Friday, December 9, 2011

The Importance of Non-writing Tasks

As writers we place a lot of emphasis on the writing craft. That's extremely important because it makes our writing better. But I think it's also a good idea to pay attention to some non-writing tasks as well. They can help or hinder our writing without us realizing it. I have three non-writing tasks I think will help increase your writing productivity.

Writing Space How's your writing space? Is it cluttered? Does it take you a few minutes to find everything you need? What about that reference book you always refer to but can never find? Is it within sight and easy reach? Do you have pens, paper and highlighters readily available? These are things to consider. When you sit down to write, you don't want to waste precious minutes searching through unorganized piles or unlabeled notebooks. Clean up your space. Make sure everything you might need is easy accessible. Also, try to put together a simple organization system. While you decluttering, you might as well go a bit further and actually organize things too. Just these simple steps can add precious time back into your writing schedule.

Peace and Quiet This might not be a problem for everyone, but it is for me. I live in the house with two teens and a husband. It's hard to get peace and quiet so I can concentrate. There are a couple of ways to handle this without having to leave my writing space. You can invest in some headsets that either block out reduce noise. These can be a bit expensive, so if you are frugal like me, you can take the alternative route. I have some inexpensive ear buds. I plug them in and head over to I can listen to white, pink or brown noise. Basically it drowns out my family and since there are really no words or rhythms, my mind doesn't focus on the noise. You can use it online, or for a small price, you can download the type of noise you want. Simple peace and quiet.

Blocking the Internet If the Internet is your distraction, there are a few ways to keep it from sabotaging your writing time. If you have DSL you can disconnect Internet on your individual computer. If you are connected directly into the router, then unplug yourself. If you are connected wirelessly, get to your network connections and then choose disconnect for your wireless connection. Be sure to turn off the connect automatically option. If you forget, it will reconnect you in short order! Another option is to use Internet Blocking Software. My favorite is called Freedom. It costs a mere $10. You simply tell it how long you want the Internet blocked, up to a maximum of eight hours. To get the trial version top by

These three things can add productivity back to your writing time. And I bet somewhere along the line, will make it more enjoyable as well. I'm sure that's going to come through in your writing as well. Happy writing!

About the Author:

Marietta "Mari" Taylor is the the author of Surviving Unemployment Devotions To Go and is monthly blogger for the GoAskMom blog at Find out more about Mari at her blog or her website,


Karen Cioffi said...

Mari, Great tips for having the 'right' writing environment. It's so easy to get distracted that taking steps to have focused writing time is essential.

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Great tips. I have to close down the internet or I can easily get distracted.

Heidiwriter said...

There are SO many things that are distractions, so many ways to procrastinate!! Thanks for the tips and reminders.

Magdalena Ball said...

Good suggestions Mari. I have trained myself to work in the midst of chaos, but sometimes quiet and a good "well-lighted" place is mandatory.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Cut off the internet?--Mari you're too cruel. I'm having a panic attack at the very thought. But of course, you're right. It takes hours out of my day if I let it.
Now I'll just divert and have a look at your recommended websites and then the online dictionary to check my spellings...and then maybe get back to work...

Donna McDine said...


Terrific tips! I know for myself if my desk is cluttered and unorganized I can't even think straight.

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Unknown said...

Thanks to everyone for stopping by. I confess my biggest issue is clutter and secondary is Internet. So I wrote these for myself as well :)

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