Those have been some of the questions on my mind lately, particularly as I decided to try the NaBloPoMo experiment of publishing daily articles on this blog for the month of November... but also, quite honestly, for the writing I do for my work.
I know many folks have told me that they are impressed by the fact that I write so much on a regular basis. But the truth is...
... I want to write even more.
You see, my head is exploding with stories waiting to be told. It is the curse of a writer... there are so many articles I want to write, so many tutorials I want to create, so many opinion pieces I want to publish, so many books/ebooks I want to author.
And so as I've thought about what are the issues blocking me, I decided to write a bit here about those issues.
Without a doubt, my single biggest barrier to creating online articles is...
... getting distracted by the Internet!
Well, to be more precise, by services on the Internet.
"Oh, let me just take a scan down my Facebook NewsFeed"... or let me just dip into my Twitter feed... or Google+... or "let me see what's new on TechMeme that I might want to write about"... or Hacker News... or MediaGazer... or (lately with the election) I wonder what's happening with politics over on Memeorandum or Huffington Post ... or the latest tech news at GigaOm or TechCrunch or Mashable or... or... or...
Pretty soon whatever time I had to write an article is gone as I become sucked into the vortex of whatever site or social network I visited.
Some time back on Facebook, my friend Donna Papacosta posted an image of a button that said:
BEING A GOOD WRITER IS 3% TALENT, 97% NOT BEING DISTRACTED BY THE INTERNET
I printed that button out and taped it - right at eye level - to the bar in the middle of the windows in front of the desk in my home office. There it sits each day to remind me.
This is a challenge. It is far too easy to get distracted by services and sites out on the Internet.
What I've wound up doing on days when I need to crank out some text is to shut down everything I can. Shut down Facebook windows. Shut down Tweetdeck. Shut down all the browser windows I don't need. Put my cell phone on mute. Do all of that to just...
But, of course, for many of my articles, I need to pull up information on the Internet for the articles... which means that the temptation can be there to plunge back into the distractions. (Particularly now that Google+ notifications show up whenever you do a search. :-) )
And so I fight it.
I've also taken to going into my office and working on articles before taking a look at any of those sites. Aiming to publish at least one or more articles and then giving myself a moment to check those sites (and email).
And each day I have that button staring back at me reminding me...
Do you find this to be your biggest barrier to writing? What do you do?
P.S. I haven't yet found a definitive source of that quote. The farthest back I can trace it is to an October 2006 blog post that mentions the email signature of someone named Cyrus Farivar, who currently uses the quote as a subtitle on his blog. Perhaps he is the original author - I don't know. If anyone can find a source of the quote earlier than that, I'd be curious to know about it.
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