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mynock77
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[*] posted on 6-24-2009 at 05:33 PM
Necessary Distractions


First of all, I'm not sure if this is the proper forum for this. If not, I apologize. Here's my question:

I'm often in the middle of writing something (because I am a freelance writer for a living) and have an unrelated thought. For example, I might decide that I'm thirsty, hungry or need to go to the bathroom.

In the case of things that need to be done eventually, but could probably wait for a few minutes to an hour, is it better to just do it and get it over with and then come back to writing or keep writing until you finish a section, even though you're distracted by a grumbling stomach or something, and then come back and finish the writing thought later?

[Edited on 6-24-2009 by mynock77]
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[*] posted on 6-24-2009 at 06:02 PM


I always stop for the bathroom. That is definitely a necessary distraction. But as for food, I try my hardest to compete a section first. If I break myself in the middle of it, I never can get back into it, it seems. Same with shorter stories (up to 3k)- if I don't sit and write all of it out in one go, I'll lose the tone or something.




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[*] posted on 6-24-2009 at 07:12 PM


I typically try to finish up a section, at least to the end of a paragraph.
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[*] posted on 6-24-2009 at 07:54 PM


I stop in the middle of a sentence so when I come back I have something to build from. Get down as much as you need to be able to remember what you were talking about. But don't wait to go to the bathroom, I'm down one kidney :)
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[*] posted on 6-24-2009 at 10:41 PM


If I end up being hungry / thirsty and there's nothing nearby [I keep a 64 oz bottle of water close at hand at all times, so the likelihood of it being empty is slim], I'll use getting the food / drink as the reward for finishing the chapter / word goal / whatever.

But, I do agree with the not waiting for the bathroom. That has a far greater potential for disaster than ignoring food / drink for what could end up being an hour or two. xD




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[*] posted on 6-25-2009 at 03:25 AM


Yeah...never wait for the bathroom. Unless you're a word or two away from a sentence and know you'll be able to stop yourself after that.

I'm like Erin - I keep water or some sort of drink near me all the time. I try to keep snacks nearby - nuts, hard candy (jolly ranchers), tootsie roll pops - so that I can finish a section before going to get something more to eat. It doesn't spoil my appetite for the meal and it helps my word count. Double bonus! :)
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[*] posted on 6-25-2009 at 09:59 AM


huh.
i kind of totally zone out to everything when i'm writing. when i finish a section or chapter or something, i zone back into life, and then notice stuff like bathroom, food, etc.

...
huh. i've like, never been "interrupted" by a pressing biological need. do i not drink enough or something?
maybe i just take a lot of breaks. :P




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[*] posted on 6-26-2009 at 02:35 AM


Never waiting for bathroom, I agree on that.



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[*] posted on 6-26-2009 at 03:07 AM


I agree with Pliny, I sort of zone out and don't notice these biological needs... then I finish the chapter or something and think ok time for a break, and I notice that I'm really really hungry (which really isn't all that unusual for me) or I need to go to the bathroom or drink...



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[*] posted on 6-27-2009 at 03:12 PM


Yeah, I always find that if I do get distracted, once I start concentrating I forget that I am hungry or need to go to the bathroom. But if you, you know, really need to go to the bathroom, go. Or your body will take care of it for you. :D
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[*] posted on 6-28-2009 at 03:01 PM


Why stop when you can continue to write in the bathroom if you have a laptop or are writing in a notebook?

I've done that before :)
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[*] posted on 6-29-2009 at 12:07 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by ladynadiad
Why stop when you can continue to write in the bathroom if you have a laptop or are writing in a notebook?

I've done that before :)


Yeah, but I have this pathological phobia of dropping my laptop in the toilet. XD

[Edited on 6-29-2009 by demonofthekeys]




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[*] posted on 6-29-2009 at 05:14 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by demonofthekeys
Quote:
Originally posted by ladynadiad
Why stop when you can continue to write in the bathroom if you have a laptop or are writing in a notebook?

I've done that before :)


Yeah, but I have this pathological phobia of dropping my laptop in the toilet. XD


Same here. X)

If I get really into writing I usually zone out and forget all about myself and the world around me, like some of the people here have mentioned. Other times I use any excuse I can to get up and walk around a bit: drink, eat, bathroom, stretch, phone, look out the window to find the source of that strange noise, and - my most usual one - OHMYGODITHINKISAWASPIDER (arachnophobia FTW).

I hate writing description, so I tend to dawdle over that.




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[*] posted on 6-29-2009 at 11:35 AM


I stop for everything /but/ the bathroom. For this year's nano, I got a whole days writing done in about an hour because I told myself I couldn't use the bathroom until it was finished. It worked xD



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[*] posted on 6-30-2009 at 08:42 PM


Actually i find these distractions necessary. I normally won't wait to get up and go to the bathroom or get something to eat unless I'm in the middle of a sentence. I often use this time to write out in my brain what i want to say.



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[*] posted on 7-1-2009 at 03:29 AM


i like the idea of breaking off mid-sentence so you can get straight back into it after you get back from kitchen/bathroom or wherever....keeps the flow going! ;)
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[*] posted on 7-1-2009 at 09:27 AM


Just thought of this and am amused -- not a single one of us mentioned sleep in this thread. xD



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[*] posted on 7-1-2009 at 09:45 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by demonofthekeys
Quote:
Originally posted by ladynadiad
Why stop when you can continue to write in the bathroom if you have a laptop or are writing in a notebook?

I've done that before :)


Yeah, but I have this pathological phobia of dropping my laptop in the toilet. XD


The only good thing about my lappie being big and chunky.. is that it won't fit through the toilet lid! :D




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[*] posted on 7-1-2009 at 01:32 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Erin
Just thought of this and am amused -- not a single one of us mentioned sleep in this thread. xD



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[*] posted on 7-1-2009 at 03:34 PM


I don't know. When I get really into it, I drop everything for writing, including sleep, food and toilet breaks. But I get really distracted by fiddling around with music. You can't be writing an action scene and listen to "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" from The Lion King, can you???



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[*] posted on 7-1-2009 at 05:16 PM


I would get to a good stopping point before taking a break. Otherwise, being easily distracted as I am, I'm likely to never come back.
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[*] posted on 7-1-2009 at 07:03 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by internet_jumbie
I don't know. When I get really into it, I drop everything for writing, including sleep, food and toilet breaks. But I get really distracted by fiddling around with music. You can't be writing an action scene and listen to "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" from The Lion King, can you???


I probably could, but it would get all lovey somehow, like someone would sacrifice themselves for the person they loved or something like that.

Makes me wonder now how many of my scenes were induced by winamp's sick sense of humor.
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[*] posted on 7-2-2009 at 03:54 AM


Ahh, another freelancer eh? I am actually branched out as a web content developer, but I am also a web copywriter. As far as this goes, I totally understand the distractions part. I have my rules.

1. If I must use the bathroom, a notebook or the dang computer goes with me and I don't stop for longer than I have to. The advantage practiced writers have over novices is a respect for emptying their brains: you cannot keep it in there.

2. Anything that takes less than two minutes can be done upon the emptying of my current writing thoughts immediately. Anything beyond two minutes shall be emptied onto a sheet of paper and placed into my inbox to be processed later.

Not to toot David Allen/GTD everywhere (because it always comes up in my conversations) but a freelance writer definitely benefits from reading Getting Things Done by David Allen. The ideology of his work flow/action management process really works for me. To gauge the compatibility of his methodology with your brain, check out this review. http://20somethingfinance.com/blog/2009/01/02/a-gtd-summary-...

I have been freelancing full-time for three years, and I have tried just about everything possible to properly use my time and my mind. So I would recommend reading GTD thoroughly.

Best wishes in your freelance writing endeavors.

EDIT:

I forgot to add that when my husband is home (currently, he is deployed ]: ) he regularly cooks for me and makes me eat, even if it is at my desk. Without him here, I think I need a mini-fridge. Often, I will take the laptop or paper to the kitchen and be standing next to the fridge typing/writing and never eat. I tend to keep granola bars in the filing cabinet next to my desk under the accounting files for months to come.

Again, try everything until you find what works for you.

[Edited on 200972 by jfheekin]




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[*] posted on 7-2-2009 at 03:05 PM


I usually don't notice my bodily needs while I'm writing, if I'm really into the story. Especially going to the bathroom. I'll finish a scene, feeling all proud, then realize that my bladder's about to explode, so I go dashing of to the john. ;) Same thing with fod and water. I've gone entire days where all I've had is a cup of coffee in the morning, but I was writing consistently throughout the day, so I didn't notice my stomach aching or my throat feeling all dry.
When I don't really want to write, I'll find just about any excuse to get up. Playing with the dogs for half an hour, cooking something that takes a long time, deciding that, now that I think about it, the bathroom floor needs to be cleaned. Stuff like that.

If I do happen to notice that I'm starving or thirsty or something while writing, I'll get up after I finish the paragraph to take care of it, but only if it's too big for me to ignore it anymore. If it's just a small thing at the back of my head saying that I'm a bit thirsty, I won't worry about it until I'm reall, really thirsty. Probably not healthy, but whatever.




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[*] posted on 7-3-2009 at 08:07 AM


LOL Sleep never really keeps me from writing, sometimes I'm up until three (especially during the summer, LOL, I'm going to have to cut that out by September--SENIOR YEAR ;^;) or four in the morning writing and then I take a quick nap to keep up the energy, so I'll wake up at eight or nine. I have yet to really crash XD

Food... does distract me... << I will say this. When I smell paella I feel the hunger with a vengeance--it totally ruins my motivation and my word count, LOL.




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