The Art of “Planned Distraction”
One time, I was deep in discussion about a project with a potential client at my satellite office (a local coffee shop!). When, all of a sudden, without warning, she blurted out, “Bob, I want chicken wings … I can smell them!”
Stunned, I said, “It’s only 10:30 in the morning!”
She replied, “So, I’ll have them for lunch! Now, where were we?”
Bob Sands here with day four of The Writer’s Life. This week we’ve been looking at keys to developing infinite creativity.
We’ve all been around people who are easily distracted. And, as writers, distraction can lead to the dreaded procrastination.
Distraction isn’t normally our friend, but it can be. In fact, the art of “planned distraction” can rev up your creativity.
Several of the major time management gurus preach to eliminate distractions. They say once you do that, you’ll find yourself being more creative and less overwhelmed.
I think the opposite of this advice is true, to an extent.
Am I suggesting chasing every “shiny object” that comes along? No, but I am advocating PLANNING some time to be distracted during your writing day. Planning for it allows you to stay more focused during your actual writing time.
Here are some suggestions:
- Go for a walk. Some of the greatest writers did this very thing. Dickens loved the change of scenery. Some say he was to have reported logging as many as 20 miles per day! If you’re having trouble with an idea, walk away and walk out. When you come back, see if things aren’t a bit more fluid.
Talk to real people. Since I work from my home office a lot, the only live creatures that are usually available to interact with are my two cats and a dog. Sometimes, it’s important to interact with real, live, honest to goodness, bona fide human beings!
So, schedule a coffee or a lunch. My favorite thing to do is to leave my office and go have lunch with several of my friends. Usually we shoot the breeze, tell jokes or talk about the happenings in our city. Whenever I come back to the keyboard after a break like this, my perspective is renewed and the writing comes a bit easier.
By the way, this is an added benefit of living the writer’s life – having the freedom to do this and all the while becoming a better writer.
- Change where you think. Like a lot of people, I have my preferred writing space. When I sit down at the keyboard, it signals to my creative side that it’s time to produce. Sometimes, I vary where I do that (another benefit of the writer’s life!). Occasionally, I write at a coffee shop, on the patio or even at a park. The shift in location gives me a different perspective and often inspires new ideas. If you want to change your flow of ideas, change where you think.
Why not begin today planning for some distraction time? You’ll find, when you sit back down to write, you’ll have a new perspective and the new ideas you need to reignite your writing.
What kind of distractions do you plan for? Tell me about it in the comments section below.
We’ve all heard the statement, “It takes a village … .” Join me tomorrow for my final installment in this week’s series of The Writer’s Life when we look at the fact that it takes a community to enhance creativity.
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