In this chaotic world we live in distractions are rife. There are phone calls, text messages, Facebook updates, Tweets, kids, pets and more. When you are trying to be a successful blogger, all these distractions can really add up to wasting lots of your valuable writing time. But what can you do to stay productive despite these distractions? Well, try some of the tips for success:
Set aside writing time
The most important thing to do when you are trying to be a successful blogger amidst distraction is to set aside defined writing times. These times are sacred and must be kept. Make it a part of your schedule like eating or sleeping. Writing time is not optional and it happens no matter what else is going on. Once you have accustomed yourself and your friends and relatives to this time you will have far fewer distractions. No one will call during this time because they know you will not answer. This is a great way to set up polite boundaries and make sure you get the time you need in peace to write.
Have your own space
The second thing you should do is get your own writing space. This area should be yours alone and off the beaten path. Do not set up your writing space in the kitchen or living area or next to the coffee pot or water cooler. You want a low traffic area that is peaceful and quiet. The best place is a room with a door that you can shut during writing time, but anywhere that you can get away for a while will work. Make sure that only you touch this area so that you can keep track of everything you need to and your work does not become compromised. Having an area of your own also gets you in the right frame of mind to write once you sit down.
Turn it off
It is not a sin to turn off your telephone. So many of us are used to being able to be connected to everyone twenty four hours a day that we forget our phones have an off button. Turn it off. No huge disaster will occur because you were unavailable for a little while. If you have children or are caring for someone who is ill and may need emergency care then I can understand leaving your phone on. In that case simply refuse to answer any number that is not on your ‘emergency’ list during your writing time and make it clear that if they do call without a true emergency they will have to wait to talk to you until later. You should also turn off Facebook and Twitter. Go ahead. You can log back in later. It will not kill you to be offline for a while. In fact, if you do not need to use the internet for references as you write why not unplug your internet altogether to avoid the temptation?
Block it out
Some things are not so easy to get away from. Noisy neighbors, catty co-workers, the everyday noises of life can distract you from your blogging. Do your best to find a quiet spot to work, but when even that fails try to block it out. I have found instrumental music and nature sounds very effective for this. Plug in your ear buds and block out that noise. I try not to listen to music with lyrics because that is just a further distraction and I can end up typing the lyrics or listening to the song instead of writing! If it is movement that is getting your attention then try putting your back towards it or shutting the blinds. I know it is not as pleasant to work like that but sometimes it is necessary.
Keep it short
One thing that bloggers often forget is that you do not have to write a novel for every post. Keeping it short is beneficial to you and your readers. Most people do not have time to read a lot of text so the shorter you can make your blog posts the better. That does not mean you skimp on information. If you have a lot to cover then you can break it up into a blog post series. By keeping your posts short it is easier to keep track of what you are writing and get more done between interruptions.
Speaking of getting more done; a list is a great way to keep yourself on track as you write even when you get distracted several times during the process. Whenever I have to work in less than prime circumstances (which is a lot) I use lists. By creating a list I can keep my points even in a long blog post and yet I can treat each point as an individual, allowing me to complete the blog post even after leaving my desk for several minutes or hours. I do not stress about forgetting a point and I do not have to worry too much about the flow. Not only are list posts good for you as a blogger, but they are one of the most popular types of posts for readers also. This is because a reader can scan a list and only read the points they find interesting. They can also know from the number of points how long it will take them to read the post, allowing them to choose to read on or save it until later.
Much of my time is spent cleaning up my desk and trying to figure out what to do next. At least it was until I discovered that by staying organized and keeping my desk clean every day I could only spend a few minutes on that and then get to work instead of being drowned by papers and junk all around me.
Keep a notebook
I do not know about you, but when I sit down to write is usually not the time I come up with good ideas on what to write about. Actually, ideas often strike when I am at the gas station or grocery store. That is why I have started to carry a pen and notebook with me wherever I go. That way when inspiration strikes I can write down my ideas. Do not fool yourself into thinking you will remember them later. You won’t. Instead, write down your ideas with points and everything. It does not have to be an essay, but you should write enough to get everything without relying on your memory. I still don’t know what “blindfolded coconut” means, and I wrote it down!
Take a break
Sometimes when you are writing amidst distraction you get get frustrated and overwhelmed. It is okay to take a break if distractions won’t stop. Just step away, deal with things, and then come back later when things settle down. Life is hard sometimes and we need to remember what is most important.
Last but not least, when you are trying to blog in chaos remember that you can use multimedia too. Maybe making a video is an option for you. Most laptops come with a built in web camera and microphone. Use that to ‘blog’ your thoughts. You can also use images and screen caps to prove a point and cut down on the actual writing time required to explain something. You know what they say; a picture is worth a thousand words.
These are just a few of the ways that you can be a successful blogger even in the face of distraction. Do not let distraction hold you back. Instead become a productive blogger and stay strong!