Preparing for NaNoWriMo – Step 4 – Identify and Mitigate the Distractions

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month
Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

I once went to a corporate retreat for a company that knows its multi-tasking employees well.  Even though they picked us up from the airport, no rental cars allowed, sequestered us away from the city with a river on one side and miles of forest, provided five star meals, stimulating discussion topics, a lively cross section of our fellow employees — they knew.  Work was still gonna be a distraction.  We would check our emails during breaks, after the day’s classes complete our retreat homework, then stay up late to finish our regular work back at the office.

The first page of the orientation materials asked, “What is going to distract you from being fully present this week?”

Spend a few minutes with this question.  Distractions could be Facebook, Twitter.  It could be Netflix.  What will suddenly pop up as urgent but not important?  Maybe it means cleaning off your desk now, so you won’t procrastinate by doing that later.  What could prevent you from writing even if you show up on schedule armed with a list of topics?  Which distractions can you mitigate?  How?

This exercise is worthwhile because it gives insight into why we can’t find the time to write during the rest of the year.

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