When I’m working on a book, or any writing project, I find that one of the most difficult things about the process—second only to coming up with the idea—is getting myself to sit at my desk and stay focused. If I let myself stop and check my email, browse Facebook, etc., it’s amazing how quickly what I intended to be “a quick break” morphs into … the whole day. Once I engage with the outside world, any creative spell I’ve been under is snapped, and it’s hard to get back in the zone.
My strategy? Disconnect from the two biggest distractions, i.e. internet and phone.
In a way, sitting down to write is like working out. You may have the best of intentions to do it, but actually working out means not doing something else, and the pull of the “something else” tractor beam is powerful. If you can get yourself dressed in your workout gear and out the door, that’s half the battle. Actually, it’s probably most of the battle. So think of disconnecting as the digital equivalent of putting on your workout clothes. Put your phone on mute, turn off your internet browser, and get to work. (If your will power repeatedly falls short, tools such as Freedom will block the internet for you.)
While my advice may sound simple, even I still have trouble following it on occasion. But if I ignore the lure of the internet and my phone, it’s amazing how much writing—good writing—I can get done in a short amount of time. It’s like when Han Solo and Chewy switch the Millennium Falcon into hyperdrive phase. Suddenly, they’re halfway across the galaxy.