Writer Wednesday: Laziness and Distraction



That’s the sound I make right after I say, “Okay! Time to get to work for the day!”

To my benefit, my amazing girlfriend is usually ready with a tiny pep-talk. She reminds me that I have things to do, and that those things won’t get done if… well, I don’t do them. No one else is going to write for me. No one else is going to manage the blog. It’s all on me. It’s built that way for this very reason. (Damn you, past me, and your farsighted wisdom!) (Also, thank you, babe! You rock!)

To be honest, I hate going to work. All personal objections and excuses aside, I really just find the process of it a huge pain in the ass. I don’t want to get out of bed, get showered (not applicable every day), put on “big people clothes”, and set up my work station. As most of you know, my work station is wherever the hell I want it to be. Usually, it’s at a coffee shop, where I can plug in my horrible laptop. Which means I have to be at least semi-presentable for the public eye.

To get over that initial laziness, and so I don’t always have to rely on my girlfriend to talk me into working, I have started writing down my to-do list. I set myself a schedule. That’s one of the many driving forces behind the blog’s existence. It forces me to work on something every day, and it forces me to complete projects and meet deadlines.

This is HUGELY helpful. The longer that list gets, the more dreadful the idea of failure becomes. But, the more I can cut that list down (by completing stuff), the more wonderful I feel at the end of the day. Bonus: I get better and better every day. If Mir didn’t seen me all day and I walked up to her after work, she would know instantly if I got lots done that day or not. I’m just a much happier person when I accomplish goals. (I think everyone is.)

Once I’m set all set for work, there’s another huge barrier to overcome: all the things on the Internet. I open up social media or the news and scroll. And scroll. And scroll. And scroll.

Once I finally catch myself and realize what it is I’m doing, I have to purposefully shut down all those distractions and get to work. In my personal case, my laptop is a tablet, so I can just throw it into airplane mode when I start writing. No notifications, no distractions, etc. It’s actually a really helpful little thing. I’ve heard other authors will unplug their Ethernet cables or turn off their computer’s wifi. Same basic principle.

Getting started is honestly probably the hardest thing to do as a writer. It’s a big problem for any creative type, really. The lead singer of Papadosio, Anthony Thogmartin, recently said that he’s been using focused intent to lead him through anything he does online. Reminding himself of his initial intent for being online, he says, helps him avoid distractions while he does his thing. (He made this comment in general reference to cutting down unproductive online time, but I think it’s worth mentioning here.)

[Also, if you haven’t checked out Papadosio, you really are missing out. Go to their website to hear some tasty, tasty jams.]

I say all of this to say: every writer deals with laziness and distraction. Even my favorite authors, all New York Times bestsellers, have made videos and podcasts and blog articles about how hard it is to overcome laziness and distraction. I guarantee that your favorite authors are no different. (Check their Twitters for proof.)

If you identify as a writer but you aren’t putting in legitimate effort into writing something, your problem is that you are letting yourself be lazy and distracted. Real talk. If you want to get rid of that nagging guilt and break the cycle of “Why aren’t I a published writer!? *writes nothing*”, you’ll have to find a good way to get the juices flowing. For some, it’s as simple as sitting down and just typing. Others have a much harder time doing that. No amount of Googling how to be a writer or how to write a first draft is going to make you a writer. All those search results might give some tips, but they will utimately conclude that there’s only one way to start.

Sit your ass down and write something today. Don’t let laziness and/or distraction stop you from being awesome, being happy, and accomplishing your goals. You have stories to tell, my friend. Tell them. If you don’t, you’ll eat yourself alive.

If you’ve already achieved a measurable level of success as a writer and you find yourself lying on the floor, miserable… getup. You have a responsibility to your readers and to yourself. Touring, signing, paneling, conning… it’s all tiring. I know. But so is having a full-time job and three kids. You’ve beaten the monsters before and you can do it again.

I love you all! I hope you write something amazing today!

— R.

Ronin only works so hard so he can be a lazy turd when he’s done. Also, he loves writing. You can check out his stories, writing advice, and musings on InstagramFacebookTumblrTwitter, and WordPress. Check out his YouTube channel for poetic videos every Friday!

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Teach peace.


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