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The Distractions that Keep Me from Writing a Book

Updated on December 12, 2013
Now I can play with it!
Now I can play with it!

I’ve always been easily distracted. It takes little to get my attention and much more to keep it. Unless I’m using my obsessive powers for good, I suffer from a sever lack of discipline and self-control. In school, it was hard to pay attention or study, and don’t get me started on how long it took to write a paper.

All of this is to say I’m having a hard time staying disciplined and writing my book. I listen to the Writing Excuses podcast and they are constantly reminding me the only way to write is to write, but I have a hard time getting things to click. In hopes of analyzing the problem, I’m going to look at things that are stealing my attention from writing the next great American novel.

The Seven Samurai
The Seven Samurai

Watching Akira Kurosawa Films

I live in a college town and the campus library has one of the best film collections you could ask for. When I was in school, I took an Art and History of Film class and one the best days we had was spending the whole class talking about Akira Kurosawa. I had already seen two of his films, Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, but the class taught me how much I was missing. Now, I’m spending my free time going through Kurosawa’s entire films.

This summer I’ve watched both Sanshiro Sugata movies, The Most Beautiful, The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail, Drunken Angel, and The Hidden Fortress. I have two of his movies sitting in my apartment waiting to be watched, No Regrets for Our Youth and Scandal. Considering that each movie requires my full attention, I’ve been having a hard time balancing these movies and writing.

But there was time now!
But there was time now!

Reading Too Many Books

Writers are supposed to be readers. In fact, we need to be readers otherwise we don’t know how to write. It’s an unavoidable truth but I have a hard time finding the right balance between the two. If I hadn’t read Dan Simmons Hyperion, I wouldn’t have come up with my book; if I hadn’t read William Gibson’s Neuromancer, I wouldn’t have learned how to write about cyberspace.

But what if I’m spending too much time reading? Sure, some books will help me as a writer, but is this the time for me to be reading Ringworld? It’s hard to decide and with a reading list that gets bigger all the time, it’s going to be harder to choose.

Luck be a lady tonight.
Luck be a lady tonight.

Acting in a Play

Right now, I’m Lt. Brannigan in a community theater production of Guys and Dolls. Doing a play or musical, no matter how large your role, is always going to be a time consumer. When it comes to learning my lines, going to rehearsal, or shopping for costumes, it’s something that takes a lot of time away.

I should be able to work around this; I’ve had bigger parts and still balanced school. This only takes time during the evenings and that leaves me with a whole day free. The problem with these excuses is that they’re not very convincing. This leads me to my next reason…


Playing League of Legends

This is the least excusable item on my list. When it comes to using my time wisely, video games have always been a problem. Now, I’m playing a free, addicting online game that makes me say, “One more round!” too many times.

Whether I find League of Legends fun or not depends on who I’m playing with, and it’s more often than not that I’m on a team with people who have never been told “no” in their life. But, when the game is fun, it’s really fun. Late at night, when I could be writing, it’s more likely I’m in a queue for another forty minute game.

Quit mocking me!
Quit mocking me!

Writing on Hubpages

Surprise twist? Honestly though, Hubpages has become a distraction that’s hard to resist. When I could be sitting down writing another chapter, I’m coming up with two or more Hubs. With each Hub taking an hour or so to write and construct, it becomes a time sink. The problem is that it’s hard to say it’s a bad for me, but too much of a good thing…

It’s my personal satisfaction that’s the problem. The gamer in me loves the score system Hubpages uses, I like writing something people will read and I like building my collection of articles. Compared to an hour or more struggling to finish a few scenes that will be rewritten a hundred times, you can see my dilemma.

In reality, these are easy problems to fix. I could watch one Kurosawa movie a week and use it as a reward. I could read after I write or before. I could make it so I can write a Hub for every chapter I finish in my own book. Theater isn’t much of an excuse since it’s over this week. When it comes to League of Legends, I should just stop playing. Discipline is a writer’s greatest tool and I’ve dulled mine for too long. I want to finish this book, so I can print it and let others read it. I want to finish it so I can write another one. I want to be published someday. You know what won’t happen if I keep letting myself be distracted? Any of those goals.

I just spent an hour writing a Hub about things that keep me from writing. I’m sick, Doc!


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    • fpherj48 profile image


      4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Hmmm...let's see if I can make you feel any better, or just encourage you to be worse. Talk about confusing.....

      First of all, I totally understand. I know this phenomenon intimately and I FEEL for you. In my case however, it isn't necessarily writing a book, from which I am distracted. Truthfully, I am distracted from every original intention, goal or thought I have from the moment I open my eyes until I close them again.

      My mother always referred to this as Dad and ever-constant champion said I was just too much of a genius for my own good. (Wasn't he the sweetest Dad?)

      Here's the thing, Eric. Don't fight it. If this is your style, go with the flow. Maybe like me, you do your very best work under pressure or time constraints.....or maybe you simply know instinctively that "it all works out in the end as it should."

      Whatever it is....don't beat yourself up. Looks to me like you're doing quite well........and any young man who declares in print that he's "just married the most wonderful girl in the world," is A-OK by me!!!..Up+++pinned and tweeted

    • miastewie profile image

      Gregory Molloy 

      5 years ago from Rio Ranho, New Mexico

      I have also been wanting to right my own book and I have had the same problems you have. If you dont mind me asking what are you writing your book about?

    • Eric Mikols profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Mikols 

      6 years ago from New England

      Thanks for the comment! I've been working on this problem since writing the article and it's been going well so far!

    • Daniella Lopez profile image

      Danielle Lopez 

      6 years ago from Spain

      Hubpages always seems to be a huge distraction for me, too. At least you recognize your weak points. That will help you figure out how to become better disciplined. Best of luck on your writing. :)

    • Eric Mikols profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Mikols 

      6 years ago from New England

      Thanks for the suggestions. It's hard to stand by my own distractions when others learn to beat there's. Thanks for the encouragement and advice! And congrats on finishing four books!

    • CrazedNovelist profile image

      A.E. Williams 

      6 years ago from Hampton, GA

      I will always support the idea of writing a book! I've written four and it's an awesome experience (that is once you've finished and met your goals). I can be hard and time consuming, so you just gotta psyche yourself into it! I've played League of Legends. It's fun, but I don't play that much. Give yourself a minimum goal of hubs per week on HubPages. My minimum is two a week. If I meet that I'm good. Make a schedule, try to stick to it. That's what I do as I work full time, write on HubPages, currently writing a book, currently writing a comic book, and also in the midst of watching X-Files on Hulu and The L.A. Complex on The CW. So yeah... lots to do all the time lol. :)

    • Eric Mikols profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Mikols 

      6 years ago from New England

      I'm glad I'm not alone, though I hope you can beat the distraction better than me! I have had distractions help me out before, I've just let them be a little to in control lately.

    • jlpark profile image


      6 years ago from New Zealand

      I know what you mean re: Hubpages being distracting! I only found it the other day, and haven't written a word for my story since....helpful when I'm stuck in a difficult scene, but hey...sometimes distraction helps out. I'm tempted to do NaNoWriMo even....hmmm. Thanks for sharing - you aren't alone! :)

    • Eric Mikols profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Mikols 

      6 years ago from New England

      Thanks for the encouragement. I've never done NaNoWriMo. The idea terrifies me. I guess we'll see where I am when that time comes around.

    • Susan Markloff profile image

      Susan Markloff 

      6 years ago from Sellersville, PA

      It's good that you recognize these things. That's the first step toward changing something. The difficult step is actually changing your behavior and molding it into what you want it to be. You do have discipline. It shows in your dedication to writing Hubs. If you like score systems that help you keep track of things and show you how you're doing, you should try Camp Nano or NaNoWriMo. It's a daunting experience, but it forces you to keep track of your word count. By the end of the month to see your tally of words, that's a major fulfillment of time and effort. I'd encourage you to check it out.


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