Get Rid of Writing Distractions and Master Motivation!

Get Rid of Writing Distractions and Master Motivation!

The dreaded word is uttered: Procrastination. How can writers defeat such a loathsome monster? Want to hear a little secret? Procrastination is the scapegoat of much larger problems. You can break down procrastination into a couple key problem areas. The two major ones are writing distractions and lack of motivation.

That’s right. Most of your procrastination problems come down to these two little imps. So how do you turn them into ash?

3 Ways to Decrease Writing Distractions

Okay, so we know what distraction are. They’re those little nagging things that take us away from our work to procrastinate. Want to know how to lessen your procrastination? Get rid of your writing distractions. Here are three easy steps to decrease your writing distractions.

1. Turn Stuff Off

Turn off the Internet, your cell phone, or whatever electronic device is distracting you. You can get apps or plugins to limit what websites you visit  or calls you receive. To begin with, try turning things off for short periods of time, say twenty minutes. You can get a lot done in that amount of time.

2. Clean Stuff Up

Got a desk? Clear it off. Room? Organize it. This will offer fewer distractions from your priorities and eliminate time-wasters, such as toys or crossword puzzles or that novel you’ve been meaning to finish reading.

3. Meet Your Needs

This is all about the basics. Set up your water before you start working. Allow yourself a break to go to the bathroom. Stretch. If you can’t trust yourself to meet your own needs, how can you trust yourself to do your work? Also, it’s hard to type when you’re shivering. Grab a sweater.

Yes, it really is this simple. Have you ever looked up at the end of the day and wondered where all your time went? About a third of it went to fiddling with distractions that should have been easy to solve. By forcing yourself to deal with these things and then ignore them, you can then dedicate your extra time and willpower to fighting the urge to be distracted.

The Next Step: 5 Tips for Mastering Motivation

Fighting writing distractions is just one piece of the pie. Motivation is a fancy term for a special kind of excitement. So many people keep forgetting how easy it is to get excited about something! You can get motivated by something you read, watch, listen to, write, say, or see.

All it takes is an appeal to what you need to do. If one thought springs up, it creates a chain of thoughts. If we hear a child tell his mom he was going to be a doctor because he wanted to help people, we may be motivated to help someone or to reach our personal dreams. If we see people open doors for each other or pick litter off the street or sing in public… any of this could motivate us.

I’ve been really disappointed lately to see memes spring up on Facebook about the irrelevance of beautiful pictures and inspiring quotes or flavor text. This is the opposite of what we need. Everyone’s minds need that little push every now and again and a quote by Gandhi might be exactly the right thing. Half of motivation is allowing yourself to be motivated. Here are five tips:

1. If you find something that motivates you, make note of it. Chances are it will still motivate you later.

2. Seek out the wonders and mysteries of the world.

3. Find your passions.

4. Look for excitement.

5. Whenever you are motivated, remember and hold the feeling. Then when you need it most, you can think of it.

Overcoming the Lies About Motivation and Procrastination

Willpower is a depletable resource, but the more motivation you have, the less willpower you need.

Part of the problem is that we often reject the idea that such a large problem can be able to be managed so simply. We need to realize it can be.

Productivity arrives in baby steps. To lessen procrastination, you need to eliminate the things that make you procrastinate. To boost your productivity, you need to keep yourself motivated to do well. Constantly.

Granted, this is what makes the steps I outlined a little harder than they appear. Chances are you already do many of them, but if you’re reading this, I can almost guarantee you don’t do them consistently throughout your work day. You need to constantly take breaks and consistently do a self-check: Are you cold? Are you hungry? Have you lost the motivation you desperately need?

Remember, exercising productivity and overcoming writing distractions start with taking care of yourself!

Tell me your opinion: What is your greatest tip for overcoming writing distractions?

Get Rid of Writing Distractions and Master Motivation!

Sign Up Today

hwba sidebar pic

Sign up to receive K.M. Weiland’s e-letter and receive her free e-book Crafting Unforgettable Characters: A Hands-On Introduction to Bringing Your Characters to Life.

About Alexandria Younk

Alexandria Younk is a full-time author of both fiction and nonfiction. She has wanted to write since she was in elementary school and is very excited to have published her first book An Addictive Personality in August 2014. She has three more works-in-progress and hopes her writing will be a benefit to the lives of her readers now and in the future.


  1. This is exactly what I needed to hear right now. 🙂 I have so much writing and editing to that needs to be done, but I’ve gotten stuck with it. All I want to do is watch Netflix and check Pinterest. I’ve found that the best source of motivation for me is surrounding myself with books and other authors. I’m hoping to find a day soon when I can get down to our local bookstore for some quiet writing time.

    • The second you find yourself on netflix, remind yourself that you can put it off until tomorrow. Many people put off work, and it is harder to put off entertainment, but if you can put off a little entertainment for even an hour… It’s getting started that’s the hard part.

  2. robert easterbrook says

    So, your first novel was a big financial success? Congratulations. I’m still trying to achieve this lifetime achievement.

    But seriously, I am wondering how you really manage to be a fulltime writer.

    Did your book sell millions, and you’re living off the royalties?

    Your bank account is full of money, so you can sit around all day happily typing up your next financial success?

    Or perhaps you’ve got a rich husband/boyfriend/girlfriend, and supports your writing habit?

    I read stories once a week about how difficult it is to be a fulltime writer without massive financial support. And it really bothers me.

    So what’s your secret, Alexandria?

    I’m very happy, by the way, that you’ve published your first book. 😉

    • I do have support, yes, but not in anyone rich. I live with my fiance. He takes care of the needs. Any wants I have I earn from mTurk and my book sales. I don’t make a ton on it yet, but I have made some money. The first book will never make a lot. For awhile I did articles on elance. I hope to one day be able to take care of the needs with my books, but few people make a fortune off one book.

  3. Martin Ross says

    Great post Alexandria, I will refer to it again, but I’ll keep this brief, because I’m off to start writing with fresh motivation! Many thanks, Martin.

  4. K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

    Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Alexandria!

  5. I have noticed that when I allow myself to get distracted when I need to be writing, most of the time it is because I am at a hard place to write in my story. I have to sit down and really concentrate, asking myself, “What is so hard about this scene or chapter? Why am I putting it off?” Sometimes the fact is that I need to think through my scene better before I try to write it.

    • Me too! I also had that same problem with homework in school. If I was sitting there, just staring at it, I’d have to be like “okay, what problem am I on? What formula does it need?” And then I start working well again. 🙂

  6. My problem with distractions are in my own mind. I find my mind wandering off in thoughts which are nothing to do with what I am writing about. I blame it on my suspected DAMP condition but I know in reality that’s a cop out. Can you offer any advice on this?

    • The thing is, if you have a condition it is definitely more than a cop out. It changes your life. Yes, it will be helpful to find methods of dealing with it, but know that it is not just a thing you’re blaming. “The struggle is real.”

      Try to keep a timer running that dings every five minutes or so to bring you back to reality in case you drift.

  7. My latest distraction has been everyone home because of all of the snow storms we keep having. Ear plugs have come in handy, but don’t always do the job.I don’t have an office and have to work at the dining room table. My biggest distraction has been lack of confidence. I keep coming up with excuses not to work on my next children’s story or start the novel I’ve had in my head for years. It’s the distraction of fear that’s been killing my writing lately.

  8. Before working at home, I was an in-house writer at the office. Now I am a freelance writer, and I have to work from home. Frankly speaking, it’s very uncomfortable at the first time. And if you don’t pull yourself together you will always feel uncomfortable. There are many factors that distract you from writing: home atmosphere, family, TV, Internet, cell phone, etc. And I had to make a fully working atmosphere that was in the office. I’ve made a mini office in my bedroom and asked my family not to bother me during working hours. I turned off my cell phone and Internet, and my writing process has become more efficient. It was my small victory. 🙂
    And Alexandria, thank you for the interesting and helpful article!

  9. I have “distractions” for my writing, but I can’t turn them off. I have three kids. (One of them is only a year old, then I have a 9 year old and a 7 year old, plus my husband. I tried writing after everyone goes to bed, but my daughter wakes up crying for a bottle. Or my older children get sick.

    I just can’t find the time to write. I still do some research for my novel, but I don’t edit it. My life is just so busy. Between taking care of 3 kids, and cleaning the house, I have no energy. I always used to wonder when female authors in their bios say “After raising a family, they decided to proceed with their writing career.” I wondered why they did not write their novel while their kids were growing up. Now I know why authors like Stephanie Meyer and others had to wait.


  1. […] increase productivity, Alexandria Younk explains how to get rid of writing distractions and master motivation, while Benjamin Spall explores stacking habits to build a morning routine that […]

  2. […] anyone who has been writing for more than two days knows, motivation is something writers struggle with the whole year through, not just during NaNo. The pressure, however, is more intense when you’ve committed to a […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.