“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” – William Penn
I am in awe of authors who have several major projects going at once, write for a dozen different blogs, market their books, Tweet frequently, stay updated on other social networks, find time to visit and comment on other blogs, yet manage to eat, exercise and spend time with family and friends. Whew! Some do all of this while holding down a full time job. Sadly, I am not one of those authors. After noting my actions one afternoon while ‘working,’ I’m now know why.
I sit down to write and:
A brilliant idea pops into my head and pops out again before I have the chance to put it down on paper. I play a game of solitaire while trying to retrieve the thought. That game may snowball into two, three, or more before I convince myself to give up and move on.
I write down another brilliant thought and read back over it only to find it makes no sense at all. I sulk and play a game of solitaire or two or…
I turn the sound off on my computer but out of the corner of my eye, I see the ‘you have new mail’ icon pop up. I tell myself it can wait. Now I can’t write because I’m wondering what it’s about. I click on my mail. Thirty minutes later I’m still replying to email I meant to answer days ago.
I finally pick up momentum but find I need to do a little research to make sure something I’ve written is accurate. I log on and become captivated by a site or article I run across. I log off and realize that I never got around to finding what I went online for in the first place.
Clicking away on the keyboard like crazy with thoughts coming fast and furious, I grind to a screeching halt. I don’t like a word I used. I try to think of a better one. I can’t. I flip through my Thesaurus. No good. I go to an online source. I find an interesting word but not one that will work in the sentence. I try to write a sentence around the word. It sounds forced. I play a game or two of solitaire, mulling the sentence over in my head before going back and using the word I didn't like.
I write a few more pages before the clock strikes six and I hear my husband announce ‘happy hour.’ I don’t want to miss the news. Okay, I admit it, I don’t want to miss happy hour either, so I glance at my uncompleted ‘to do today’ list, shrug and think, ‘tomorrow is another day.’
Fortunately I do have days of extreme concentration when my characters take over and I’m simply a typist. On those days, an exploding stick of dynamite under my chair wouldn’t distract me and my productivity carries over into other areas. What I want to do is work that efficiently everyday.
I hope by writing my poor work habits down, I'm taking the first step to making them disappear. Any helpful hints on how to stay focused?
Thanks for stopping by.
Tags: William Penn, solitaire, wasting time, social networks, Tweet, blogs,