More than half the battle when you're trying to write is remaining focused enough to complete a project.
It used to be that most writers complained about lack of time to finish their novels, even their short stories, and articles.
Life has always had a way of distracting us from our goals - and that was before the Internet.
Yes, there was such a time.
It reminds me of that old joke. "How did we ever look busy at work before computers?"
Now it's like, "How did we ever fill our time before the Net?"
A hundred years ago – in the evenings before TV - we sat in candlelight, singing songs around a piano. Or we got pissed on gin in a tavern.
Then came TV and we sat around watching black and white drama and variety shows on the BBC, who (my mum says) told you when to go to bed when they stopped broadcasting.
Now it's all gone crazy.
24/7 entertainment by the yard, distractions by the bucket load, total information overload - how is a writer supposed to think, let alone write!
And none of this includes dealing with our jobs, the shopping, the chores, our families and having real off-line friends to socialize with.
In Japan, they sell clean air - because it's such a rare commodity.
I reckon the person who can package and sell FOCUS will be the next billionaire.
We recently upgraded our broadband - from crap to vaguely acceptable - because these are the only two options Australia offers its customers.
Now, everything electronic in our house is permanently connected, not only to the Net but to each other. Things ding and ping randomly and we have designated charging points for all our mobile clutter.
It's all great and wonderful - until I need to write!
The afternoon has recently become my "technology free" zone. It's hard - actually really hard - but I switch off my connection so I'm free to write articles, blogs and sometimes, my fiction.
It's absurd that I often have to go offline to answer emails - otherwise, they'd never get done!
And if I find it tough, what about those people who tweet every hour of every day? How do they find the time to do anything else?
Maybe they don't.
I guess that's it - tweeting IS what they do - maybe in between their novels?
I don't know.
It's hard not to be online, isn't it?
Just a quick peek that turns into an hour or two?
I've started editing manuscripts in bed - on my tablet - which of course is only a screen-flip away from the entire web. It's a wonder we get anything done these days...
And yet there are still thousands of authors out there who do get things done!
My hat is off to them.
Personally, I will continue to try and find that elusive balance.
I call myself a writer - because that's what I do (mostly). I would hate to get so distracted I lose sight of that imperative.
Which does happen sometimes - and I loathe myself for being so unproductive...
I hope you too find your balance, with the help of The Writing Academy.
And that we continually remind ourselves to FOCUS when necessary.
The best to you,
© Rob Parnell