Kristen Otte

Finding Love and Laughter through Story


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Margin and Balance with the Author Life

It’s been awhile since the last video post. In this short chat, I discuss balance and margin for writers, especially those working other jobs in addition to writing. I also give a writing update on the next projects for me. For the Zelda fans, she makes an appearance along with Peach. In fact, they spend a good portion of the video being goofballs behind me.

Do you have margin in your life?

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Fighting Distractions

We live in an age of multi-tasking. We watch television while cruising the internet on our tablet or phone. We have twitter apps open beside us during the day as we work. We attempt to do everything at once because we want to accomplish more in less time. But, we reach a point where we need to stop multitasking to get our work done.

In my life, writing is an activity where multitasking is not an option. I need to be in a peaceful state of mind without distractions to focus and get the words on the page. Through this last year, I’ve learned how to create a distraction free environment to get work done. Here are a five tips to help you fight distractions.

1. Find Your Working Spot for the Day

When I’m ready to spend time writing, the first thing I do is find my writing spot. Sometimes this is at the desk in the office. Other days it is at the kitchen table, or on the couch with my laptop or even at Starbucks. I pick a spot where I am comfortable and have enough space to work. The variety of locations staves off my anxiousness from working in the same spot day after day.

2. Get Your Materials Ready

Before you sit down, make sure you have everything you need for your project. Getting up in the middle of your work time for a book interrupts your focus. Gather up any books or research you need. Open up the files on your computer which may be relevant. Get a snack and/or drink and then sit down.

3. Turn Off Email / Phone / WiFi

Turn off any distractions. For me, I always shut down my MacMail program while I write so I’m not interrupted by emails. Some days I take this a step further and turn off my WiFi so I am not tempted to check twitter or Facebook. If I’m having a really tough day focusing, I’ll shut off the iPhone as well. Turn off whatever tempts you.

4. Set a Timer

For me, I’m the most productive for about forty-five minute blocks. So I set a kitchen timer for forty-five minutes and get to work. I don’t stop until the timer goes off. Figure out your magic number for productivity and set a timer.

5. Give Yourself Breaks

After a forty-five minute work cycle, I give myself a five-minute break. I’ll turn twitter on for a minute or grab something to drink. The break helps keep me fresh and rejuvenated, especially on days with lots of tasks or writing to complete.

These five tips help me greatly in my daily writing.

How do you fight distractions while you work, write, and read?