The Secret to Distraction-Free Writing

The Secret to Distraction-Free Writing


The modern age has allowed humans with many opportunities in the greater scheme of things. As a writer, it is easier than ever. You do not have to pore over books and hole up in the public library for weeks and weeks because technology makes research accessible from the comforts of your armchair.

But it cannot be denied: writing seems impossible now more than ever. There are just too many distractions that eat up time and energy.

You log in to your computer to check your email but eventually give in to impulse and open a social media app. The next thing you know, you’re so deep into Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram that your morning simply fades away. Your work productivity suffers. So what can you do to write without distractions?

Do Your Research First
The writing part cannot truly begin unless you have at least researched about your topic or subject. While your imagination can be impressive, it can only do so much. If you want to inject credibility into your writing, you have to sound like you know what you are talking about, especially when it comes to subjects you are not familiar with.

That is why it is important to do research. It should be the first thing you should do before you roll up your sleeves to write. Gather your sources and materials, and save them in a Word document. That way, when you finally sit down to write, you won’t need to flip back and forth between your writing tool and your browser.

Leave the Online World
To keep distraction away, you need to turn off your Wi-Fi and work offline. You can choose to close the browser and open your preferred writing tool. But if the temptation proves too much, opt to disconnect your cable or turn off the modem.

It can be hard at first, especially if you are used to consulting a search engine every time you start a sentence. You can get used to it though, and it will prove to be easy in the long run.

Turn Off Your Phone
It is not only the internet and the exciting things that go on in there that can distract you. Your smartphones can ruin your concentration as well every time it beeps or lights up with notifications.

If you really want to write, you have to turn it off or put it on airplane mode. That way, your train of thought will not be interrupted as you lay down the foundation of a story or article you are writing.

Put Up a DND Sign
A “Do not disturb” sign can do wonders. If you are living with your family or friends, it can be very frustrating if you lose your focus because they knock and suddenly appear in the doorway to ask you something. Make a rule and let them know about it so they will understand if you lock yourself inside your study and try to turn your greatest idea into a masterpiece. 

Work on a Clean Desk
A cluttered desk can be a form of distraction. Many people prefer to work on a clean, clutter-free space because it helps clear their minds. When there are too many things in front of you, from coffee mugs and bags of chips to opened books and several pens, you will find it hard not to look at them once your mind goes blank. Eliminating them will mean you can easily recover your focus and go on writing.

Use a Writing Tool
This is one of the best ideas if you want distraction-free writing. Gadgets like portable word processors are perfect for you. This tool is intended for writing text and nothing else. It is easier to concentrate on your thoughts and turn them into words if you do not have other forms of distraction.

Aside from that, a smart typewriter doesn’t have the usual navigation keys, so you don’t keep going back and forth within sections of the document. That means you have to be linear in your writing thought and think really hard about what you’ll type. You have to expend energy and a huge amount of concentration on producing continuous but coherent streams of ideas.

Set Your Goals
In order to write, and to write well, it is mandatory for you to focus. Put your attention to the task at hand and ignore the distractions around you. It would be ideal if you set a goal every time you tackle writing.

Stephen King is said to aim to write three thousand words a day. You can start small. Eventually, you will be able to find your rhythm and raise your word count. Other authors try to write eight hours a day. It is doable, and you can accomplish it as long as you have the will, effort, and determination.




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Excerpt: Go Home, Afton by Brent Jones

Excerpt: Go Home, Afton  by Brent Jones


Title: Go Home, Afton (Afton Morrison, #1) 

Author:  Brent Jones 


Publication date: June 25th 2018
Genres: Adult, Thriller

About the book:

Excerpt: Go Home, Afton  by Brent Jones
We all wear masks, and Afton Morrison is no exception.


A small-town librarian with a dark side, Afton, twenty-six, has suppressed violent impulses her entire adult life. Impulses that demand she commit murder.

Blending her urges with reason, Afton stalks a known sexual predator, intending to kill him. But her plan, inspired by true crime and hatched with meticulous care, is interrupted by a mysterious figure from her past. A dangerous man that lurks in the shadows, watching, threatening to turn the huntress into the hunted.

Go Home, Afton is the first of four parts in a new serial thriller by author Brent Jones. Packed with grit and action, The Afton Morrison Series delves into a world of moral ambiguity, delivering audiences an unlikely heroine in the form of a disturbed vigilante murderess.

Excerpt:


Parents—stay-at-home moms, mostly—brought in their toddlers once a week so I could read them a story. And I use the word toddlers loosely. Kids as old as six or seven sometimes attended during the summer. And the stories we would read were made up of fewer than fifty words, for the most part. A lot of the mothers in Wakefield were too lazy to read to their own children, I guess.
Oh, and crafts, too. After reading a story together, we’d break out glitter and colored pencils and paste and other nonsense, but that wasn’t the real reason a dozen women turned out with their little monsters each week. Storytime was an excuse for the mothers to gather and gossip. It always took a little while to get the children to settle down, sure. I’d press my finger to my lips and wait. Five or ten seconds at most, although I would have been happy to wait longer. Their mothers, on the other hand, were so much worse. Getting them to shut their fucking traps was a whole separate exercise in endurance.
But as much as I disliked children, there was something magical about them. It was their inability to see gray, I think. Their entire worlds existed in black and white, right and wrong, good and evil. You could see it in their faces as a story unfolded, rife with nervous energy at every inconsequential turn.
“And she just doesn’t know”—I read to the room, pointing to each gigantic word—“should she stay, should she go?”
I caught a boy’s expression, who sat just inches from me. The hippopotamus in our story was faced with a dilemma, and this boy was transfixed. His eyes were wide, his hands were cupped over his mouth, and he was vibrating with anticipation to see what the hippo would do next.
I flipped to the last page. “But yes the hippopotamus.”
The boy relaxed a little, making a deliberate show of letting his shoulders drop. A talented drama queen in the making. He was new to storytime and looked to be about five or six years old. He had dark hair, a tan complexion, and a missing front tooth. He’d attended just once before and he’d sat close that day, as well. I’d never really been big on learning children’s names, to be honest, but I knew his was Neil only because he’d come to the library alone both times. It sounds strange, I’m sure, but having a parent use the library as a free babysitting service happens more often than most people would guess.
I continued on, reading the final words of the story. “But not the armadillo.”
Neil was stressed all over again, and his tiny hand shot up. “Miss Afton?”
“Yes, ah, Neil? What is it, little man?”
“How come not the arma-darma?”
“Armadillo.” A woman in baggy gray sweatpants corrected him from the back of the room. She was a few years older than me, had bleach-blonde hair in a ponytail, and her voice resembled a seagull getting crushed by a car.
I shut the book and set it on my lap. “That’s a good question, Neil.” I bit my lower lip, deciding how much to share. “Well, let’s see. Ah, no one likes armadillos, for starters. They’re bullet-proof, if you can believe it, and ugly as sin. They carry leprosy, too, but they don’t bite children too often.”
The woman at the back of the room—Sweatpants, let’s call her—looked horrified. Her stained teeth chattered and she blinked in rapid succession. She placed her palms over her daughter’s ears, a girl around three or four in age.
Neil scratched his head. “What’s a lepra-she?”
“It’s—”
Sweatpants raised her hand to silence me—not that I minded—and looked to a few of the other mothers in the room for support, most of whom were checked out or occupied with their phones. She looked back at me again, then at her daughter. “It’s when good little boys and girls get ice cream.” That wasn’t how I might have defined the word, however. “You want to stop for ice cream on the way home, Jessi?”
It was hard enough getting these little turds to sit still for all fourteen pages of But Not the Hippopotamus. Why on earth would this woman want to stuff her daughter’s face with sugar before lunch? But the girl jumped up and squealed at the mention of sweets, and soon, other kids joined in, as did their mothers.
I peeked down at Neil to see him cradling his head in his hands, masking a look of disappointment by staring at the floor. It appeared he had forgotten all about armadillos and leprosy and storytime, and now sulked, wishing he had a parent present to take him for ice cream like the other children.
The mothers talked amongst themselves, and their toddlers fed on the elevated energy levels. The room was alive with discourse, and I wondered if the local Dairy Queen might consider paying me a small commission. “Well, that’s it for storytime, boys and girls. Thanks for coming.”
Sweatpants spoke up at the back of the room, the self-elected leader of Wakefield’s fattest and frumpiest. “But it’s only quarter past, Afton. Isn’t storytime supposed to be a full hour?”
“Just figured you were all on your way to get a double-scoop of leprosy.”
“Very funny.”
I raised my hands in a gesture of mock uncertainty. “We’ve got crafts we can do.” I pointed to three short tables covered in plastic, adorned with supplies that Kim had set up for us. “Should we get to it?”
“That won’t take long. Couldn’t you read them another story first?”
Couldn’t I read them another story? It’d been her idea to squeeze out one of these little nightmares. Why was I being punished for it? “Not this week, I’m afraid. Sorry.”
But she just wouldn’t give up. “Afton, do you know where Jessi’s daddy is right now?”
My first thought was that her husband was probably fucking her sister at some roadside motel with hourly rates, bed bugs, and a one-star rating on Trip Advisor. I couldn’t say that out loud, of course, and so I fought like hell to keep a smirk off my face. It helped to keep my sights trained on Jessi, who had sat back down, cross-legged in a checkered dress. She was drawing on the floor with one small finger.
Sweatpants answered her own question. “He’s at work, Afton. And he works hard, by the way, and we pay more than our share of taxes in this town. Taxes that pay your salary.”
Oh, the salary card. How I loved it when disgruntled parents brought up my salary, as if any one of them wanted to trade places with me. Yes, her taxes paid me a small fortune. That’s why I rented a one-bedroom apartment in a triplex. And it’s the same reason I drove a seven-year-old Corolla. I was so grateful—indebted, even—to Sweatpants and her husband that I just couldn’t wait to read another story.
“Sure thing.” I grabbed a second book off the pile next to me. “One more story, coming right up.”
Sweatpants smiled. It was a flat, fake smile, of course, the kind where the mouth curls tight but the eyes are dormant. It was about the best I could have hoped for, and it seemed to have a calming effect on the other mothers. They quieted down, eager to return to their various text message conversations.
I pointed my finger to more jumbo text on a colorful page. A story about an overweight and diabetic caterpillar with impulse control issues, who was always so very very fucking hungry. “In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf . . .”
And I couldn’t help but lose myself in thought. I was that little egg on a leaf, glimmering in the moonlight, and about to hatch. Soon after, the morning would come. And my hunger would be satiated at last, because Kenneth Pritchard would be dead.


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Excerpt: Go Home, Afton  by Brent Jones
About the Author:

From bad checks to bathroom graffiti, Brent Jones has always been drawn to writing. He won a national creative writing competition at the age of fourteen, although he can’t recall what the story was about. Seventeen years later, he gave up his career to pursue creative writing full-time.

Jones writes from his home in Fort Erie, Canada. He’s happily married, a bearded cyclist, a mediocre guitarist, and the proud owner of two dogs with a God complex.


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Excerpt: Go Home, Afton  by Brent Jones

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Excerpt: Go Home, Afton  by Brent Jones


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Books are Our Children

Books are Our Children, Guest post by Jeffrey A. Cooper


Ask an author which of their books they like the best, and they’ll say that it’s like asking them to choose between their children.  I have to agree.  My books are very much my children, except for the fact that books don’t leave the refrigerator door open, make you drive them around to sporting events all weekend, or promise not to have a party in the house when we go away for the weekend.

Books are Our Children, Guest post by Jeffrey A. Cooper
Each process can be humbling, often unproductive, and sometimes you’re left pounding the walls with frustration.   Much like parenthood, an author is with a book from the very start, which admittedly isn’t nearly as much fun as the very start of parenthood.  On a similar note, full nudity is not required for either.

Authors are with their literary children every step of the way.  We try to show them the right crowd to hang out with. “Stay away from those adverbs.  They’re nothing but trouble.”  We force our will on them, trying to steer our children in a particular direction, even though it never works the way you think it will work.  You make demands.  You say things like,“You will do this because I told you too, that’s why,” then they do whatever they were going to do in the first place regardless of your original intention.  You know which parents didn’t put the proper time and attention into their children’s upbringing.  You can tell the ones that spent more time at the corner bar than at the keyboard.

I looked at my own experience.  When people asked if they could read my new book during the pre-publication period, I interrogated them like they showed up at my front door to take my child to prom with a half-gallon of Jack Daniels on their arm and with a disturbing face tattoo that says “MOTHER”.  “What are your intentions here?”  I asked.  “Are you just going to toss my baby away in the discount rack once you lose interest?”  “Are you going to talk about my baby to all of your friends online?”  “Can you?”  “Please?”

We want our children to succeed.  We put everything we have into them; our thoughts, love, time and considerable effort all go into making them the best they can be.  They’re never out of our minds.  We nurture, care and grow them.  They’re from us.  They are us.  We try to answer all of the questions.  We try to shield them from the bad things out there like clich├ęs, stereotypical characters, and poorly written sex scenes.  We anticipate everything to ensure their future success, even though each of us knows that at some point we have to let our children out into the world and see what happens.  We’ll always be there to support them, but our child has to stand on their own.  People might praise our child, they might adore our child, or they might write terrible things that sound like they didn’t give any time to really get to know them.  Even worse is for our child to go out into the world and be ignored.  Sure, we could pay thousands of dollars to advertise our child to total strangers, but why can’t everyone just see the beauty of our creation for what it is?

Much like parenthood, the author will lose some arguments.  Your book cannot beat up another author’s book.  Undeserving parents with their undeserving children will still be successful, much to the amazement of us all.  On the other hand, your book won’t surprise you one day to let you know it’s pregnant to a drummer, and it definitely won’t be seen anywhere near a Kardashian.

Authors are proud of their children.  Not all of these children have the same impact, but each brings a uniqueness to the world and adds something to the conversation.  As they age we appreciate them even more, especially once we realize that we won’t be on the hook for a college education or an ill-advised marriage in their twenties to that drummer.  They bring us grandchildren (sequels).  If we’re lucky, these children (and grandchildren) might even continue to make us money down the road.  

But they’ll always be our kids.  Now go clean your room.

Books are Our Children, Guest post by Jeffrey A. Cooper
Jeffrey A. Cooper lives in Los Angeles, CA. His previous novel, “How to Steal a Truck Full of Nickels” was published in 2015. Jeffrey has optioned several feature film scripts and co-­created two shows executive produced by Emmy-­award winning comedian Louie Anderson.
Jeffrey lives with his wife, daughter, two rescue dogs, a rescue cat and a fish who all get along famously.

Catch Up With Mr. Cooper On: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter, & Facebook!


Books are Our Children, Guest post by Jeffrey A. Cooper


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Book Showcase: I Serve by Rosanne E. Lortz


Book Showcase: I Serve by Rosanne E. Lortz


Title: I Serve

Author: Rosanne E. Lortz
Narrator: James Young
Length: 10 hours 50 minutes
Publisher: Madison Street Publishing⎮20
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release date: Jul. 18, 2017
Book Showcase: I Serve by Rosanne E. Lortz
About the book:

A tale of arms, of death, of love, and of honor.

Set against the turbulent backdrop of the Hundred Years' War, I Serve chronicles the story of Sir John Potenhale. A young Englishman of lowly birth, Potenhale wins his way to knighthood on the fields of France. He enters the service of Edward, the Black Prince of Wales, and immerses himself in a stormy world of war, politics, and romantic intrigue.

While campaigning in France, Potenhale develops an interest in Margery, a spirited lady-in-waiting with a close-kept secret. He soon learns that Sir Thomas Holland, a crass and calculating baron, holds the key to unlock Margery's mystery and possesses the power to overturn all of his hopes.


When the Black Death strikes Europe, however, Potenhale realizes that the fiercest enemy does not always appear in human form. Seeing the pestilence as a punishment for the sins of his generation, he questions his calling as a knight and considers entering the cloister. Margery or the monastery? Torn between losing his soul and losing the love of his life, he finds friendship with a French knight who might - just possibly - help him save both.
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Also available in print and kindle

About the Author: Rosanne E. Lortz

When she's not teaching Latin or doing crafts with her kids, Rosanne E. Lortz "Rose" splits time between the Middle Ages and the Regency Era, her two favorite historical periods. She and her husband David Spears have four boys and co-own Madison Street Publishing. You can find more information about Rose at http://rosannelortz.com where she posts book reviews of her favorites.
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About the Narrator: James Young

James Oliva is the creator/writer/director of the audio drama podcast What’s The Frequency? He’s also the voice of Michael Tate on audio podcast drama Greater Boston, Willard on Oak Podcast. James has also had guest appearances on ars Paradoxica, The Strange Case of Starship Iris, Seminar, Big Data, Jim Robbie and the Wanderers, The Haven Chronicles, and Radiation World. He was a finalist for a 2016 and 2017 Audio Verse Award in the acting category.

Book Showcase: I Serve by Rosanne E. Lortz


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Interview with Julianne Lynch

Tell us about your latest book.
My latest novel, Beneath the Lighthouse is a thrilling, creeptastic, paranormal adventure for lovers of Young Adult horror. It follows Jamie McGuinness, my sixteen-year-old protagonist, who’s life is less than ideal.
After the death of his sister, Jamie sinks within himself. His grief controls his every thought and action. Those who should love and care the most, have changed and become monsters before his eyes.
He struggles to cope and his only saving grace is the lighthouse where his sister was found dead. But it is here where his journey truly begins.
It’s not your average teenage horrorfest. It deals with some serious themes; such as physical and mental abuse, depression and sacrifice. All these add an edge to Jamie’s story, giving the reader a deeper understanding of his thoughts and feelings. Adding to the overall reading experience.
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What advice do you have for other writers?
Writing is one of those careers where you never know if something is going to work, or if all those hours you’ve put in are worth it. But it is more than a hobby. It is a love affair, sometimes torturous, other times, euphoric. I’d tell any writer out there to continue reading. Let your love of words inspire you. Digest everything you read. Learn from others. But most importantly, write every day, even when it feels impossible. You will always have something within you to say, be it a poem, a blog post, even an email. Just keep writing. There will be times when self-doubt creeps it, and believe me, that happens to the best of us. But that is when you find you’ll create your best work – prove to yourself, not others your talent.
And if there is one thing I’d tell any aspiring writer out there, is that success is rarely overnight. It happens, but it is rare. Write because you love it. Don’t force it. Enjoy it.
What's the best thing about being a writer?
I love the fact that I am my own boss. I work under my own schedule, and though at times I’m given deadlines that often make me want to hide under my bed. I essentially thrive under pressure.
Being a mother, who works at home, also gives me the best of both worlds. My youngest children see me daily. I am here when they go to school, and here when they return. It’s a luxury that not many parents have, and I cherish the position that I am in.
I also love that I am now able to really focus on the work that I feel I was destined to write. I have a wonderful agent, manager and team of people behind me spurring me on, and how many people can say they have realised their dreams?
I am lucky.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
You can find out about me and my writing on my website:
I am active on Facebook – www.facebook.com/AuthorJulieanneLynch
and of course, email: author@julieannelynch.com
I am always happy to hear from my readers, old and new, and love nothing more than discussing a specific character, a current project, or offering advice on a more personal level. I am easy going, and really do enjoy a little bit of banter.
Who is you favorite character in your book and why?

I absolutely love Iliana. When I first began writing the book, she was to be a minor character, nothing more than a vengeful spirit. But as the story progressed, I soon realised that Iliana was the glue to everything happening in Jamie’s life. She is more than a villain. She is a victim, and I loved showing her side of the tale that essentially became a riptide in Jamie’s world.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?

I truly believe readers will enjoy Beneath the Lighthouse because it’s very different from your generic teen horror story. It covers a lot of real life issues that affects many teens today. I’m talking subjects of mental and physical abuse, confusion, personal crisis – subjects that readers can relate to. Aside from the themes of realism, I’ve created a paranormal story that is not only addictive, it’s thrilling, it’s dark, and it will keep you guessing until the last page.

Who designed the cover?

The amazing cover was designed by the incomparable Mister Sam Shearon. Sam is a British Graphic Artist specialising in Science Fiction & Horror, Vintage Futures, Monsters, Cryptozoology, Zombies and Bio-Mechanics. He captured the true chilling essence of Iliana, and I don’t think another cover of mine has ever had my jaw drop. It’s the perfect representation of the world I have built.

What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.

My current work in progress is the follow up to Beneath the Lighthouse. It is called, “What Lurks Within” and continues following Jamie on his journey. Only this time, Jamie is losing his mind, piece by piece, and all at the hands of something darker than anything he could ever imagined. He thought things were bad with Iliana, but nothing compares to the true horror of what lurks within your mind.


What books or authors have most influenced your life?

I have an eclectic taste in authors and their work. I’ve been reading all my life, and depending on the mood, my reading experience is different all the time. However, having studied Literature at length, I have a deep-rooted love for the classics, and it’s hard for me to pin my love down to a few. But there are a few novels who have stood the test of time with me and have influenced my journey as a writer and woman.

The Castle of Otranto, by Horace Walpole
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
Dracula, by Bram Stoker
Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
The Vampyre, by John Polidori
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
The Alex Cross series, by James Patterson
The Morganville Vampire series, by Rachel Caine

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I am a bit of a health and fitness enthusiast. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than spending a few hours in the gym at the end of the day. I find it’s my down time. No word count. No emails. No phone calls. No mummy duties. Just me, my headphones and weights.
And if I am not in the gym, I love mountain hiking, running, or taking long walks. I love the great outdoors, and I have a deeper appreciation of the time I get outside, considering the amount of time I spend sitting at my desk, surrounded by so much technology.
Also, being a mother means I have to give a whole lot of myself to the demands of a busy household. So when I have my down time, I really am quite selfish with it.


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