One of the most common problems modern writers face is finding time to write. At lot of this lack of time is to do with work, family and social committments but there’s actually something else that has created this feeling of having no time – the internet.
I like the internet. It is great for research. It is great for connecting with other writers and it is great for all manner of things, like instant news and entertainment but… it can be a problem for many modern writers and here’s why:
Prior to the boom in home computing, most people had only a pen and paper and maybe a typewriter. Most writing was basically you sat in a room, completely immersed in you writing only being distracted by pets, family members and general daily stuff that you expect to be distracted from. Then came along computers and they were great. We got spellcheckers, the ability to write and print our work (So other people could read it without struggling with your handwriting. Mine is awful!) and you had only minimal computers distractions: A few games, a few programmes, a few computer errors…
Today it is very different. Computing is done all the time. We can use our phones, our TV’s and even some watches can too. What this means for a writer and for many others is that we are always connected and therefore always available for distraction. This makes it more difficult to find time for writing as often we are tempted more by scrolling facebook or checking our emails, or replying to a comment that we just got. All of which is fine but this prevents the same levels of concentration and immersion that writing by hand used to have. The problem here is space. We are maintaining more spaces, our offline spaces and our online spaces.
How Can You Resolve This?
I haven’t found any one piece of writing advice that solves this modern problem altogether. Switching off from the new world of technology completely doesn’t work neither does embracing it fully (not for me anyway). What works is to find your writing space. That is to keep your writing space separate from your facebook-checking, web-surfing time. For me I decided to take a step back and go back to writing by hand and then typing it up later. This works particularly for me because the first experiences I had of writing stories were by hand and I much of my life I have done this. I moved to writing directly onto a word processor many years ago but I stay offline when I do this. Some people dislike the pen writing method because they feel daunted typing up 500+ pages but I still enjoy the scenes when I retype them and it often means I get another edit in because I will naturally see flaws, errors and parts I feel need changing as I type. The point here is to find your space and try to do it then. I also prefer to write later at night now because it is much quieter and I won’t be interrupted by people/my phone/my pets as often. You won’t ever find yourself without any distractions but try to find a time and place with less of them so you can think clearly as you write.
So to find your space, create it! Do what works for you whether it’s 3am or 1pm, whether it’s having constant distraction or few distractions. If you have to have a TV in the background for some noise (like me) don’t let someone tell you to turn it off. Everyone’s space is different. I suspect those born in the millenium cope better with social media distractions than 80’s born me. For me, however I feel like I’m always losing focus if I write with notifications beeping at me so I put my phone on mute.
So create your writing space! Have fun!