All kinds of writers work in many different ways. While some may write at home for hours on end, others will go out to a cafe and write. For me however, I have one fatal problem. Distraction, or in other words procrastination.
No matter where I do my work, whether it is at my home PC or out in a cafe, I always find something to distract me from the task and most of the time it’s the internet. However, over the months I have taught myself how to control the temptation of looking on twitter or youtube.
I have taught myself to stop and rest when I come to a natural stopping point in my work (be it the end of a chapter or the end of an intense scene). Procrastination, for me usually lasts for 10 to 15 minutes at a time before I feel the urge to get back to writing and I’ll never stop unless I’ve written enough to justify a break.
While some writers may stop for an hour at lunch time and then continue for 2 or 3 hours solid, I simply can’t. Even though I treat my writing as my job, I can’t sit at my desk from 9 till 5, a part of the reason is due to a herniated disc in my lower back. I simply can’t stay in one place due to the pain in my back and as I am writing this, despite my good posture, I am experiencing a great deal of pain.
With my physical problem aside, after I have written approximately 800 words (usually an hour), I will take a 10 minute break to stretch and rest before I continue to write another 800-1,000 words. Having said that, I do get bad days. These days I usually only write 200 words and that is either down to not being in the right mood, or i’m simply in too much pain to concentrate.
Despite the setback, I still think to myself, “Well, that’s 200 words more than what I had yesterday. So that’s still a result.” And most of the time, the next day I will make up for it by writing more words than I usually do on an average day.
I don’t think it matters how you do your work or how many breaks you take, the only thing that matters is getting something done. Whether you write 100 words, or 3,000 words, you’ve still got some work done and you’ve still made progress. Procrastination can be controlled you just have to find out what works best for you.
Do you find yourself getting distracted after 1 hour? Or are you able to keep focused for several? It’s all up to you and your mind set. Procrastinating is fine if you learn to control it. Try different techniques and see what works for you.