothing else better comes along, THEN I’ll go on the retreat.” That line of thinking is evidence that the retreat is not a priority for you. Priorities come first, no matter what else comes along. Granted, other things do come along like sickness or death. In those cases, your health or dealing with grief becomes your new priority.

So protect your writing and running schedule by actually putting your time on the calendar. That way other things can’t creep in and take over that time. That goes for daily rituals, weekly priorities, and yes, also annual events, like the Writers Who Run Retreat.

Get Away for a Weekend

Another way to deal with distractions is to create a mini-getaway for a couple days. A two or three day weekend can do wonders for blocking out daily distractions and creating the space to focus on your goals. You can go to a local B&B, or the Motel 6 just down the street. One or two nights is all it takes to get away from the family, the dogs, and the phone so you can focus on your goals. 

A weekend getaway is a welcome distraction from the daily grind of cooking meals, doing laundry, and other chores. If you’re lucky, your spouse and children will pitch in and help out while you’re gone. If not, it’ll be there when you get back. More often than not, most writers seem to prioritize writing over cleaning house anyway. So you’re definitely not alone there.

What to do on your weekend getaway? Work on your most pressing project, even if you don’t have any hard, fast deadlines. Set a mini goal for yourself, such as finishing the next four chapters or running through your second-pass revision. While you're at it, set a goal to run too. Prepping for a race? Be sure to map out a route ahead of time, or make sure the hotel has a gym with a treadmill.

To sum it all up, the best way to deal with distractions is to prioritize what’s most important, set aside time on the calendar to focus on it, and possibly take a weekend to yourself a few times a year to make a little momentum toward your bigger goals.

Keep writing, keep running.


Christie :)

What’s one of your priorities? Share in the comments.

Keep on keepin' on...


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