How Being Antisocial Can Improve Your Writing Process

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How Being Antisocial Can Improve Your Writing Process

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Current marketing wisdom denounces the life of the solitary writer, claiming that introverts can’t win in today’s crowded market. But what if I told you that being antisocial is the perfect way to improve your writing process?

While there’s no doubt that social media has its place in a writer’s marketing plan, many people waste a lot of writing time being distracted by the internet as a whole and social media in particular. Add to these the distractions of chores to be done, errands to run, family obligations, and ringing phones and you have a recipe for busy day in which you accomplish practically nothing on the writing front.

I don’t think you need to be a recluse à la Salinger or Faulkner, but as introvert author Cormac McCarthy once said:

“If you spend a lot of time talking about a book, you probably shouldn’t be talking about it, you should be doing it.”

Unfortunately, just being introverted doesn’t solve the problem of time-wasting in this modern era of cell phones and social media. Writers that need to get down to business often need a little help to carve out some truly private time. If you want to make some changes to your writing process to get your ink flowing more freely, read on.

Schedule Time for Your Writing Process

Treat your writing like a job, not a hobby and you will see your success infinitely magnified. Even if you are a part-time writer, schedule time in your day specifically for writing and then stick to it. Write it in your calendar. Think of it as non-negotiable. And then simply spend that entire time writing.

Prepare for Maximum Distraction

Don’t just sit down to write thinking that because you’ve scheduled your time everyone will respect it. You have to take charge of your own destiny to some extent. First, turn OFF your cell phone. It’s hard to write if you’re being constantly interrupted with calls or social media notifications. The world won’t end if you don’t respond to a text for an hour or two, I promise.

Many writers are easily distracted by the internet, since most are working on a computer as they write. If you must do research as part of your writing process, it’s even more likely that you may wander off on a tangent as you’re searching through information. So:

  • If you don’t have to do any research, KEEP YOUR INTERNET BROWSER CLOSED! Only have your writing program (Word, Pages, Scrivener, Storyist, etc.) open while you’re working. Make that a rule and stick to it!

If you use social media for marketing or personal reasons, this can bring an even greater impact to your schedule. This post from Technori shows how just an occasional social media “check” can turn into over 2 hours of wasted time in an 8-hour day. Incredible! If you have trouble keeping yourself from sneaking a peek at your social media accounts during writing time, try this:

  • The Anti-Social App that will block social media and targeted websites that you determine for as little as 15 minutes or as long as 8 hours. Best of all, it works with both Mac and Windows operating systems. Another app, Self Control, is free but is limited to Mac users. A similar program for PC users is Freedom.
  • If you want to monitor how you’re spending your time, try FocusBooster (for Macs and PCs). It’s based on the Pomodoro productivity technique that I outline in this post.

You can use any or all of these techniques, but the most important thing to remember is that your writing process represents your livelihood; your career. Be serious about it. Protect yourself from distraction and give yourself the time and space you need to write the amazing words you’re capable of!

See you on the next page!

Nikki Bee


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