The Radical Change that Made Me a Super-Productive Writer

Carol Tice

Young happy woman writing in the park I used to have the most amazing morning writing sessions.

Before blogging and social media happened, that is. Now, as a West coast person, you wake up to an already-full email inbox and a blizzard of blog comments and social shares that cry out for response.

It’s hard to catch any writing time before afternoon. But morning was always a really good, creative time for me…

It was a dilemma.

How I busted loose

One day earlier this week, I had had enough. I had a ton of writing I needed to get done!

Blog posts. Presentation scripts for upcoming classes. This stuff needed to get written so I could take time off and enjoy the upcoming holiday weekend.

But there were a million distractions. Emails with questions about Freelance Writers Den membership. People who wanted to Skype, to meet up. Chats to have on Twitter.

Meanwhile, it was a gorgeous, sunny, mild August day.

I knew being stuck at home working was going to make me feel like a trapped animal. And that I wasn’t even going to get a lot of writing done, as so often happens now. There were too many Internet distractions calling me.

It was about 10 a.m., plump in the middle of a weekday morning.

All of a sudden, I did something crazy.

I put on my walking sandals, picked up a pen and a reporter’s notebook, jotted down a few notes about what I needed to write, and left the house.

I walked to the park, which takes about 20 minutes or so.

Then I plopped down on a bench and started to write.

A day’s writing done in a flash

For the next two hours, I strolled the park, thinking about my topic and enjoying being — yes — outside! It was intoxicating to be out in the sunshine and away from the computer at such an unusual day and hour for me.

As inspiration hit, I’d stop at a bench or shady tree and write.

When inspiration began to wane in that spot, I’d walk a bit farther and stop again.

The result of this writing-ramble was nothing less than a revelation.

Suddenly, all my other seemingly important “to-dos” vanished from my brain. Just gone. I realized none of them were as important as getting the writing done.

Almost instantly, I began to write my assignments. Words and ideas flowed easily.

My goal had been to write one of my presentations per day, but in two hours flat I had written both of them.

This was working so well that I only reluctantly went home because I was getting hungry. Writing without interruption — those quick breaks to check email or my website or social media — was such a pleasure.

It was quick work to type up my handwritten drafts.

And all the other Internet tasks got done later. My absence didn’t seem to create any crisis.

Breaking from routine really snapped me out of my time-wasting and got such terrific results, I’m hoping to do it again soon, and keep doing it as long as the sunny weather lasts.

How do you tune out distractions when you need to write? Leave a comment and let us know.

60 Comments

  1. Pinar Tarhan

    I do it, too. Especially in the summer. It gets too hot in the house, and with my constant (&fast) internet connection, it is hard to get anything done. So I might go to the park nearby, walk to the beach or rotate between my favorite coffee shops and get a lot of work done.

  2. Tiffany

    This sounds like a wonderful idea. I check Facebook and my Tweetdeck compulsively lately, though Time Doctor is helping me to curb that habit. I wish I could unplug and go outside to work, but I usually do research as I’m writing. I guess nothing is stopping me from sitting on the porch at least. Recently I installed Leechblock on Firefox so I’m not tempted to check FB and Twitter. I need to install it on Chrome too. 🙂

  3. Josh Brancek

    Carol, these are some pretty awesome tips!!! One thing I like to do when I want to focus is I get my headphones, put them on and listen to classical music like Bethoven or Mozart. Work wonders!!!

    Kind regards, Josh

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