Blog Hopping. Distraction and me, the things that stop me writing.

Welcome back to another BlogHop, with#OpenBook. Read on for this week’s prompt.

What are your top three distractions and how do you deal with them?

I’m back on the blog hop, after a couple of weeks where I wandered off and did other things.

Which sort of proves that I’m easily distracted.

When I started writing, I only had one plan. Write, publish, repeat. It was a simple plan, I hadn’t reckoned on all the other things that would need to be done, whether I wanted to do them or not. Editing was a thing I couldn’t do myself, whereas cover design was a thing I could learn. They all distracted me. As for marketing, to begin with, I never intended to do any. Writing and publishing was my hobby, an exercise to pass my time. I had no interest in advertising my books. Nothing else was going to distract me.

Ha, Ha!

To find three things that now stop me writing is relatively simple, deciding which are the worst offenders is slightly more complicated. So I’ve decided to go with the ones that are plaguing me at the moment.

Top of my current list is marketing. Now that might not seem like a distraction, rather an essential part of the writer’s life. After all, without marketing, how would anyone know I’m here? But marketing stops you from writing. It makes you spend valuable writing time on other things. Despite what I said earlier, I have come to realise that I must do some marketing, however reluctantly. How to advertise without being annoying hovers in the background, occupying my thoughts, distracting me from finishing a story and getting on to the next one.

I have all the good intentions, I’ll make plans and devise strategies but when it comes to actually putting them into practice, I’ll suddenly find any number of reasons to do something else. I’ll remember that I have a plot to resolve, a cover idea to refine, a blurb to write. Or I’ll worry that I’m being too spammy and leave it for later. Meanwhile, I spend time agonising over why I haven’t done it, or why I did it like I did instead of how I planned. All time-wasting distractions.

My second major problem is getting new ideas while I’m in the middle of writing a story. The characters actions or words will prompt a new train of thought and I’ll be off, writing a short story, or a blog post about it. Alternatively, I’ll spot something interesting when I’m out and about, overhear a comment in a coffee shop. Whatever, I’ll drop what I’m doing and begin to build a story around my new idea.

I have so many short stories and half-finished projects, largely because it becomes self-perpetuating. The more incomplete works I have, the more I’ll wander off and write a few more pages of one of them, or start a new one, when I should be doing something else.

Such as what I actually intended to do when I sat down.

Last on this particular list, but probably the worst distraction overall is research. I suspect I’ve told you this before but I love to do research. I never used to enjoy it, then I had an epiphany, from which a novel and a sequel have resulted.

The way random things pop up when you’re looking for facts online has grown on me and now I’m an addict. I can lose myself on the internet for hours, discovering ever more fascinating pieces of information. Some of which might be useful, one day.

The second and third items on this list really conspire to work together, they feed off each other, so that research begets ideas, which begets more research. You get the message. I can see why some famous authors farm out their ideas to a team of writers, it would certainly speed the process up. I have enough to keep several busy.

The strange thing is that I never seem to get distracted away from my distraction back to my intention.

I’d love to write more about distraction but I’m afraid that

I’d love to get your comments, please leave them below. While you’re here, why not take a look around? There are some freebies and lots more content, about me, my writing and everything else that I do. You can join my newsletter for a free novella and more news by clicking this link.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this week’s thoughts, please leave a comment below. Then go and check out the rest of the great blogs on the hop. Just follow this link.


11 Responses

  1. Stevie Turner

    All the marketing is a waste of time, because we usually end up promoting to other authors who are trying to market their own books. If only there was a site where readers go, but yes, there is…Amazon! Readers go straight to Amazon to search for a book – they don’t bother logging into WordPress, Facebook etc. What’s needed are trillions of reviewers instead of author interviews, cover reveals, and ‘what-is-your-writing-process’, lol.

    • Richard Dee

      Agreed, the trouble is, you have to sell before you can hope for any reviews 🙁

  2. Lela Markham

    Everything other than writing takes time away from writing. The world is full of shiny objects and I’m a raven.

  3. P.J. MacLayne

    I have a problem with coming up with ideas for my current series that I know will upset my readers. Almost like a parallel universe thing. But they’d be a ton of fun to write. 🙂

  4. Roberta Eaton Cheadle

    I really enjoyed the topic this week, Richard. I was fascinated by your post and the things you find distracting. I consider marketing and research to be part of the job and I am disciplined about the amount of time I spend on them. New ideas, I also have those, but I find it difficult to focus on another idea when I am busy with a book. I don’t want the distraction, so I am the opposite from you.

    • Richard Dee

      It never ceases to amaze me how we are all so different, yet we reach the same place. Reading the comments on this and the other posts have given me at least one idea already.

  5. Stephen Bungay

    My personal strategy is to stay the course, noting the interesting bits seen along the way to perhaps return later and investigate them. This however is not 100% successful, but it is quite effective.

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