How do you deal with distractions when you are writing? Do they derail you? The Business of Being a Writer

Insecure Writers Want to Know

I’m pleased to be a co-host for IWSG this month. Thank you, Alex!

The business of being a writer. What doesn’t distract me? Family. Gardening. Fresh air. I love sunshine. I love springtime. I love the outside. Taking walks or hikes in the forest, by a river, or up the mountainside.

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But then…I’m supposed to be creating stories. I’m supposed to be writing newsletters and blog posts. I’m supposed to be engaging readers or followers online in social media. Building my platform. Promoting my college memoir.

Writing is a business. I need to wrap my mind around this concrete fact. I’m working with words. In story. In essays. Online.

No, Victoria! You can’t go outside and play. No matter how much sunshine you see streaming in the windows. You must finish your blog post. Then, you can go out for a walk.

But I need to be conscious of my mental health. Staring at the blank screen. Convincing myself—even temporarily—that I will never be able to create anything worth reading again is not healthy.

So I take my eyes, and therefore my body, and do something else. Maybe I do take that hike now or clean up the yard. But I’m always thinking about writing. What advice can I share in this essay? How can I help others in my newsletters? Where will I set my story? Who will be in it? What is his problem? What’s the solution? And of course, marketing.

These are difficult questions every writer faces when she sits down to create essays, posts, or stories. We cannot let the fear of answering these questions derail our writing life. Not every time. That’s called burnout. We can’t let that happen.

Yet. Everyone needs a good distraction now and again. So, when I feel the desire to see what the family is doing or the tug of beautiful weather or even chores that need to be accomplished, I start with asking myself why they are affecting me right now.

Have I been working too long on a piece and getting nowhere?
Am I tired of looking at the screen and need a change of pace?
Am I feeling insecure about what I’m writing? [Yes! Always!]

Then I reach out.

I ask other writers about the logic in my story, essay, or post. [Thank you all for being my sounding board here at IWSG!]
I visit my children to fill the well of ideas by enjoying adventures with the family.
And then I search for quiet to listen to myself. To lose myself in thought. About life. About story. What I’m doing. Where I’m going.

People need other people. To talk to. To listen to. We are a social animal. But we also need to have quiet time. We need to immerse ourselves in our thoughts and mind. I like to immerse myself in nature while I’m thinking and questioning what’s happening, either in my life or the life of my story.

My essay combining college life with raising a family for Business Insider was published on April 27, 2024. Here’s the link: Please take a look and let me know what you think.

I also pitched an idea to the same editor about how to occupy children when travelling by car. He requested some pitches about travelling with my kids. Fingers crossed he’ll buy this one too.

Thanks for stopping by my little spot on the web. Please come again! And please sign up for my newsletter. It is greatly appreciated.

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I’d like to thank my co-hosts for May Kim Lajevardi, Nancy Gideon, and Cathrina Constantine! Please visit them if you can.

Our group posts on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE

40 thoughts on “How do you deal with distractions when you are writing? Do they derail you? The Business of Being a Writer”

  1. People need other people – yes, we do! The human equation is all about interacting.
    When I need to write, I write. But I also don’t let real life pass me by.
    Thanks for co-hosting today!

  2. I find that after a while I have been staring at the same page for a long time without realizing it I will look at the clock and find it has been 10 minutes and I have been frozen in thoughts that have nothing to do with the job at hand.
    That’s when I have to get up and do something else.

  3. Happy IWSG Day! Thanks for co-hosting this month.
    Yes, people do need other people, but we also need quiet time and a creative outlet- whatever that may be. Best of luck with your submission.

    • Thank you, Toi. Yes, especially as writers, we need quiet time to think as well as a creative outlet for experiences. Thanks for visiting Adventures in Writing and sharing your insight. Have a beautiful day!

  4. I enjoyed your post and your article in “business Insider,” Victoria.. What you accomplished wasn’t easy, but you had grit and determination, and you achieved your dream! Your. educational journey reminds me so much of my mother’s. She too went back to university in the mid-1960s with five children, and our father and we five kids pitched in. She graduated with her B. A. in English the fall I was a freshman. All of us graduated from the same university. And her father considered her sister Louise the smart one. Mom was the pretty one. Thanks for so-hosting today!

    • So interesting that your mother and I have a few things in common. Thank you so much for sharing these details with me. It’s always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful day, Louise!

  5. I agree with Alex. You don’t want to let life pass you by or miss out on family, friends, and other things you enjoy. It’s all about finding the right balance. Thanks for co-hosting this month.

  6. Congratulations on the essay in Business Insider. I agree that we writers are constantly battling the deadlines with the need to fill our own wells with the company of other people, our delightful children, and being out in nature.

    • Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing! I’m so glad you stopped by. Thank you for your kind words, Kalpana. You are so right with your insight. Thanks for sharing. Have a great day!

  7. Thanks for co-hosting, and I’m glad that neither you nor any other IWSGers can see the current chaos of our house, as we demonstrate that two into one doesn’t go. ( contents of two offices, ) .
    For eight and a half years, we, especially my IT husband, have been wiorking on the other side of town, with real broadband In theory, we get real broadband next week. In practice, Road Ahead Closed signs are still in place,

    • Positive thinking, Esther. This, too, shall pass and life will settle into place. Chaos can be challenging for sure. Breathe!

  8. The older I get the more important my friends become. I can’t imagine life without them. Thank you for co-hosting, Victoria. I love reading your blog!

  9. I love your take on it. Sometimes distractions mean you need a break. And you listed some great distractions! Best of luck. We do long trips with our kids in the car, and we are not big on screen time. This summer we are taking a two-week road trip. I’m always open for tips!

  10. I’m a believer that to write about life (whether non-fiction or fiction) you have to experience life! So even when we feel like we need to write, sometimes just being human is the place to be. Like you, I find that my mind is always thinking of writing, and sometimes weeding the garden is just the thing my brain needs to fix that plot hole.

    • You are so right, Kristina Kelly. And sometimes raking leaves helps me to see the way to move forward on an essay or story. And yes! Especially as writers, we need to experience life in all its trials and tribulations. Thanks so much for stopping by Adventures in Writing.

    • Absolutely, Samanta. Thanks for sharing your insight at Adventures in Writing. Have a great day!

    • Thank you, Lee. Balance is what we all need in life. And yes, we should plan for it. Always. Thanks for sharing your insight here.

    • This is true, Olga. Thanks so much for sharing your insight here at Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful day!

  11. Time with family and time in nature are necessary to refill the well – if we just stare at the screen and hope for inspiration it won’t come. Very thoughtful post. Thanks!

    • Family and nature are what life’s all about, Nick. Thank you for your kind words. They are greatly appreciated. It’s always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy your weekend!

  12. Thanks for co-hosting! I’m the type of person to easily give in if the outside world is calling, but I’m also not a very good business person when it comes to writing, either. Best of luck balancing everything!

    • Balancing is the difficult part, Loni. It looks like many of us have this trouble. I’m finding it easier to give in to my distractions, too. Unfortunately. Have a beautiful day!

  13. I use mindset tools to stay focused on writing, but also make sure that I have built in time to do the other stuff which feeds me. But it’s the business stuff from which I can easily be distracted – and that’s my current lesson to be learned.

    Congrats on your Business Insider essay, and thank you for co-hosting today.

    Debs posting today from Fiction Can Be Fun
    Also found at Debs Despatches

    • Ah, the business side of writing. I have a lot of trouble with that too, Debs. It’s probably because I don’t know much about it. I am crawling forward slowly, and am easily distracted from it.

      Thank you for your kind words. Have a beautiful weekend!


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