You decide that today is the day. Come hell or high water, you’re going to make progress on the manuscript you’ve neglected for the past week while other matters intruded. You are off work and the kids have school for the next six hours. Ah, luxury! You have all day to write.
With time stretching before you like an expanse of wilderness to explore, you can afford the few minutes it takes to wash the dishes. Starting a load of laundry now means you’ll have one less thing to do during the evening rush. Oops! You forgot to empty the dryer yesterday. You turn it on for a few minutes to remove the wrinkles from the clothes inside. While you wait, you nip into your bedroom to make the bed.
Your cell phone rings on your nightstand. The caller is a friend who is going through a tough time and needs a listening ear. You accept the call but mention that you can only talk a moment. Forty-five minutes later, you have moved on from your friend’s personal problems to discussing a new diet. You interrupt the conversation, saying you should get to work. After the call ends, you turn your cell phone off. The school and your relatives can reach you through your land line number in an emergency, which is the only thing that will keep you from ignoring the world.
The dryer stopped long ago, so you start it again. You organize the cupboard in the laundry room while you wait. When the clothes are ready, you fold or hang them up. The washer stopped while you were on the phone, so you switch the laundry before putting away the laundry. It will only take a minute.
You’ve lost over an hour by now, but you’ll catch up. First, you deserve a break. While you wait for your favorite warm drink to brew, you put away the dishes you washed earlier. It occurs to you that there’s nothing thawed for dinner, so you rummage through the freezer and come up with a package of frozen hot dogs. Thank goodness! You don’t want to run to the store to pick up groceries right now.
You’re starting to feel a little frazzled. Two hours have vanished. Where did the time go?
You fire up your computer and apply the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair. Finally! Before you start on your work-in-progress, you take a peek at your emails. An hour later, you sign out of your account, congratulating yourself on getting so much done. You’ll start on your writing project right after a break.
Your cup is somehow empty, so you go into the kitchen for a refill. Hunger gnaws at your stomach, so you make a snack and read a chapter in a book on writing while you eat. Absorbed, you forget about time and jump when you realize you’ve let another hour slip by. You really have to get writing, but first you’d better move that laundry.
You fold the clothes in the dryer without worrying about wrinkles this time. With your mind on your story, putting away clothing can wait. Your computer beckons. Your fingers fly on the keyboard as words pour from your soul. Three paragraphs later, your land line rings. Your son forgot his homework, and this is the last day he can turn it in. He needs to pass this class, and you need not to have a meeting with his teacher over this. You locate the necessary item in his jungle of a room, drive to the school, and deliver it.
The creative spark is gone. You return home with another half hour shot and no inclination to pick up where you left off in your manuscript. There’s only an hour and a half left before the kids come home from school. It hardly seems worth diving into your manuscript. Having so little time is itself a distraction. While deciding what to do, you catch up on your social sites. After all, you’re a writer, and you need to network online to build your platform.
You start out well but lose your focus. Who wouldn’t want to click on the video of a moose running alongside a couple of snowboarders? Remembering your purpose, you check in on some reader groups only to find them filled with book promotions by other writers. You close out of your social sites, now depressed. You should have written more today.
With only half an hour to go, you browse the Internet for recipes that will make hot dogs interesting.
Final Thoughts from Janalyn
While this post is tongue-in-cheek, it highlights the excuses for procrastination and distractions writers face. For an article on overcoming procrastination, read “How to Stop Procrastinating and Attain Your Goals.” If distractions are more your problem, you’ll find help in “10 Sneaky Strategies to Eliminate Writing Distractions.”