Writer At Work: Do Not Disturb!

January 23, 2018 | By | 1 Reply More

You wake. You want to write. You know you have to write. You’re on deadline. Your head is still on the pillow. You reach for the phone. You should’ve reached for the laptop. But…

Let me just check my email, my messages, the weather, the news…

Just for a minute…

And suddenly its noon. You haven’t showered. Nor have you written a word.

We live a world of distractions. It seems all of humanity has borderline ADD, an eight second attention span, these days. We’re too easily distracted by the shiny moving objects we find on the Internet or on the TV or in the real world. We have too much of everything and everything needs our attention NOW. This Minute. This second! Our family, our friends, that party, this email, that movie, this play, this book, that author, the signing, the laundry, the chores…

There’s just one of you and there’s so much of THAT!

So how do we amputate unnecessary distractions? How do we find the time and the focus to be productive (as writers) every day?

Here are some ways I employ that keep my mind on the job:

  • I use full screen mode on Word, which blacks out everything but the text page on my Mac. But whichever software you use, exercise the option to black out everything else
  • Unplug from the Internet entirely by actually turning it off or using apps to do it for you like MacFreedom.
  • If you can, have two laptops. One only for writing with nothing on it except you writing software
  • Turn off the TV. Your shows will be waiting for you, frozen in time, when you’re done. (I don’t switch off the TV because I like background noise and can work around it.)
  • The same goes for other electronic devices like phones, iPads, Kindle
  • Have a schedule. Set aside time to write that won’t clash with any other chores. And then use that time free of guilt and worry. Do it in small bursts if you cannot allot half a day at a stretch. One hour a day is sometimes all you need to get focused
  • It helps to set small goals. I get overwhelmed when there are too many things on my plate, and I end up doing none of them. So, I set small targets and focus all my energy on them
  • Warn your family that your writing time is YOURS and they cannot encroach on it…not unless someone is bleeding to death. Perhaps make a Do-Not-Disturb sign and hang it on the door of your writing room, or around your writing space. I’ve stuck a post-it to my forehead once with DND written on it with a Sharpie
  • It helps to physically get out of the house and write somewhere else completely, if you can. Like a library or a coffee shop where no one will disturb you
  • Take a few recharging breaths and then just WRITE

Hope these tips help you as they usually help me focus.

Falguni Kothari is the author of unconventional love stories and kick-ass fantasy tales. Her four novels, most recently MY LAST LOVE STORY, are all flavored by her South Asian heritage and expat experiences. An award-winning Indian Classical, Latin and Ballroom dancer, she currently spikes her endorphin levels with Zumba. She resides in New York with her family and pooch.
She can be found online at FalguniKothari.com and you can get the latest updates at bit.ly/FKMailingList

Connect with her on Facebook @FalguniKothariAuthor and on Twitter and Instagram @AuthorFalguni


“Promise me you will laugh every day. Fight every day. Do you know how beautiful you look when you’re angry? Promise me you’ll learn to cuss, learn to love again. Live again. Promise me you won’t give up on each other.”

Simi Desai is thirty years old and her husband is dying of cancer. He has two last wishes in his final months: first, that she’ll have his baby so that a piece of him lives on, and second, that she’ll reconcile with her old flame, who just happens to be their mutual best friend. And so over the course of their last summer together, Simi’s husband plans a series of big and small adventures for this unlikely trio, designed to help them say goodbye to each other and prove to Simi that it’s okay to move on without him–and even find love again.

Beautiful and poignant, Falguni Kothari’s My Last Love Story will pull your heartstrings as only unforgettable love stories can.

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Category: Contemporary Women Writers, How To and Tips

Comments (1)

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  1. Lorelei says:

    It works for bloggers too! 😄 Great advice! Black out screens…
    I use a whiteboard, to cross off tasks. I should go check it. I just got distracted 😉

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