by Carolyne Aarsen
We all have them and we all give in to them. As a writer, working from home, with a refrigerator only a procrastination away, distractions are my nemesis. The biggest ones?
The Internet and e-mail. No contest.
I will be working away and hit a snag. Doesn’t even need to be a big one. Can be something as simple as ‘what was that secondary character’s name?’ and I’m pulled out of the story and hey, are there really two new e-mails in my inbox?
Or I will be drumming my fingers on my chair, trying to puzzle out a story problem and, hey, let’s check out article someone posted on the loop. And while I’m there, here’s a link to an article on making my prose stronger. Perfect. Jump over to that one and . . . . Stars without makeup? Of course! And soon I’m finding out more about the Kardashians than any human needs to know.
It’s not called The Net for nothing. It ensnares and captures and pulls me slowly, steadily into it’s depths.
So how can I resolve this? How can I stop this madness that overtakes me?
I have found a way and it is so simple and easy and because I have a servant heart, I’m sharing it with you. It’s a program called Freedom. A simple, $10.00 program that turns off the internet for however long you want. And it’s strong. You can’t turn it off before the time you specified is up without restarting your computer. When I know I’ve been particularly distracted and the deadline is hovering, I’ll turn it on for two hours. And that’s it. E-mail. Internet. Non-functioning. Knowing I can’t go wandering, I am forced to concentrate and work. And very often, once I get started, the words slowly start to flow.
But there are other distractions that aren’t internet related. Games are another one that will suck me in.
Enter, Concentrate. Concentrate will also shut down the internet for you, but I’ve found it’s not as powerful. But where Concentrate shines is that it will also shut down specific programs not internet based and also for a specific time. Even more fun, you can program a prompt that will talk to you at intervals you specify. I use a basso voice that tells me, every five minutes, to “Keep Writing” or “Don’t quit”.
These programs have helped me stay focused. Because when you’re a writer you are your own boss and your own employee and when both of them decide to goof off, you’re in trouble.
I’ve included links to both programs if you’re interested. I know there are many similar programs out there, but these are two I’ve use the most and have had the most success with.
Hope they can help you too. And remember, Keep Writing.
Carolyne Aarsen, originally a city girl, was transplanted to the country when she married her dear husband Richard. While raising four children, foster children, and various animals Carolyne’s resumé gained some unique entries. Growing a garden, sewing blue jeans, baking, pickling and preserving. She learned how to handle cows, drive tractors, snow machines, ride a horse, and train a colt. Somewhere in all this she learned to write. Her first book sold in 1997 and since then has sold over forty books to three different publishers. Her stories show a love of open spaces, the fellowship of her Christian community and the gift God has given us in Christ.