Showing posts with label distractions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label distractions. Show all posts

The Pomodoro Technique for Getting Your Writing Done

I recently heard of the Pomodoro Technique--something I've done off and on for years, more or less, without having a name for it.

Here's what I love about it:  the name.  It comes from those old kitchen timers that look like tomatoes.  Tomato, in Italian, is pomodoro.  So basically, it's a fancified name for a simple but efficient work strategy.

How to use the Pomodoro Technique:

First, get a kitchen timer (or an internet timer or a fancy Pomodoro App on your phone).

Set it for 25 minutes.

Write until the timer beeps.

Take a five minute break:  walk around, play a quick round of a game, get some water, stretch, pet your cat, etc.


It's remarkably effective, and can be used for many tasks, not just writing.  Plus, it's got a great name.

Melinda Brasher's most recent sale is a twist on Rumpelstiltskin, appearing in Timeless Tales. You can also find her fiction in NousElectric SpecIntergalactic Medicine Show, and others. If you're dreaming about traveling to Alaska, check out her guide book, Cruising Alaska on a Budget; a Cruise and Port Guide. Visit her online at

Internet Distraction

I heard a quote by author Jonathan Franzen today:

"It's doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction."

Do you agree?

I think it's a bit strong, but there's certainly truth behind his words.

I admit I can be prone to distraction and the internet is a huge one. I sometime use a computer program to block all websites for a certain amount of time to help me focus on writing.

If you're interested, I use Stay Focussed, a Google Chrome add-on. You can also use it to block only certain websites, to block everything but certain websites, or to give yourself only 5 or 10 minutes per day on time-suckers.

When I'm suffering from writer's block, I like to work on paper. Sometimes I'll send my current document to my Kindle, where I can read it for reference if I need to but can't edit. I have to do everything by hand and though it takes longer, it often gets me unstuck.

As for being influenced by other people, other ideas, other's constant flood of input can dilute your own style and make you doubt what is your own idea and what is not, but you can also use it to gain inspiration and deeper understanding of the human race and the world we live in. Just try to be aware of which way you're using the information overload that is the internet.

I think the most important thing is to analyze how resistant you are to internet distraction and negative influence and plan accordingly.

Melinda Brasher's most recent sale is a twist on Rumpelstiltskin, appearing in Timeless Tales. You can also find her fiction in Nous, Electric Spec, Intergalactic Medicine Show, and others. If you're dreaming about traveling to Alaska, check out her guide book, Cruising Alaska on a Budget; a Cruise and Port Guide. Visit her online at

Writing - Ways to Cultivate Solitude

Contributed by Irene S. Roth

Silence and solitude are the two spiritual disciplines that seem to be most lacking in our digital world. It is ironic that what our soul longs for is silence and solitude, but instead we fill our lives with noise and activity to pack the void.

And writers especially need some quiet time to regroup and to rest. It can be hard to rest when we are always plugged in. So, we need to cultivate times when we are resting and alone doing something that we truly enjoy that we know will renew us.

The silence that is required for solitude has gotten a bad rap. Most of us hate silence. But it is in the silence that we can find renewal and fulfillment, and we could be ready to face whatever else we have to face every day.

Silence is about letting go of our inner distractions and is probably the most challenging and least experienced spiritual discipline among most of us today. Studies show the average person today can only bear about fifteen seconds of silence. Each of us needs to make the opportunity to be alone and silent to find some space in the day to reflect, and to listen to our inner voice within us.

Solitude is about letting go of your outer distractions. It is in solitude that we nourish our relationship with ourselves.

Here’s some practical ways to start cultivating these disciplines in your life:

•    Turn off the radio when you are driving.
•    Keep the television off when you’re not watching it.
•    Practice listening more to others and speaking less yourself.
•    Resist the urge to text and post every experience. Hold the experience to yourself for a while.
•    Don’t use your phone as an alarm clock – make a “no phones go to bed with me” rule.
•    Listen for the sounds of nature whenever you can.
•    Try to keep one ear tuned to your inner voice throughout your noisy day.

So, go ahead and take time to find space to be alone and silent each day. Don’t let the digital world drown out the sound of your voice speaking to you. To really live life to the fullest we must not let the digital world distract us from being who we truly are.

We need to take control of our lives by setting clear boundaries. Embrace this one life that we were given by learning to say “no” more to your digital world and say “yes” to the importance of soul care for yourself and your family. And tomorrow, you will probably do your best writing too. It is a win-win for everyone.

To learn more about cultivating solitude, double click on this link: Healthy Writer

Irene S. Roth, MA writes for teens, tweens, and kids about self-empowerment. She is the author of over thirty-five books and over five hundred online articles. She also writes articles for kids, tweens and teens and her articles have appeared in Encounter, Pockets, Guardian Angel Kids Ezine, and Stories for Children Magazine and Online. She also has four hundred and sixty published book reviews both online and in print.

New Writers: Balancing Personal Life and Writing Career

Are you trying to create and maintain a writing schedule, only to have distractions or interruptions?

It takes trial and error along with time and effort to balance your personal life and writing career. You are working from home and that makes you vulnerable. If you don't manage your day well you won't be productive. Eventually, you will get discouraged, make little progress, and maybe even give up.

How do you balance your personal life and a writing career?

There is a practical side and an emotional side in approaching this. 

First, the practical:

Make an effort to give yourself “business hours” and stick to them;  both with yourself and with clients. Let everyone know what those hours are, and make sure they’re respected – from both sides.
He continues to say there are exceptions but make sure they are just that - exceptions. 

Identify the distractions from working at home and you will be ready when they come. Navigate through them and learn to manage them.

What you can control:

  • Your schedule for writing.
  • Muting your cell phone, closing personal email and social media sites.
  • Not answering the door.
  • Not allowing friends, family or your children interrupt unless it is an emergency.
Then there is the emotional side to life. We are not machines that input-output. We are human and we face difficult times.

What you cannot control:
  • Illness (yours) - temporary or chronic
  • Illness (others) - and your help is needed
  • Death in the family
  • Computer problems
  • Personal situations in marriage, family, or friends.
Here in the Northeast, sometimes the gray, cloudy winters seem to go on forever. If you face a serious situation out of your control, think of it as a season you will get through. It doesn't mean you don't write. It means you go easy on yourself and be flexible with your schedule. Your schedule is the framework and sometimes adjustments must be made.

Don't think of it as losing ground, even though the difficult season may be long. Often, the situations we find ourselves in ends up making us stronger, along with providing more writing ideas. 

It's all in how you look at it. Allow your personal life, the good, the bad, and the ugly, to positively shape who you are and let your writing flourish.

How about you? Have you found a good balance? Or are you struggling? 

Everyone is different. There is no one size fits all. Please share your thoughts and tips in the comment section.

Acer Chromebook on the white desk


After raising and homeschooling her 8 children and teaching art classes for 10 years, Kathy has found time to pursue freelance writing. She enjoys writing magazine articles and more recently had her story, "One of a Kind", published in The Kids' ArkYou can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts

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