This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Someone once told me I should be a Gemini as I have a contradictory elements in my personality (I was born two days late and I’m a Cancer). But it’s true, and when it comes to writing I tend to be either extremely disciplined in a nothing’s-going-to-stop-me-getting-down-my-words way, or I have a mind that will wonder in any direction but my book.
This week I’ve been having a very weak-willed week. I remember reading Stella Newman’s Writing Room feature on Novelicious a few weeks ago and she talked of how when she was writing she’d get transfixed by the need to know random facts about obscure TV shows and actors/actresses. That is exactly the week I’ve had.
I try and write with the internet off, and most of the time I have enough self control to keep it turned off, but this week I think my record for keeping it off was 37 minutes. 37 minutes! I have a little ritual of sites to check: Facebook, Twitter, email, and then I’m off again. Unless I have some urgent need to know something random à la Stella and then I just have to look that up, and maybe check the weather, and maybe a new recipe for dinner. By the time I know it, my two minute site checking has turned into a twenty minute non-productive searching session.
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I remember reading a writing tip on Novelicious last year that said you should write offline and create a list of things to look up on the internet after your session. I’m thinking that they were mainly talking about research related questions, but even so, I decided to give that a go. But it didn’t help me, as no sooner than I had written it down, I thought it would be quicker just to get my answer, and online I’d go.
To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have noticed how often I was doing this if my husband hadn’t pointed this out to me. We’re both working from home at the moment, and he knows when I’m doing “unauthorised surfing” as I sit over the other side of the room to him, and not only can he not hear the clip-clopping of my keys, but apparently I also get a dazed look on my face.
When I wrote Don’t Tell the Groom, it was under ideal conditions. My husband was working away in a different country which meant I was alone in the house and I pretty much wrote all day and all evening. Due to an impending house move we’d disconnected our internet and I had to rely on a dongle. I knew I had to keep of my dongle credit for Skype conversations with the other half, so I barely used the internet. If ever you need to stay off the internet, having a ridiculously low data allowance will do it! Now with my husband needing the internet to work from home, I’m having to rely solely on willpower.
But after the week I’ve had I’ve wondered if I need a little help, say from a programme like Write or Die, or Mac Freedom. Something that will block me from those pesky internet distractions.
Does anyone have any tips for when writers are having a weak-willed week?