We've all done it, sat down at our computer to complete the bills, balance the check book, write a business letter or complete a report and ended up searching the Internet or checking email instead. Before you realize what has happened you have wasted all of your available time and have not completed the essential task you set out to finish. You can not make up for this lost time so instead you hurriedly race through your list of the days objectives giving none of them your full attention or best effort.
Enemy #1 - The Internet. I will not spend my designated two hours of writing time checking email or searching the Internet, even under the pretense of doing research for the story I am currently writing. I will make additional time for research on one of my non-writing days.
When I am really trying hard to figure something out, when I am studying, or when I am nervous or upset about something, I eat. While I gain a certain amount of comfort and enjoyment out of eating it is not conducive to the over all objective, writing, or in this case typing.
Enemy #2 - Eating. I can not fully concentrate on a story when I am attempting to eat at the same time. I will not be focused and it makes it impossible to type. It also makes the keys greasy and has the potential to force feed crumbs to my computers keyboard which is not very good for the over all health of the machine.
There are in fact days I wake up and find that my head is filled with nothing but haze and cob webs. The creative juices just are not flowing and the entire morning just seems to be a waste of valuable time. On hum drum days like this it is easy to turn on the television and sit for hours mindlessly watching sitcoms and cartoons.
Enemy #3 - The Television. When I can not concentrate on writing I will put the work away and attempt to complete a different task scheduled for the day. This frees up time later in the afternoon or evening when I should be working on the completed task and will give me the time I need to come back to my writing and really focus during that scheduled session. Because of my busy lifestyle it is not as important to write at a particular time, as it is to stay committed and write on my scheduled days in an attempt to reinforce the writing habit.
Got that nagging feeling? Is the pile of dirty dishes in the sink calling to you? Does the laundry need to be washed? Maybe you felt a little sand on the bottom of your feet as you walked across the kitchen floor on the way to make your coffee.
House work is Enemy #4 - I feel a certain responsibility to make sure the dishes are done, the laundry is clean, that the floors are swept and vacuumed and that our living area looks tidy but that need does not have to get in the way of my writing. I know that I am going to be incapable of concentrating on writing if the household chores are not complete so I should schedule writing time for the early afternoon, when the tasks are finished and my mind is at ease.
The last enemy on my list, I feel quite guilty about designating an enemy, because that is most certainly not their intention. Enemy #5- My family. You might be asking why I would say my family is an enemy of writing, when family is suppose to be your biggest supporter. My answer to that is that they are, they just don't always realize the ramifications of some of their less than appealing behaviors. For instance, it is extremely difficult to try and get into the "zone" when a 10 year old is jumping up and down yelling that her twin sister stole her favorite toy. Just as difficult is tuning out the husband, who had been watching TV but his show ended and now that your busy he's decided to come and talk your head off about something you care less than nothing about. Also problematic is when the desk you intend to use for writing is treated as a dumping ground for the mail, keys, wallets, phones and whatever other miscellaneous object that was not put away properly.
I will combat this problem by creating a writing schedule making time to be alone with my thoughts. I will designate a specific area and time to writing and share this information with my family so that I am not disturbed and so that clutter does not effect my ability to focus.
So there you have it folks, the top five "enemies" that effect my writing ability and available time.