It never fails, almost every time I do laundry a pair of socks end up missing its match. It’s become a joke around our house because it happens so often. We refer to it as, “The case of the missing sock.” After folding all of the laundry, I’ll realize I’ve got a sock with no match. I’ll usually check the dryer first. If the dryer is empty, I’ll check the washing machine as well as the route I took when I carried the basket to the laundry room. Sometimes I’ll have to unfold shirts and towels just in case the dreaded static cling is holding the sock captive. Despite my thorough search, many times the sock doesn’t show up for a few days. Some end up in the sock “black hole” and never return. Often I feel my writing time is like that missing sock.
Since I have a full-time job outside the home, most of my writing is done during the weekend. Occasionally I’ll have a large block of free time to devote to writing either on Saturday or Sunday. However, even with a large block of time, if I don’t exercise discipline, the time will disappear like one of our socks.
Reporting to duty, otherwise known as, butt into the chair has never been an issue. My problem comes once I’m in the chair and faced with multiple distractions. Here are some rules I try to follow so my writing time doesn’t pull a disappearing act.
1. Turn off my phone or let calls go to voicemail. Often the weekend is a time to catch up on the phone with long distance friends. I’ve been known to “catch up” for over 3 hours at a time. This definitely eats away at my time, so I turn off the phone and return calls later.
2. Disable the internet. I’m not a big Facebook or Pinterest user, but reading and commenting on the blogs I follow can turn into a huge time suck. Telling myself I’ll only read a couple never works, so disconnecting is my only option. This also prevents me from obsessively checking my e-mails and reading the latest headlines.
3. Go to my quiet place. Sometimes I’ll take my favorite pen and my notebook, go into a quiet room and write by hand. This ensures the internet won’t be a distraction. Also, writing by hand puts me into a calm frame of mind where thoughts come more freely.
4. Remove tempting books from the room. Being the voracious reader that I am, I can easily be tempted by the latest novel I’m reading. If the book is anywhere in the room, the moment I can’t decide if my character will live or die, I’ll head straight for that book.
5. Ignore the dust bunnies. One of my biggest distractions when it comes to my writing time is cleaning. Normally when I’m writing, I feel guilty because there is always something to be cleaned or straightened. My eyes will scan the room, taking notice of that cobweb way up in the corner of the ceiling, so I’ll pop up to get the duster. To prevent this constant up and down, I’ll usually do some cleaning before I sit down to write to prevent the guilt.
These are just a few things I do to ensure my writing time is used efficiently. As for cracking the case of the missing sock, it’s still under investigation. For now, I’ll blame it on the leprechauns.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!