Looking to become a more productive writer? What you might need is...television. Or radio. Or a CD player. Or to take your work outside. What may be making you less productive than you could be is that you have bought into the misplaced concept that distractions are always distracting. For some people in some cases, yes, distractions are distracting. It is a mistake to think that what distracts everybody else from achieving peak productivity must by definition also obstruct you. In fact, it is quite possible that what distracts others is exactly what is keeping you from achieving the full potential of your productivity.
This advice is coming not from some third party who is taking a guess or has read something somewhere, but from a writer who knows. Probably 90% of the articles handing out advice on how to become more productive as a writer include something about removing all distractions. For some reason, most writers and most people who hand out advice on writing all seem committed to this idea that silence is the ideal environment to stimulate creativity. Or, if not creativity, at least the capability of putting words to paper.
Here’s some advice guaranteed to rock your world: silence is not golden for everybody. In fact, for a great many of us writers out there, this is actually a guarantee of an unproductive day. If you are not punching out the number of words or articles per day that you know you have within you, it may well be because you need some sort of auditory distraction to occupy that part of the brain that is otherwise being distracted by the sounds of silence.
It may sound crazy at first, but what have you really got to lose. Some writers have to put on music before their brain starts working right. Others have an actual physical (or maybe psychological; who knows and even more importantly, who cares) need to head to some location where life is taking place all around them before they can get the words out of their head and onto paper or the computer screen. Some writers need the background sound of television as their secret muse.
Some of us even have stories of writing literally hundreds of articles while every single episode of "King of the Hill" played on the television, unwatched but heard. Over and over and over again until great big snatches of dialogue from those episodes could be repeated verbatim. The background sound obviously works it way in, but not on a conscious level. It’s an example of using the part of the brain you need for writing in a productive way while kicking those parts of the brain not usefully productive for writing to the curb.
"King of the Hill" won’t work for everybody. Don’t go thinking that it’s some kind of natural intellectual plug-in that will enable you to write hundreds of articles. Maybe for you the trick will involve leaving the TV stuck on the Animal Planet the whole time you are writing. Or maybe it will mean investing in every movie soundtrack you can and playing them while you write. The point is that your ticket to being a more productive writer may lie not in vainly seeking silence in this loud world of ours, but in finding something so distracting to a part of your brain you don’t really use when writing that it fully unleashes the power of that part of your brain that is used.
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