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View Full Version : What Distractions Can You Not Write With?



Travis J. Smith
11-19-2008, 09:40 PM
Everyone has things that irritate them. Some, like me, more than others. But what distractions prevent you from writing altogether or abruptly interrupt your writing noticeably enough? For example, if someone has the TV on downstairs loud enough that I can hear it upstairs, there's no way I can write unless the fan can drown the noise out (and it's not too cold in the house to cool it down more by turning a fan on). Same goes for conversations. My attention shifts to listening to both and I can't help it. Maybe it's because I, as a writer, want to hear as many conversations as possible to allow me to write more natural dialogue, or maybe not. I'm posting this because I've wanted to work on revising my novel for about a week now, but one particularly bad irritance has been around the whole time, preventing me from getting anything done.

scarletpeaches
11-19-2008, 09:42 PM
Children being anywhere in the vicinity.

My bitchwhore neighbour playing her music again.

I can write under pretty much any circumstance with varying degrees of success; the neighbour-noise kills all creativity stone dead though.

Travis J. Smith
11-19-2008, 09:49 PM
Children being anywhere in the vicinity.Children can be a joy when you want to deal with them and when you're familiar with them, but when you can't put names to their faces and when you to be left alone, especially by them, they're definitely a deterrence. The neighbors, whose yard starts where our "yard" (a small patch of land barely big enough to fit a casket under, that ends at the bottom of the small slope where their yard begins) ends, has a trampoline in that yard and their kids, as well as multiple other kids, join in to make a racket on the trampoline quite often. All of this happens more or less right outside my window, too. Good thing it's getting too cold and snowy for that now.

October
11-19-2008, 09:51 PM
I cannot work with the TV making noise, but I can't work with it off, so I have to have it on mute. I also can't work in complete silence, so I have the radio on low, too, but, if one of my favorites songs is on, I can't work either, because I get distracted.

I'm not very picky or complicated at all. Can you tell?

eLfwriter
11-19-2008, 09:53 PM
AW does a pretty good job of distracting me most days ... :D


Mostly s'all good. I've learned to tune out a lot of noise (splegh, I had to, I write a lot of stuff on the back of my school notes and classes are noisy. Teachers want you to listen for some reason ...) But sometimes my friends all barge over with popcorn and movies that have Orlando Bloom starring in them ... and then the writing sort of goes down the tubes in favor of Orli action and buttered popcorn. Yummy.

Travis J. Smith
11-19-2008, 09:56 PM
I also can't work in complete silence, so I have the radio on low, too, but, if one of my favorites songs is on, I can't work either, because I get distracted. I'm kind of like that, but it depends on if there's any additional noise that could be potentially distracting. Though my fan or air conditioner (in the summer) are often on when I'm reading or sleeping, because I like a nice, consistent noise, not silence or anything that's too up-and-down, like the radio you use. Quite alike and quite different, we are, eh, October?

Pomegranate
11-19-2008, 09:59 PM
Life is full of distractions. If you are sensitive to everything, you'll never get any workd done. With practice I've learned to tune out most noise. I work in an open plan office full of people who talk and type, with phones and faxes ringing,traffic noise from the street, etc. When I'm concentrating people can walk right up to me and make me jump. All the noise is still there, I just shove it in the background of my mind.

Basically, I notice the noise and decide I'm not going to let it distract me. Every time I hear it, I repeat that message "this does not distract me from working." and I focus again. It did take a while to learn.

Meanwhile, maybe you can invest in some noise cancelling headphones?

mrockwell
11-19-2008, 10:00 PM
I can't write while listening to music, unless it's instrumental. Even then it can be a distraction. I've never been able to understand writers who have a playlist for their novels.

TV and kids don't bug me -- if they did, I'd never get any writing done, since one or the other (usually both) are always at top volume around here! :)

-- Marcy

Shail
11-19-2008, 10:10 PM
I live in a high decibel house. It only has three rooms, no walls to separate the rooms, and no doors, except the bathroom, which has both walls and a door. And my mother and father are pretty much deaf. The television/radio/whatever has to be at top volume for them to enjoy. That makes my school aged siblings scream over the noise while they play games of pretend and prance back and forth behind my computer chair. I have to wear ear plugs to protect my ears from normal every day sounds. So writing only comes during the sibs school hours, or sometime after one in the morning.

Kitty Pryde
11-19-2008, 10:14 PM
I can write to any sort of music except rap music. Rap and hip-hop lyrics worm their way into my brain so I can't think of my own words.

I can write surrounded by maniacs and screeching kids on the bus, but for some reason all the beige walls and depressing filing cabinets and false cheer at the office distract me to the point that I can't write at all.

Polenth
11-19-2008, 10:19 PM
Screaming. I don't like it when people are watching gritty detective things, with torture victims screaming all the time. Not only does it cause physical pain, as my ears are sensitive, but my natural instincts are telling me I should go help the screamer. The fact I know they're only acting doesn't help the instinct thing.

Karen Duvall
11-19-2008, 10:21 PM
I usually prefer quiet, and background music will drive me insane. But I can handle the television being on as long as it's something mundane, like the weather channel. I'm also very productive during televised football games. I really wish I could write in coffee shops, but the overhead music and hum of conversations sets my teeth on edge and I can't concentrate. Sigh. I'm going to keep trying, though.

mscelina
11-19-2008, 10:27 PM
P&CE apparently.

*sigh*

scarletpeaches
11-19-2008, 10:28 PM
Ah yes, mscelina - you just reminded me of another distraction.
http://i261.photobucket.com/albums/ii53/doriangrayspictures/Rabbits.jpg

mscelina
11-19-2008, 10:31 PM
:roll:

illiterwrite
11-19-2008, 10:40 PM
Dirty dishes or other disorganization. Drives me nuts. It's why I don't work in the "office," which unofficially belongs to my husband and is a total disaster.

willietheshakes
11-19-2008, 11:15 PM
Sometimes I have to physically push the groupies away... so distracting.

gypsyscarlett
11-19-2008, 11:23 PM
I probably don't belong in this thread because nothing distracts me. I can zone out like nothing.

Carry on...

Elwolf
11-19-2008, 11:24 PM
When the television is on, I always get distracted. When the news is on, well, I don't really pay any attention to the news. But TV is my biggest distraction. Other than that, I can write during anything. Even a bomb, although I haven't tried that yet. I wonder if I could. Hmmmm.

redpbass
11-19-2008, 11:35 PM
People interrupting me. I get settled in, start writing, really get going, then I hear "Michael, go feed the dogs!" "Let the cats out!" "Come change this light bulb!" "Get the cats inside!" "Feed the cats!" "Take in the flag, it's going to rain!"

:Headbang:

Sure, the rent is cheap but living at home can be a real pain.

A.L. Wright
11-20-2008, 12:40 AM
I can write with the television on or off, but I can't write if the volume is at a level where all I can hear is mumbling. It either has to be loud enough that I can hear the conversations or shut off completely. I can also handle people talking around me for the most part, but there are certain voice pitches that distract me. And this might seem really nitpicky, but I can't stand it when people whisper using drawn-out, hissing S's. It drives me nuts.

Yeah, I'm weird.

Shadow_Ferret
11-20-2008, 12:45 AM
My wife. Nuff said.

Cybernaught
11-20-2008, 12:46 AM
Roommates.

LaurieD
11-20-2008, 12:59 AM
I can work through TV, radio, kid noise. Dogs in the neighborhood barking at nothing, no problem. Crazy neighbors mowing the lawn, lighting off firecrackers, racing up and down my street, no problem.

Put me in a quiet room and I'll go crazy trying to work or write.
Put me in a quiet room with people talking quietly amongst themselves and you may as well send me off to the loony bin, I'll get nothing accomplished anyway.

I guess I need my merry chaos to keep me sane and productive

GLAZE_by_KyrstinMc
11-20-2008, 01:10 AM
When my computer's shut off...

... that's about it...

GLAZE_by_KyrstinMc
11-20-2008, 01:11 AM
Oh, and when I have nothing better to do, then I can't. :P

Adam Hammonds
11-20-2008, 03:26 AM
A mouse in the room. Hands down. If there's scratching and scurrying, there's no writing.

illiterwrite
11-20-2008, 03:28 AM
Sometimes I have to physically push the groupies away... so distracting.

Rob, that's your cat, not a groupie.

willietheshakes
11-20-2008, 03:30 AM
Rob, that's your cat, not a groupie.

*sniff*
Buzzkill.

thethinker42
11-20-2008, 03:31 AM
I can't deal with people talking to me, or talking loudly around me. Now that I am not working, I write while DH is at work, so I have all kinds of peace and quiet...assuming the neighbor's shrieking yapper dog isn't shrieking and yapping, the neighbor kids aren't thundering up and down the stairs, etc.

Strangely enough, I'm not bothered by the fighter jets. Maybe I just got used to them when I worked next to the base in Virginia Beach, but even when they fly really low and shake the house, it doesn't bother me. But just LET my husband ask me where the paper towels are...

Also, music. I have to write with music, but there's a very fine line between what helps me write and what distracts me, and a lot of that depends on what I'm writing. I could go on for pages about that.

AndreaGS
11-20-2008, 03:45 AM
It's really hard to write with the puppy in the office. She likes to pull papers out of my garbage and rip them up into little shreds and then pass really stinky gas and then sit at my feet and whine until I pick her up and then squeak squeak SQUEAK her squeaky toy.

Also difficult with the kid looking over my shoulder. "What are you DOING?"

ChaosTitan
11-20-2008, 05:19 AM
The only thing that really distracts me is someone trying to talk directly to me--pretty hard to concentrate with someone attempting conversation. Anything else is just background noise.

tehuti88
11-20-2008, 06:42 PM
Everyone has things that irritate them. Some, like me, more than others. But what distractions prevent you from writing altogether or abruptly interrupt your writing noticeably enough?

For me, it's being in a really, really lousy mood, often so lousy that I end up crying, whether in anger, frustration, depression, whatever. I honestly can't write then. It takes the smallest things to set me off (a website not working when I want to use it, something malfunctioning or going wrong, a big worry about something, me just thinking about how lonely/useless/whatever I am, etc.), so lots of things can cause the mood, but aside from that...

Not many things distract/keep me from writing. If there's a TV or music or whatever on, I just tune it out. If someone's talking to me, I listen to them, then go back to writing. If the phone rings, I irritatedly wait for whoever it is to leave a message, then resume what I was doing. *shrug* I get distracted for brief moments admiring the birds on the feeder outside the window, or shooing away the squirrel, or telling the cat to stop acting up, and I might have to go to the bathroom :o but aside from that, as long as I have the computer on and my work open and am not in a terribly foul lousy mood, I can write.

OH. It irks me sometimes though when there are people nearby me in the room, but I'm okay with that if I'm not writing personal or adult stuff. :D

Deranged Princess
11-20-2008, 06:49 PM
My irritation is much liike AndreaGS - I hate it and cannot write when someone is reading/standing/looking over my shoulder. I need my space.

Darzian
11-20-2008, 07:05 PM
AW. Not an irritation but a terrible distraction. It's like heroin-----not that I've experienced the drug, eh?....

KTC
11-20-2008, 07:11 PM
The sound I dislike the most in all the world is the sound of a baby crying. It grates me more than anything else. I wasn't writing when my kids were babies, but I know that if I was I would not have been able to write a single solitary word while they cried. I have 0 patience/tolerance for that sound.

Saint Fool
11-20-2008, 10:02 PM
Waiting for an important phone call. I can do anything else, read, clean house, etc. but if I'm waiting for someone to call me back I can forget about getting anything on paper.

dirtsider
11-20-2008, 10:24 PM
I can't stand low conversations because then I have to concentrate on what's being said. I think that they really started getting on my nerves when my first college roommate and her boyfriend would whisper their arguements while I was trying to go to sleep. And I can't stand telemarketers. Annoying creatures, particularly when they call at 8 or 9 pm. Weird thing is, I can have the TV on when I'm reading stuff online but not when I'm trying to write.

narnia
11-20-2008, 10:33 PM
I have a new boss who lurks, very counterproductive to my progress having to worry when he'll next appear over my shoulder.

;)

And yes, irritating!

Atlantis
11-21-2008, 01:48 AM
My younger sister Katie being in the house. When Katie is bored she will float around the house talking/laughing/singing to herself. She laughs like Dr. Hibbit on the Simpsons. I'll be in my room writing and I'll hear her go "HE HE HE HE HE HE HE HE..." from the lounge room. She'll sit on the computer outside my room and sing tunelessly to her Christian music or put the head phones down on the table and let the music play out from them which irritates me. She sits in the lounge room and watches the religious channel on the tv really loudly. She will also close the door to her room and laugh/pound her feet/yell/dance to religious music which she always plays really loudly. She really does drive me nuts. lol. Oh and when she's REALLY bored she'll follow me around and ask me questions.

eLfwriter
11-21-2008, 02:02 AM
AW. Not an irritation but a terrible distraction. It's like heroine-----not that I've experienced the drug, eh?....



:roll:


so true ... so true. Once you're hooked, you're smooked. (I just made that word up ;) ) There is no going back, no passing GO ... But if we could collect a couple hundred $$ ... I wouldn't complain!


Sometimes a WiP on the back burner will distract me from writing the WiP I'm working on. It's like the characters wage war for supremacy in my field of attention. Gahk, calm down guys.

Oh, and books lying too near me, begging to be read ... *glares at the Historian* Unopened and unexplored novels are a huge distraction for me. Reading is an addiction that's almost as addicting as AW.

Almost.

TrickyFiction
11-21-2008, 02:15 AM
I need distractions to write most of the time. It's weird. My own head distracts me more than anything, so if I can keep half of my brain busy dealing with the distractions, the other half will be free to write.

Fullback
11-21-2008, 02:20 AM
I can't write at home. I take my Mac and eight hours worth of batteries out on dates to coffee shops. People are wonderful and bizarre to watch, aren't they?

Revelationz
11-21-2008, 10:15 PM
I have to have my fan going, and cigs. If I don't have my smokes, I can't focus. I go NUTS!

Advantage: Lung Cancer....

darrtwish
11-23-2008, 03:48 AM
TV isn't really an issue most of the time, except if there's a Spits game on (OHL team for anyone who doesn't know). Any of my sister's music, unless it's music that she stole from me. Any new songs, or songs that the lyrics make me want to sing aloud on my playlist. Having people sitting in the room with me while I write, unless it's just jotting down a quick note about my current WIP.

katiemac
11-23-2008, 04:41 AM
Other people. I'm not one to go out of the house and write often, so it's really just if family and friends are around. Even if they aren't distracting me, there's always potential they will.

Also, I've tried writing on airplanes or trains, but if there is someone sitting next to me I'm not comfortable with that. I need one of those screen shields.

Tepelus
11-23-2008, 05:13 AM
The tv, music with words, my boyfriend and Mr. Whiskers...the cat always wants lovin' when I'm in the middle of writing.

scarletpeaches
11-23-2008, 05:25 AM
The CAT wants lovin', not your bf?

Tepelus
11-23-2008, 05:27 AM
Lol, yeah, cat wants more lovin' than the bf, he's busy watching football.

Topaz044
11-23-2008, 05:41 AM
My fiancee when he talks. He has a loud voice and generates a lot of energy, so it's difficult to focus.

Also, message boards seem to be distracting me from writing :D

ishtar'sgate
11-23-2008, 05:44 AM
When the dog wants inside - NOW. He barks and barks and barks and never seems to get hoarse. We live in the country so he's not disturbing anyone else but when I'm writing, the second he starts to bark I get up and let him in.

mario_c
11-23-2008, 07:04 AM
Geesh. I'm appreciating bachelorhood right now. Writing around people, not good.

I write with music on, but I stick to instrumental as much as possible. If the music has lots of lyrics I start listening to the singer's tale instead of thinking about what I'm typing. Also mellow or downbeat is preferable, and the upbeat stuff is for jogging or walking around. Duke Ellington good, Quadrophenia not so good.

Having the internet lurking behind my WIPs is not good. I should unplug the modem on the other side of my house, except I use celtx and I back up to their password protected server (and my other hard drive).

Jenifer
11-23-2008, 07:40 AM
The fear of failure hulking over my shoulder?

Elidibus
11-23-2008, 01:48 PM
I have a hard time writing anything with anyone in my vicinity. I used too all the time, about five years ago when the only computer I had was in the Den.

Actually, no I didn't. My mom always worked evenings. So I just wrote after she got home and went to bed.

Now, since I've been on my own for a while, I can't imagine writing with anyone in the same room as me. It just irks me for some reason. It kinda pulls me out of my "writing land" which is wherever the current WIP is in.

Nivarion
11-24-2008, 07:46 PM
sadly AW. also sun light, i can only write at night. So therefore, school is also a distraction. Noise, not so much, music just fades into the back ground for me, so i just listen to my ipod.

selkn.asrai
11-24-2008, 08:39 PM
I love to write to movies and tv shows (documentaries are the best of the best); music not so much because I have to turn on software and it slows down my machine.

What distracts me:

a) When I'm waiting for something at an anticipated time (e.g. lunch with a friend, a phone call, etc.)

b) When someone's sitting right next to me. I need space to write.

c) Online = bane. I waste so much time on the internet.

d) Extreme sadness/anger/frustration. I can forget about writing when those strike.

John Farley
11-24-2008, 08:44 PM
AW does a pretty good job of distracting me most days ... :D


the internet, in general, is a pretty big distraction. i use google docs and google notebook religiously for writing, so it is difficult to get away from the damned 'net.

KikiteNeko
11-24-2008, 11:29 PM
When I'm writing, I need everyone to be away from me. Like... It annoys me if I'm writing and someone in the next room decided it's a good time to tenderize beef with a hammer, or starts putting away dishes. Once I even lost my concentration because my mom came into my room to return my sweater.

So yeah. I need to be alone and it has to be quiet except for my music, which I'm particular about. I have a playlist for each character.

swvaughn
11-24-2008, 11:31 PM
Generally, being hit repeatedly about the head with a blunt object will distract me from writing.

Not much else does, though. :D

s.w. Gamble
11-24-2008, 11:44 PM
mine are having anyone in the same room as me, and writing and having some one talking to me.

The Lonely One
11-24-2008, 11:46 PM
It's very bizarre but I cannot sleep without the television on. I think it blocks my mind from dwelling on things from the day.

Thus, television is easy (at a reasonable volume) for me to block out when I'm writing. Maybe it's a similar thing -- blocking out analytical worries so the subconscious can roam a bit more freely?

Some distractions I can't handle are the dog barking, bills setting next to my computer, an atomic bomb going off or my inlaws anywhere nearby :).

I guess that goes for anyone, though, being near me and talking while I'm writing. Drives me up a wall.

2old2pb
11-25-2008, 02:32 AM
Motars, rockets, gunshots, jets taking off on afterburners and TPNs crahing trucks into light poles.

Danger Jane
11-25-2008, 02:59 AM
The internet and my trollish roommate.

mario_c
11-26-2008, 07:01 AM
Motars, rockets, gunshots, jets taking off on afterburners and TPNs crahing trucks into light poles."Location: Iraq"
Puts it all in perspective, doesn't it? Keep writing and welcome.

Mad Queen
11-26-2008, 07:31 AM
Work is almost the only distraction I can't write with.

C.bronco
11-26-2008, 07:33 AM
Everyone has things that irritate them. Some, like me, more than others. But what distractions prevent you from writing altogether or abruptly interrupt your writing noticeably enough? For example, if someone has the TV on downstairs loud enough that I can hear it upstairs, there's no way I can write unless the fan can drown the noise out (and it's not too cold in the house to cool it down more by turning a fan on). Same goes for conversations. My attention shifts to listening to both and I can't help it. Maybe it's because I, as a writer, want to hear as many conversations as possible to allow me to write more natural dialogue, or maybe not. I'm posting this because I've wanted to work on revising my novel for about a week now, but one particularly bad irritance has been around the whole time, preventing me from getting anything done.
In-laws.

scope
11-26-2008, 09:33 AM
People talking.

The sounds of drilling and other such construction work.

Music I dislike blaring from any place outside my apartment.

Kalyke
11-26-2008, 11:00 AM
I can't write if I am too cold. I would rather go and lay under the covers and go to sleep. I perfer to be warm.

ghsb12
11-26-2008, 12:07 PM
Anyone around me distracts me from writing.

I need a room with a door, and the door shut. Unfortunately, it's my turn to inhabit the dining table, while hubby gets the study. (Still plotting ways of getting the study BACK!)

Shutting the door to the study so hubby can't distract me, works too.

Inkyhoof
11-26-2008, 09:04 PM
Music with words.

People around me.

People talking.

Anything, really. I work best in peace and quiet, knowing I am not pressed for time or I can't focus either.

Ruskin Drake
11-27-2008, 11:10 PM
Children. I don't have any, thankfully, but when they are nearby, they are NEVER quiet, and it just digs into my brain like a parasitic worm hungering for my sweet, sweet brain.

The internet is the second-worst distraction for me. Actually, it's probably the first, because I can't use my laptop without opening that damnable Internet Explorer.

GeorgieB
11-28-2008, 01:32 AM
The sound of my wife's teapot whistling and screaming for what seems like hours before she races to the kitchen (directly below my balcony office space) and removes it from the stove.

ASHER
12-05-2008, 08:48 PM
I can write during almost anything, as long as I'm in "the zone." I can write with my puppy screaming to be let out of her crate, the neighbors replacing their entire house nail by nail, the phone ringing, the tv on or off... but I can not write with music playing and I can not write if my zone is interrupted. I can try, but then I wind up typing sentences that are nice and rhythmic, but make absolutely NO SENSE what so ever.

EDIT: I thought of something else. WHEN I AM LOGGED ONTO THE INTERNET I CAN'T WRITE BECAUSE I FIND MYSELF PERUSING THIS FORUM INSTEAD!