It’s no secret that just about everybody my age is addicted to their phones for everything other than, ya know…making phone calls. It’s also no secret that as writers, we’re hyper-prone to distraction and procrastination.
Never before have I ever needed to do my house chores so urgently as when I’m supposed to be writing. In fact, there are times that I’ll open up Scrivener and then immediately need a break.
A break…in my car…going to get an iced coffee…two towns over…
So, anyway, it turns out that there’s a feature in the Settings app of all iPhones that will tell you how much battery percentage you spend per app while you’re using your device. When I first heard of such an atrocity, I was slightly alarmed, but also slightly intrigued.
There has to be a reason why Apple felt the need to make that information available, but whatever that reason may be, I have a feeling that the way in which I’m going to suggest using it to your advantage is not the way in which they’d intended.
When I was finished clutching my pearls, I came up with the idea for this post. Android users–this works for you, too, I just don’t know how your phones work.
Temporarily Deactivate Your Most Used Account(s)
So, if you go to Settings, and then thumb down to where it says “Battery,” you will see a menu load up at the very bottom that shows how much, on average, your battery is being used per app.
In my case, I happen to use 30% of my battery life on Instagram, followed by 17% for Youtube. Facebook comes in, at third place, with 9%.
You would think Facebook would be numero uno, however, I realize that while it’s probably the most frequent app I check, I only spend a few seconds there at a time before I remember that that website is the armpit of the internet. Hardly a draw to the ole’ lithium battery thing-a-ma-jig.
What I’ve done in the past for myself, and what I’ve felt has worked for me, is that whatever those top few apps are, are going to be your most used for a reason–you’re the most addicted to them.
Now, go on ahead, and either temporarily deactivate some or all of those accounts, and make a pact with yourself that you won’t reactivate them until you’re finished with your manuscript. If you can resist temptation, you just might finish a 90,000 word manuscript in under 3 months.
I would know, because I certainly did.
Tell ‘Em What You’re Doing and Hold Yourself Accountable
The best way I can explain this point is by explaining a bit about National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for those in the biz. NaNoWriMo is a challenge where writers publicly set a goal to write a minimum 50,000 word novel during the month of November.
While it may not be your best writing, part of the success of this challenge is that you’re broadcasting to others–an audience, if you will–how much progress you are or aren’t making. I’ve done it before, and it’s low-key embarrassing when you’ve only completed 20,000 words by the final week. In reality, though, it’s all in your head. Everybody only cares about themselves.
Like, a little too much, if I’m being honest.
If you can’t bring yourself to deactivate your Facebook, or whatever, at least use that platform to shout out to the world, “I should be doing something better with my time!”
Put up statuses. Join online writing groups. Tell your friends to message you and ask if you’ve written today.
It all sounds childish, but when you realize that you now have somebody to answer to other than your own internal narrative, you’re going to want to get that ish done.
The only problem with this, is that many of us are apprehensive to tell others that we’re writers, especially when we’re not published. We’re all familiar with The Smirk from people who think what we’re choosing to pursue is silly.
“Oh, what do you write? Are you published?”
Shut up, Karen. We can’t all sell pyramid-scheme Herbalife, like you.
Upward Social Comparison
This one is going to sound horrible, but hear me out.
In psychology, there’s this concept of Downward Social Comparison, which is when you basically compare yourself to somebody else who’s worse off than you, so that you feel better in comparison.
It’s like saying, “I went to a state school, but at least I didn’t drop out, like Kevin, from high school.”
Or something to that degree. Basically, it’s not good.
However, the opposite concept of that is Upward Social Comparison, which is better known by it’s Instagram tag, #motivation. It’s comparing yourself to those who are better off than you via their social media, and using that as a drive to get writing.
Now that we live in the 21st century, social media allows us to see more than ever into the intimate lives of writers who have made it big. There was a point in time when they, like you, were hopeful writers looking for affirmation.
I caution that when using USC, you be actively aware that too much of this can cause you to actually feel further away from success. It’s also just a good rule of thumb to remember that social media is fake, fake fake.
Nobody puts up the bad stuff, and when you compare yourself to somebody else, in this scenario you will always lose. Why is this? Because you’re comparing your behind-the-scenes to everybody else’s Highlight Reel.
If nothing I’ve suggested works for you, your best bet is to write on a vintage typewriter, because those things don’t get WiFi. Unfortunately, the rest of us are going to be writing on laptops and computers where distraction is never further than a couple clicks away.
Programs like Scrivener offer a black-out feature that will help to curb temptation, but sometimes it’s not enough. I also think that our addiction to social media is an excuse to say, “I’ll write tomorrow,” until tomorrow turns into years.
You can sweat thorough it, or give using your addiction to your advantage a try. For some reason, it always seems to work for me. If it works for you, too, let me know on Twitter. I’d love to hear. My handle is @leightonknight_
Do you know how much I’d rather be watching Youtube right now, rather than writing this post before bed?
Just kidding. Writing this post has been a pleasure.
And as always, you’re doing amazing, sweeties.
Now get to writing.