Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Weekly writing coach: Do you corral your writing time and space?

A writer and Twitter pal who'd admired my Droid smartphone awhile back sent me a tweet asking for advice on how to keep it from becoming what she termed "a time-sucking device." My answer? Put it in airplane mode. Shut it down.

That got me thinking:  Do you fence off your writing time and space, or are critters--your family, office mates, clients--always creeping over the border?  This Freelance Switch post (via Lifehacker) suggests you invest in a little digital and in-real-life barbed wire to reduce interruptions ranging from calls to instant messages.

If you need incentives, you might recall that Tim Ferriss, best-selling author of the Four Hour Work Week got to that schedule by checking email just twice a day, and by making sure that email was not the first thing checked in the day, given its ability to derail the best of plans.

That's tough to do these days, in which Steve Rubel notes we've developed the habit of "content snacking," dipping into and out of online content quickly, scanning, not finishing and moving on to the next item.  Fine for your readers to do, but not conducive to focus.

How do you set up your fences, electronically and otherwise? Do you use filters? Shut the machines off? Move to a secret location on- or off-site? Shut your door in the old-school way?  I'd love to hear two types of comments in particular:  Your suggestions and tips, and things that sounded great, but didn't work for you.

Enter your email address in the box at right to get For Communications Directors, my free monthly newsletter, then head over to the don't get caught page on Facebook to continue the discussion.

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