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Don’t Drive Your Blog Distracted

This guest post is by Chris The Traffic Blogger.

I can tell you a thousand ideas I have on how to be creative and when/where to write, but I struggle to create a list of times when you shouldn’t write. Most authors advise that you create articles during the good times and the bad in order to do two things: Improve upon your writing skill and increase the diversity of your writing. With that being said, is there ever a bad time to write then?

Blogging while distracted

Copyright Sergiy Serdyuk - Fotolia.com

Here is the first thing that came to mind regarding a time when you shouldn’t be writing. Focus is a hard thing to come by these days, especially with the increased speed of technology. If you don’t turn off that smart phone, unplug from tweetdeck and mute the television, well you’re going to be interrupted quite a bit when you try to write.

Writing while distracted is a lot like texting while driving. It’s dangerous, your focus is split so your content is not optimal and there are far more chances for accidents than under normal writing conditions. Don’t blog while distracted. Take the time to apply focus and effort to your work.

When I created the post, Explosive Backlink Strategy, I wrote an entire draft of it without unplugging myself from all the previously mentioned distractions. I repeated sentences, created broken links, had grammatical errors galore and left many ideas unsupported. Worst of all however, was the fact that I had written far too much!

When you think about it, it’s a miracle that we accomplish anything at all with all the Facebook chimes going off on our phones and other mediums desperately calling for our attention. Instead of writing less in these conditions, I tend to write more! And we all know that online readers prefer concise, helpful information.

After unplugging myself, I was able to refine my article to the core ideas that mattered and scrubbed all the errors. That’s the difference between being focused on one thing and having your attention split amongst many things.

Keeping a schedule

The key to avoiding being distracted is to remove the distractions during the period of time you wish to write. This takes planning, since distractions are often unplanned issues which you need to deal with in a timely manner. If you plan ahead and schedule of block of time to write, you are far less likely to be interrupted, especially if you take care of anything that needs doing beforehand. Stay focused and you’ll write far better than you would while distracted or on a limited time budget.

For the blogs I run, I tend to keep a very strict schedule as to when I write every single day. The moment I have woken up and had some much needed java, I write at least a few ideas down for articles I’d like to flesh out later on. Sometimes I write whole posts, but usually just ideas. Then, throughout the day, I turn those ideas into main concepts and supportive ideas soon follow.

Sometimes I write five posts a day, other times I jot down just the ideas for several. The point isn’t to finish a post every day, but rather, to take the time to think and write at least something before I do anything else every single day.

Blogging while extreme

Once again, the root problem that I suggest avoiding while blogging is a lack of focus. When you are angry, emotional, and upset, you will tend to focus on the wrong feelings as you write. Perhaps you won’t have any focus, just a blind anger that directs your article for you and feeds your creative thinking. This is a bad thing. A very bad thing. Cooling down and getting the proper focus back is important to avoiding writing while angry.

Always remember to put your audience first and avoid the personal feelings you have towards comments, emails and other bloggers alike. Keep things professional and write when you can afford to be emotionally focused on the right goals for your blog.

I’ve had my scrapes with fellow bloggers in the past, particularly very jealous ones, and I must say that it is far wiser to ignore someone than it is to try to get into a mudslinging contest. Even if you are 100% right and the other person is completely wrong, everyone gets dirty when the mud starts flying.

My advice for anyone who has copycats and jerks following them around the way I do is to ignore them. Don’t publish their comments, don’t respond to their emails and don’t publish responses on your blog. Just act as if they do not exist and keep on doing things better than they do. For heaven’s sake, don’t write while angry at someone as it always ends poorly for you!

What about the reverse of anger… happiness? Should you write while extremely happy? I would suggest not simply because your focus is once again blurred or ultra-centered on the wrong thing. I’ve written some awful, assuming posts while very happy that came back to bite me in the past.

For example, I had to rewrite the first chapter of The Why People Course because I wrote it while extremely excited to be writing my first book. After reading it I came across as way to hopeful and impossibly optimistic, to the point that most people would probably read it and say “yeah right, that’s wishful thinking.” Even though the numbers and statistics were real for me, they might be impossible for others, so I ended up rewriting the chapter when my focus was more on my potential audience and less on myself.

Focus is the key in blogging without distraction, whether the distraction comes from external or internal forces. Write with focus and write well! And please, don’t blog while distracted!

Have you ever blogged while distracted? Tell us what happened in the comments.

Chris is a self proclaimed expert at showing bloggers how they can get traffic, build communities, make money online and be successful. You can find out more at The Traffic Blogger.

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Comments

  1. I strongly believe in keeping a schedule for publishing posts. Thanks for the reminder.

    NB: My site is for sale, if you interested, contact me.

  2. I know exactly what you mean! I tend to find all sorts of silly errors in articles I’ve written while distracted.

    I’ve decided that Freedom is the way forward.

  3. Good ideas here. Like you, I learned to unplug from everything when writing my posts, but this suggestion of reviewing mood before you write is a good one and I hadn’t really thought about it. ‘Blogging while extreme’ might lend added passion to posts sometimes, but more likely to backfire.

    • If you are looking for some tools for disctraction free writing, I would recommend WriteRoom (for Mac users) and DarkRoom (for PC users). As far as I know both of these tools are free (I know for sure that DarkRoom is).

      For a more premium way to write without distractions, pay the $9 it costs and get ZenWriter, it’s a full screen writing application and I’ve used it to create 2000+ word articles in no time, because I can write them without anything getting in the way.

  4. Nice tips! I also sometimes got some distractions from those that’ve been mentioned.
    Interestingly, my biggest distraction is to click the tabs on Chrome. Once clicked, I’ll be ‘away’ maybe to Soccernet or Facebook for quite some time!

  5. I came here looking for inspiration. I noticed that whenever I visit this blog, I write a new article based on the guidance I have here.

    Now, answering to your question, I usually write very concentrated on my work. However, I have written a few articles without being concentrated on what I was doing due to the lack of time. I’m trying to avoid writing at the last minute, and as you said, trying to always write something everyday, prepare my articles, etc.

    However, many times various unexpected problems prevent me from following my program. This is why I must have a few articles ready, besides my daily one.

    I totally agree with you about the importance of focus, and about the dangers of writing distracted. When your work is poor, you’ll have to work twice in order to fix your mistakes.

    I’m trying to prepare my articles beforehand, no matter what. Thank you for emphasizing this necessity.

  6. Thank you for this post! It is such a good reminder! Staying focused is getting increasingly difficult and is so important. You are absolutely right about errors and distractedness. Whenever I let myself mentally start to wander is almost always when the errors of fact, typos, or grammatical slips happen. I also find that when I am focused, writing takes me half of the time that it would if my mind isn’t completely focused. Thanks for the encouragement to stay focused – and therefore motivated

    • I agree that staying focused or working on proper condition makes you save so much time and even work double. Having a complete and peaceful sleep gives me that state of mind. How about you guys?

  7. Patrick says:

    Being able to keep a schedule and eliminate distractions are extremely important.

    A simple schedule is more than enough. I usually try to put 2 to 3 main focuses on my daily tasks and eliminate doing anything that doesn’t focus on those goals or I’ll end up doing everything but what I should be focusing on.

  8. The most insidious part of distracted writing is the lack of clear focus in our writing. When our thoughts are scattered, our writing veers off topic, and the main points we intended to make lack thoroughly developed support. Granted, much of this can be fixed through rigorous editing, but why create so much unnecessary work?

    I enjoy my writing far more when I’m thoroughly engaged in the task at hand. It’s a much better mental exercise, and the finished product is inevitably superior, too. Likewise, I can also enjoy my distractions more when I’ve finished my writing and can focus my attention on other activities.

  9. Thanks Chris,

    I absolutely agree that it is important to keep a schedule. Not having one is really like leaving your hair unkept – it gets rough and all messed up.

  10. The best way to concentrate on blogging is to make a simple daily life time table and adjust your extra or free hours for blogging.

  11. D.O.A.A.B says:

    I need to reconsider writing when I’m stressed out as well, that way I’m more committed and determined to post. Brainstorming your thoughts on an empty mind makes it that much easier.

  12. Great tip…I guess I have to learn to start putting of my BB when posting. It has always been my number distraction object. Any PING sends my eye there to check and will spend couple of minutes talking whoever sent that… GREAT TIP, I now know what I am doing wrong.

  13. That’s a fantastic post, Chris. I loved the fact that you are taking your blogging seriously by scheduling daily times for writing.
    Successful blogging is all about commitment and self-discipline. Once you stick with it for a while, writing on daily basis will become as easy as brushing your teeth.
    It’s also great that although you are strict with your writing times, you’re flexible with your writing outcome. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of quality not quantity.
    If there’s one thing I would is add is that every writer should have a note and a pen handy wherever s/he goes. You never know when some great idea will jump in.
    Also, when you come up with a topic idea, don’t rush into writing immediately. Instead, let it “sink in” and with some subconscious help, you will end up creating a masterpiece.
    Your article was a joy to read. You’ve got yourself a new avid reader. Keep up the good work :)

  14. sokun says:

    I find having a schedule to be quite bad because i can’t find any ideas for posts when i force myself on a schedule. Going with the flow is better.

  15. Glad you’re liking the post everyone, what’s your shcedule for blogging?

  16. Hi Chris,

    An important reminder that mindfulness goes a long way.

    Blogging when in a whipped up, frenzied state creates chaotic blog posts. You can’t keep up with someone in a frenzy, and reading what they wrote, no difference.

    Write when concentrating fully on the blog post. No social networks, phone calls or any distractions allowed. I prefer writing offline, first thing in the morning. I focus on the post, keeping all my power directed toward a single end.

    A divided mind loses power. A focused mind gains tremendous power.

    As for mudslinging contests, never get caught up in a karmic crap storm. Negative bloggers are sinking on their own karmic ship; don’t hop on board and ride it into the sea.

    I engaged a negative blogger once. Even though I was cool, calm and collected, the amount of energy – 2 minutes’ worth – I spent on writing a nice message, wasn’t worth it. The guy followed me around like a bad cold until I completely ignored him. Emails, Facebook messages, posting on my wall, etc. I stopped responding, and he went away. Lesson learned for future negative nellies.

    Thanks for sharing your clear insight Chris.

    Ryan

  17. Callista says:

    Interesting that I’m reading your post after crafting a post while watching TV and taking care of my 3 month old. It’s definitely not a great post. I need to somehow carve out time to write without distractions. Or at least as much as possible (the 3 month old nurses often.) Thanks.

  18. Ray says:

    I really don’t have or use a set schedule. I prefer to sit down and write later in the evening when things are winding down for the day. The TV is off, the phone is not likely to ring, and background traffic is at a minimum. I do have a tendency to scribble a few ideas on paper during the day that I might use to write about later.

    I know sometimes people want or need to get something out fast, but this is when I am most likely to mess up.

  19. Blog writing is a art I thing you have the good idea’s to improve the blogging I learn lot of from this post. Thanks for this nice & informative post to share with us.

  20. Tom Ewer says:

    Some real gold nuggets in here. You cannot underestimate the power of writing undistracted. So often I am frustrated by my perceived lack of progress with an article, until I sit back and realise how many distractions there are that are hindering me.

    Also, this sentence bears repeating over and over: “Even if you are 100% right and the other person is completely wrong, everyone gets dirty when the mud starts flying.”

    If a commenter has irritated you, STEP AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD!! No good will come of an emotional response.

  21. James Greg says:

    Real mistakes while writing, I agree thoroughly. Keeping the emotions calm while writing is the perfect way to produce anything worthwhile. I once wrote while I was really angry with someone and had a really bad argument. After reading my work on the second day the very first thing that came to my realization “How could I have written all this crap???”. I agree with you Chris it was not worthy of reading a single thing as it contained all my ill feelings and nothing that the audience cared of one bit.

    Writing while distracted is not at all any feat that would bring applause but instead would make you feel clammy as you read it at neutral feelings. A great post with a wonderful topic. Everyone would agree to this.

  22. John says:

    As for writing when angry, use a pen and paper –not your computer, and get all those snakes and spiders out in all their fury.

    Let that session percolate for a day or two, read what you had written, and then burn it. If your angry writing is directed at someone, for goodness sake don’t send it. If you do you’ll set yourself up for a long regret.

  23. Avadhut says:

    Hi Chris,

    The article came exactly when I was struggling to focus on writing. Yes “Focus” is important to write what you have in your mind and it shows when people read it.

    One more point you mentioned about Ideas. You must write your ideas for posts.

  24. “When you are angry, emotional, and upset, you will tend to focus on the wrong feelings as you write.”

    Well, this is me all the time.

  25. Excellent points Chris! And the timing was impeccable. My wife read my most recent post last night and her comments have me thinking that I may have been driving distracted:) I have been keeping to a scheduling of posting three times a week and, as you said, while this may be a good thing, it should not come at the expense of quality…

    I have a question for you. What do you find to be a good momentum-building post after a post that fell flat? What has worked for you?

  26. Richard says:

    I like your scheduling idea for writing blogs. Helps to mitigate procrastination!

  27. Jeff Folger says:

    I tend to (in spring through fall) sit on my small deck overlooking a garden that I photograph the wildlife in. While I’m out here (in my Zen moment) I think about articles and subjects. My trouble is getting all the ideas writing down and if I’m lucky I will take a digital recorder with me and make audio notes. Then I got to my office and clear through emails and facebook entries and I clear my desktop in an effort to clear my mind. Then I can achieve enough focus to do some writing…

    I don’t have it down like you do to set times and someday’s those shiny objects keep taking my attention away from writing…
    Thanks

  28. Denys Yeo says:

    Yes, but also remember that sometimes accepting that there is an emotional background to a post can result in a more creative piece of work than might have been the case if this component is ignored or swept to one side?

    upi:dyd-dgyeo

  29. “Focus is the key in blogging without distraction.” So true. Quite a few times I noticed that when distracted blogging sounds different and I don’t write my ideas the way I really want them to sound.
    Thanks for writing about it.

  30. Our blogs are important, whether they are our babies, or our businesses. They deserve our full focus.

    And as for those jealous jerks, I have a lovely quote:

    “If someone is talking behind you back…don’t worry ~ You’re walking in the right direction”