10 Steps To Distraction-Free Writing (A Guest Post)

Originally posted on Mindy Minix:


The new year has began! 2015 is in full swing already! Wow, it seems like 2014 was just the other day (internal chuckling, because I think I am so funny). I know I have set professional goals for my earnings as a writer for this year, and many others I follow are posting their personal and professional goals as well. I am all about achieving our dreams this year! I want to encourage others that dreams do come true. So, with this thought in mind, I would like to introduce a successful writer/editor.  Shayla will be providing some (humorous) writing tips for us today.

Shayla Eaton is an inspiring woman who has managed to make her dreams become her reality. She began dreaming of being a writer at age eight and by age sixteen she had made writing her top priority. By age twenty, she was gainfully employed as a copywriter! Shayla has logged more hours as a writer and editor than I care to ponder. As the owner of her own business, Curiouser Editing, and a professional with years of experience, Shayla has edited over 150 books and countless articles, blogs, social media posts and marketing campaigns. I feel the need to insert she has not edited my posts (obviously), so don’t blame her for my many, many mistakes! You can find her at:

Website: www.CuriouserEditing.com

Blog: www.CuriouserEditing.wordpress.com

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/CuriouserEditing

As I write this, my eight-pound dachshund, Chanel, lies in my lap, her red chew toy protected under her speckled nose. My arm uncomfortably rests on her rump in an awkward, this-is-not-working-very-well position.

Writers are constantly distracted, so it’s important to void your life of distractions so you can focus.


Most writers produce work in a sea of disorder—not all, but most. For those of us who want to write in an organized, clean, efficient space, these ten steps for distraction-free writing might be the answer.

Step 1: Assess the situation. How cluttered is your writing space? Is your desk messy? Are you unable to find your desk? Is there a plate of day-old chicken nuggets decaying next to your stack of notes? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then proceed to step two.

Step 2: Plan your distraction-free writing. This is no time to just go in full throttle. You need to think this through and plot out how you’ll achieve focus. Really think it through before you dive in. You must first focus on how to focus before you can truly focus.

Step 3: Tell everyone that you need to have quiet, interruption-free time while working. Emphasize the importance of silence.

Step 4: Yell at everyone when they insist you come outside to see what your crazy, hoodlum neighbor is doing. Re-explain step three. Go in to detail. Get in a verbal disagreement about your dreams of being a writer and how you feel suffocated. Laugh at the neighbor.

Step 5: Take action! Should you throw away those chicken nuggets? Yes! Should you organize those stacks of notes and books? Absolutely! Should you turn off Dancing with the Stars so you can actually hear yourself think? Probably!

Step 6: Admire your handiwork. Take in the clean, organized space in all its ethereal beauty. Pat yourself on the back.

Step 7: Announce your dedication. Tell all of your Facebook friends that you’re devoting time to writing and won’t be posting for a while. Answer their inboxes about your choice to be a writer. Instagram a picture of you at your snazzy writing space—#amwriting. Tweet a quote from Hemingway. Update your Twitter bio. And when’s the last time you pinned some gluten-free recipes?

Step 8: Turn your attention to your novel/blog post/journal and take a deep breath. Think of your characters or the steps you have lined out for your post—contemplate their eccentricities. Become the words you wish to create. Ommmm.

Step 9: Grab a snack. Seriously, how did you forget this? What is wrong with you?

Step 10: Give up. Embrace your distractions. This is your life now.

Don’t pretend like that isn’t what really happens.

In all seriousness, distractions are a part of life—a big part of life for the writer. Distractions are always going to be there. No matter how much you prepare and plan, life will interrupt your writing process.

The kids will wake up early from their naps; the dog will throw up on your carpet; the hoodlum neighbor will ring your doorbell in the middle of chapter 17; and dinner will burn—maybe all in the same day.

Handle the problems.

Be grateful for an interruption to give your eyes and brain a break.

And get back to writing.