The hardest part of writing for me is to cut distractions out of both my workspace and my mind itself. Last Saturday, when I decided I was properly inspired and ready to write, it quickly became clear to me that my desk was simply too messy, so I cleaned instead. Then I blogged. Then I played WoW.
The screenshot above is of an epic poem I’m working on in Scrivener, a fantastic word processing program that I need to write a review for ASAP. One of the neat features of Scrivener is the ability to shift into full screen mode and cut out all the distractions in the background. I turned down the opacity so you can see what I’ve got in the background there, and it’s easy to see how I might have trouble focusing if I didn’t normally keep the rest of the screen blacked out: iTunes, Adium (instant messaging), iPhoto, etc.
My brain needs a bit of distraction to produce, to be honest, but it depends on what I’m working on. If it’s a research paper or an essay, I have to have music in the background. This distracts the creative portion of my brain, allowing me to think more linearly and logically and just bulldoze through the words I need to get on the page. But if I’m writing a creative piece or a poem, I have to have silence or I can’t hear myself think, narrate, or compose.
I like to have the window next to my desk open (or rather, the blinds open) so I can glance outside while working; having something to occupy my eyes sometimes helps my brain meander on its own, when staring at a blank page or desk would cause me to look inwards too much and stall.
There’s a fine line between having too many distractions and having just enough (and just the right ones) to keep myself going. What distractions help or hinder your work?