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Writing and Distractions - 07/11/2013

While searching for the online page of this month’s LOCUS column by Cory Doctorow, I came across this older column: Writing in the Age of Distraction Its short length is packed with useful tips for avoiding distractions while at work on a writing project. I’m already ahead on the admonition not to keep instant messaging, etc., active while writing. I never use IM or anything like it. I especially like Doctorow’s advice to write for 20 minutes every day. He equates that time to a page and points out that a page a day equals a novel in a year (or less, I may add). Writing every day keeps the momentum going. He also suggests leaving a “rough edge” to pick up when you start the next session. Stop in the middle of a scene or even the middle of a sentence. I’ve found this practice does help to maintain the writing flow, although it took me a while to overcome my compulsive neatnik urge to tidy things up by closing my session with the end of a scene or chapter every time. (However, I must admit that 20 minutes don’t usually equal a page for me. I assume he means single-spaced pages?) Now, if only I could claim to write every day. I embarked on “retirement” with that intention. Maybe I should take on Doctorow’s discipline of the daily 20-minute session when I can’t fit in the thousand word goal I originally set for myself. This past week, for instance: On Friday my computer freaked out; nothing appeared on the monitor. The hope that the problem came from a defe...

Writing and Distractions

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