Being a continually productive writer is always a challenge. However, one of the many benefits of writing is that it can be done anywhere, including the comfort of our own homes. Which can be good because it means we should have no excuse not to get our words in. But I think we all know, that’s not exactly how writing works.
One of the problems of working at home is the number of distractions that can pull us away from our work. There’s housework to do, family members who want our attention, and an entire DVR of programming just calling our names. Ignoring these distractions may be easy when you’re writing well, but even that’s debatable. If you’re struggling with your story or going through a stretch where you just don’t feel like writing, the distractions can very easily win out.
One of the best ways I’ve found to beat in-house distraction and raise my productivity is to go out to write. Here are four reasons why I swear by writing out.
It gives you a set amount of time to work
Another downside with working at home is that there’s always “later.” It’s easy to tell yourself, “I’ll write later, let me just run the vacuum.” Then one task leads to another and “later” never happens. When you go out to write, you don’t have later. You can only be in that place for so long. At some point, you’ll have to go home. If you want to make the trip worth it, you have to actually get the work done now.
There is nothing else for you to do except work
Those distractions we talked about earlier? They aren’t “out” with you. You can’t clean the house or catch up on shows, and no one is around to ask you a question/favor. There is nothing else for you to do except your work. I would also advise you not to connect to the internet unless you absolutely need it. This takes the one distraction that can follow you off the table.
I’ve also found that most of the time, making it to my location is the hardest part. Once I do, I’m always more motivated to make it worthwhile. I took the time to pack up my stuff and get in my car, so I better not come home empty handed. This really helps me make the most of my time. Also, the idea that I’m taking up a table for a few hours keeps me working consistently. Like, if I’m going to taking up space/a table in this location, and keeping said space from other people, I better be working (even though I’m always at a cafe, or someplace that I know doesn’t care how long I’m there).
It keeps you from being too isolated
Writing can be isolating. Even if you have a job and a busy life, when you sit down to write, you’re very much alone. I like being alone, so this is one of my favorite things about writing. But it can also be good for you and your work if you can get out of your own head a little bit. If you’re struggling with your writing at home, the only place you can look to for inspiration is your own familiar surroundings. If you’re “out” you can come across someone or something that might not have occurred to you otherwise. Maybe the woman at the counter with the bright lipstick will make her way into your book? Or maybe she’ll inspire an idea that will. When you’re outside of your house, have a lot to pull from.
You have a lot of options
Personally, I think cafe-type places or Paneras are ideal, but you have options! If you’re someone who needs silence to work, or who doesn’t want to buy something to “rent” a table for a few hours, a library might be perfect for you. If you like writing outdoors, try a local park. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Any place you can set up shop for a few hours will work. The key is to get away from the distractions of being home and give yourself a set amount of time to work.
With all of this said, I do want to note that this approach will not be for everyone. Some people absolutely cannot concentrate if there are other people around, and that’s fine! You have to do what works for you. But if you’ve never tried writing out, I’d encourage you to at least give it a shot. You have nothing to lose and you may find it helpful to your process. I was always someone who thought I could never write out, but I did it for a class once and it completely revolutionized my process.
As always, I hope this helps!
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Now it’s your turn: Do you write in or write out? Have you tried both? Which do you prefer and why? Tell me about it in the comments!