August 30, 2022

Reordering My Distracted Writing World by Sandi Somers

Distractions Image by Unsplash

Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.  

1 Corinthians 14:40 (NIV)

When I introduced this topic last December, I had no idea that God was waiting to speak to me about my distractions. And speak to me He did!!

 One morning while working on this post, I awoke with the Spirit encouraging me, “God is ready and waiting to meet you at your point of distraction.” I knew then that God’s invitation meant, not only to arrest my distraction thieves but to develop greater intimacy with Himself.

He revealed that I was to take each distraction, one at a time, spend time with Him to discern why it derails me, and ask Him to give me a right way through the potential landmines.

 One of my major distractions to writing became symbolized by an incident in childhood. In a baseball game at school, I was guarding third base. The bases were full. The batter hit the ball my way, and I caught it and reached out to touch my runner. But in my hurry to throw it to home base so the catcher could put out that runner, I almost, but didn’t touch my runner before throwing it.

Did I ever hear from my teammates!!

Not finishing. I sometimes don’t finish my tasks before going on to the next—leaving my Bible, notebook and other materials on the table after I finish my devotions. Or revising an article and not taking time to discard the old draft and extra notes, either in my hard or soft copy. Or not reshelving the books I’ve pulled to reference as I write.

 This month I’ve begun taking time to slow down, clear the clutter and organize myself. “Do it now—get it done,” my friend Judy suggested. Doing so will prevent wasting time hunting for that article draft, or that book, or those notes I left somewhere.

 It has been said that it takes 21 to 30 days to develop a new habit, and I’m conscious now to follow through with organizing myself.  Clearing the clutter and “doing it now” will become more natural as the days progress.


As I determined and asked God to help me and guide my next days, He gave me a beautiful image. As I visualized handing Jesus my need to live a better-balanced life, He quickly answered, “I give you the gift now.” He also revealed that once I’ve ordered my world better, I can accomplish more than I thought, and that includes more writing. And more writing means giving my readers more messages the Lord has for them.


PS. I want to thank all of you for your posts on this relevant topic. I took Bob Jones’ challenge to spend time in August examining and working on this issue. And because my thoughts weren’t clear enough after a wicked flu in time to post in my regular slot, Wendy graciously offered me today’s spot.

As I reread all your posts and comments, I’ve appreciated the vulnerability with which you opened yourselves, and how the Lord is inviting you to grapple with your situations. But more, you illustrated how time away from writing can be God’s appointments—to become refreshed and renewed, to spend time with family and friends, to help another in need, or to tend to an urgent matter. (We get holidays from work, so why not take time off from writing for a few weeks?) Your input and thoughts and strategies have given me excellent guidelines as I’ve explored my own distractions. 

August 29, 2022

Fight the Distractions ~ by Sheri Hathaway


Camping was a big distraction from writing this summer!

I don’t think any summer has held the volume and intensity of distractions that this summer has brought. My daughter and family moved to the city, requiring help with shopping or babysitting while they shop. In appreciation, they invited me along to a seasonal event, one that we often attended when all the kids lived at home. Those memories must be relived. Then the whole family decided to go camping. Then my friends decided to do something fun, so naturally I had to go along. 

In the meantime, I have flowers to attend to, raspberries to pick, and any of the other numerous plant and outdoor chores that grow with the season. 

Our prairie summers only last a given number of days so why not take advantage of it? I can write in the winter, right?

None of these activities could be denied. All are important in their own right. Decisions must be made to manage the hours God gave us in each day. May I offer a few suggestions for managing your time? 

1. Take charge; gain power over distractions: Previous experience has taught me it’s practically impossible to write – the kind of writing I do in long stretches of quiet time safely hidden away in my office – through a summer. Last spring, I looked ahead at the calendar and decided not to write during July and August. Taking charge over distractions by planning for them gives me a sense of power over the unexpected. Don’t let them take charge of you. You’ll only feel frustrated. Planning for them will give you a sense of power over them. Believe it or not, some things are more important than writing. Ecclesiastes 3 teaches there is a time for everything, and summer – my kind of summer – isn’t a time for writing… unless it’s a different kind of writing. 

2. Alter writing habits: Usually I write at my computer but in summer, I return to my old practice of slipping a notebook into my purse or market bag, with pen attached. I pull it out and write in a quiet – well, not quiet, then times when I’m doing nothing, like riding in the car, waiting for something or someone… Those times pop up if I watch for them. I know it’s not real writing, but it’s keeping my head in writing by planning for a bigger project later. 

3. Change the way you think about distractions: That invitation to the Taste of Saskatoon led to an unexpected art sale bordering the Taste grounds. I talked to a vendor, made some notes, and tucked that idea away for a future article. Wherever you go, stay alert to possible writing, no matter your genre. Think of distractions, not as a hindrance, but as a source of possibilities.  

4. Alter my expectations: I don’t plan to write a long piece or anything profound in summer. The final draft will come later, maybe this fall, maybe this winter. During short periods of writing in summer, I’m simply taking notes to develop later: future ideas for articles, changes to make on that blossoming book,  a catchy phrase for a poem… But… 

5. Warning! Retain some semblance of order: There is nothing more frustrating that having time to really write, remember a great phrase or idea I wrote down on the beach last July, and can’t find the book I wrote it in. Just as you developed the self-control to write regularly, use that self-control to maintain a useful organization practice of your notes. Keep the same notebook for an entire summer, moving it from one bag or purse to the other as you go, clearly write a meaningful title on the cover, for example, “Writing notes, June – September 2022”, and when normalcy returns, put it on the same shelf as your other writing notebooks so you can find it when you want it. 

We all have distractions so take charge of them and use them. They may still annoy you, but not as much as when they threatened to ruin your day. 

Sheri Hathaway is a freelance writer and watercolour artist living in Saskatoon. She writes historical pieces focusing on farm and family. Her writing has been published in the Western Producer, Neighbourhood Express, Freelance magazine and others. Her online home is and on Facebook at Author Sheri

August 26, 2022

Owen Paul: "My Favorite Waste of Time" - Bruce Atchison

I loved this song when it came on the radio decades ago. Even the title made me laugh. It sounds a bit like an insult and yet it's a complement from a man to his lady. Check it out here.

Though I don't do much writing since I retired, my cat Delta is my favourite waste of time. She often rubs against my legs and politely meows for attention. If I'm working on something difficult and I ignore her, Delta will tap my arm with her paw. I feel I must stop and rub that cute head and brush her lovely coat.

Furry distractions are not much to worry about but spiritual ones are. As Paul warned his son in the faith in 2 Timothy 2:4 and 5 (Bible in Basic English), "A fighting man, when he is with the army, keeps himself free from the business of this life so that he may be pleasing to him who has taken him into his army. And if a man takes part in a competition he does not get the crown if he has not kept the rules."

Being focused on proclaiming the gospel, Paul couldn't always be with his siblings in Christ. We read in Ephesians 6:21 and 22 (BBE), "But so that you may have knowledge of my business, and how I am, Tychicus, the well-loved brother and tested servant in the Lord, will give you news of all things: Whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, so that you may have knowledge of our position, and that he may give comfort to your hearts."

Distractions from the gospel, and Christian living, also come from those we love. Solomon's heart was turned away from the Lord by many pagan wives, as we read in 1 Kings 11:1 and 2 (BBE). "Now a number of strange women were loved by Solomon, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites: The nations of which the Lord had said to the children of Israel, 'You are not to take wives from them and they are not to take wives from you; or they will certainly make you go after their gods:' to these Solomon was united in love."

In every endeavor, we need to keep our focus on what's important. A family emergency must be attended to but not that incredible sale on Amazon.

August 25, 2022

My Portion - Gloria Guest

“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations to be made. She came to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me! “Martha, Martha, the Lord replied, you are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:39-41 {Berean Bible} Was Jesus saying that what Martha was doing, making preparations for all of their visitors, not important? I don’t think so. I think he was saying to Martha, that she had gotten herself worried and distracted to the point of not allowing another their freedom to choose, to the point of not setting her own priorities and choosing more wisely. The thing about distractions is that they are usually good, or at least seem good. I find in my life that I also often use them to avoid something that I am uncomfortable with and don’t want to face. Then I can say that I was too busy to do it. Just like Martha, I choose something else, something that even seems necessary, but I am failing to look deeper into why I made that choice. Or perhaps, even worse, I know why I’m doing it but do it anyways. I find myself in such a place with my writing. I know that I am called to write. I even have a few ideas on what I could write about. I have a writing project in the works. But, I just don’t do it. I let myself be distracted. Sometimes, we do have to put aside our wants and goals for the sake of others. Looking after my grandchildren has been this for me. But there comes a time when we still need to carve out that time to do what we believe God has called us to do. I’m in this hole pretty deep and I still don’t quite know how I will get out of it. One thing that I’ve chosen though is to (at the request of another) try to lead a small writers group in my community. I’ve attempted one before that did not get off the ground. That’s right….I became distracted; most likely with fear. This time, I again feel fear. Mostly it’s the fear of not having enough to offer. I’m not an author of a book. My writing credits consist of newspaper columns and articles but those are all in the past. I have a couple of stories in the Inscribe anthologies. I’ve sent a poem to Fellowship. I write for this Inscribe Blog but have been having trouble with even being faithful to that. Mostly, I’ve written very little in the past ten years. Depression, which in part came upon me from leaving the reporting job that I loved, took over, along with a gathering storm of low self-esteem, loneliness and isolation. We also experienced business, health, injury and family issues during this time. Writing seemed lost to me. As a pick-me-up, and what I thought at the time might be just another distraction, I started to take some editing classes from Simon Fraser University, with the thought that it would keep one foot in the writing world and at the least help to improve my writing. I think it’s been working and that what I originally thought was nothing more than an empty distraction, is turning into a blessing in that I’ve sensed myself coming alive again in my interest to write. Only God knows what that ‘better portion,’ is for each of us. Only we can hear His gentle, even if reprimanding voice for ourselves. I can hear Jesus speaking Martha’s name so gently but saying it twice to get her attention, just as He wants to speak to me. “Gloria, Gloria, you are worried and upset about many things (see above list) but only one thing is necessary.” What is that necessary thing? It’s to leave all else and to sit at the feet of Jesus when He calls me to. To relax in His presence and listen. It is only from there that I can be led into all good things, including my writing. That is my portion.
Gloria writes from her small hamlet of Caron, Sk. where she resides with her husband and new kitten, Tigger (the latest recent distraction). She has written thousands of newspaper articles as a reporter/freelance reporter for various newspapers, mostly enjoying lifestyle pieces. She has also contributed to two Inscribe anthologies and is currently working on a poetry book about Saskatchewan. Other writing interests include memoir and telling stories from her own life to help others who deal with tough issues.

August 23, 2022

Distractions or Opportunities? ~ Valerie Ronald

Today I determined to write this post for InScribe Writers Online. It is now 2 pm. So far I have spent quiet time with God, made some changes to my Instagram account, played online Scrabble, cleaned the kitchen, hemmed some pants and snuggled my cat. Now here I sit at my computer, feeling guilty because I was so distracted from writing about distractions.

 Reading this month’s previous posts, I take comfort in discovering I am not the only one who struggles with distractions. For me to accomplish any forward momentum in my writing, there are some essential requirements: purpose, inspiration, focus, time, and quiet. The first three occur in my interior world, where distractions are usually overcome by my own will. I have learned to mentally compartmentalize my writing projects, so when there is time to ruminate, I choose which one to think about. This can occur while doing routine tasks, watching television, before I go to sleep. If rumination produces something worthwhile, I jot it down to refer to later. 

The last two requirements, time and quiet, are more prone to distractions. Even though in retirement I am the master of my own time, I still need to stick to a writing schedule or large blocks of it will be frittered away in other less purposeful activities. It takes time and quiet in order to get into the Writing Zone, so once there, I try to stay for an extended period with the intent of being productive. The Zone is where most distractions occur. The Zoner does not acknowledge the passing of time. The Zoner begrudges interruptions, like a bathroom break, or a husband needing supper, or bedtime. The Zoner resents the ring of a telephone or a doorbell, would like to silence every lawnmower and barking dog in the neighbourhood, and chooses to ignore hunger pangs as long as possible.  

These are unrealistic expectations, I know, but I can always hope. That being said, I recognize that some distractions are of the Lord’s doing and need to be acknowledged and obeyed, if possible. Proverbs 16:9 reminds me, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” An interruption by someone in need is not a distraction, it is an opportunity. If my writing time is more important to me than praying for a friend with family problems, or a call from a grandchild wanting to tell me she loves me, then I have my priorities mixed up.  

Proverbs, the book of wisdom, also says to “commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.” (16:3 NIV) That does not mean He will rubber stamp all my man-made plans (like six hours of uninterrupted writing time a day). It means when I surrender my day to Him, He will establish the plans He has for me. And that may mean some distractions He allows deliberately, so I can be His hands, feet or voice to meet someone’s need. 

Author Madeleine L’Engle wrote much of her classic children’s book, A Wrinkle In Time, while raising her young children, without the luxury of uninterrupted writing time. She tells of scribbling in a notebook on the kitchen counter, between making dinner and bouncing a baby on her hip. She learned to focus and create despite pressing needs and distractions. Not many of us can do the same. We can, however, discipline ourselves to pay attention to what is important, being attentive and engaged, whether while pursuing our call to write, or recognizing that not all distractions are meant to try us. Some are meant to use us for God’s purposes beyond our writing, especially conveying His love to others.

More of Valerie's work can be read on her blog: 

August 22, 2022

Sitzfleisch - by Lorrie Orr


In my attempts to develop a suitable rhythm for writing I've thought of emulating other writers. Like Edith Wharton, I've thought about staying in my nightgown all morning and write propped up on the pillows. But I'd get a crick in my neck, and sadly, unlike Edith, I have no assistant to come by and pick up my scribbled pages to reorder them and type them. Scratch that idea. 

Perhaps William Faulkner's situation for writing As I Lay Dying would be better. He was a night supervisor at a coal plant, but everything was quiet between midnight and 4 am, so he wrote on an improvised desk. A few problems arise as I contemplate this idea: I turn into a pumpkin at 10 pm, and I know of no nearby coal plants who might employ me. Moving on.

Parisian cafes seem to inspire a lot of writers, among them Hemingway, Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Voltaire who enjoyed up to 40 cups of coffee per day while writing on the second floor of Cafe Procope. Alas, I don't drink coffee, and commuting from Vancouver Island to Paris is simply not practical. Au revoir, Paris. 

Instead, in my own humble home where no one picks up my mess nor brings me tea on a tray, I practice sitzfleisch, putting my bottom into a chair and staying there for a designated amount of time. 

In German, if someone is described as having a lot of sitzfleisch, it means they have the ability to just sit down and get a job done. Writing requires enormous amounts of sitzfleisch, don't you think? 

I'm very much a donkey led by a carrot, so I promise myself little treats once I accomplish a set goal, be it time, or word count. A single square of 78% dark chocolate is a great carrot, as is a walk around the block, or a phone call to my mom or a friend. As often as not, once I do get to my goal, I am eager to carry on and find that I do not need the carrot. 

Taming the lure of the internet is crucial for maintaining sitzfleisch. How tempting it is to check my blog feed, or my email, or to see what's happening on Facebook. Sternly, I ask myself, "Lorrie, who is stronger, you or the Internet?" Alas, in the interest of truthful writing, I confess that it's about a 50-50 split. But how virtuous I feel when I do overcome! 

My simple rules for writing include:

1. Do the important work first, in the morning.

2. Set a small goal and exceed it. 

3. Repeat.

Lorrie Orr writes from Vancouver Island where she enjoys boating and hiking with her husband. Gardening, sewing, reading, and spending time with her five grandchildren fill her days with happiness and contentment. She is newly retired from teaching high school Spanish. 

August 19, 2022

Distracted?! by Tracy Krauss

Distracted? Me?


This month's prompt seems especially appropriate right now. Writing has had to take a back burner due to the many other things going on in my life. Let me fill you in...

My husband has been SLOWLY renovating a house we bought about nine years ago. It is directly across the street from where we live now. At the time, the housing market was brisk, but we got a really good deal on the house, so we bought it. It was going to be our "ticket" to retirement...  A sudden crash in the market ended that plan, so we've been picking away at the substantial renovations ever since. This year, the housing market suddenly picked up again. Ever the optimist, my husband stuck a "For Sale" sign in the window of the house we currently live in, even though the "new" house wasn't ready yet. Guess what? Our house sold within three days! YIKES! That was at the end of June and we have to be out of our current house by the end of August. All well and good, except the other house still isn't habitable, despite a flurry of contractors and many late nights. (No bathroom installed yet, I'm afraid. Otherwise, I'd be up for camping in the house...) We may be living in a hotel for a while, but we are hoping there will at least be one room painted where we can store our belongings.

Enough about that! Two of my daughters were having babies this year, upping our grandchildren to nine. EXCEPT... my one daughter, who was planning to have her baby at home all along, went into labor and had TWO babies. SURPRISE!! Yes, she had twins and SHE DIDN'T KNOW SHE WAS HAVING TWINS.  She chose not to have an ultrasound, but four healthcare professionals did not catch the second heartbeat or any other signs. She literally did not know she was having a second baby until she was being born! She now has FIVE children under five. (And we now have TEN grandchildren!) Needless to say, I hurried on over to her farm, about an hour away, and spent several days there doing what I could. This happened at the end of July. 

Add to the mix quite a lot of company. A friend came and stayed for a few days right before the babies were born and then four of my siblings came for a week in early August. I love company, so I was glad to have them and their visits were planned before my husband put that "For Sale" sign in the window...

Did I mention that I am going to a four-day teacher's convention at the end of August and won't be home when we are actually supposed to be moving? And on it goes. 

I'm not sure if these count as "distractions". In fact, the writing prompt for this month mentioned "focusing on our writing and the important things in life... "  I'd say all of the above fit into the "important" category (especially those sweet twins!) so I wouldn't call them distractions. 

However, all of the above has definitely put a stop to my grandiose writing plans for the summer which included finishing two audiobooks I've been working on. The truth is, I don't usually get too distracted when it comes to my writing. (Okay, not true. I watch too much HGTV.) As Carol Harrison mentioned in her post, I find making lists and creating deadlines for myself works well to keep me on track. However, sometimes LIFE happens and those lists and deadlines have to go out the window. 

Hopefully, I'll see many of you at Fall Conference, where I plan to put my feet up and relax!

Tracy Krauss
writes, renovates, teaches, and loves on her grandchildren in Tumbler Ridge, BC. Visit her website for more: 

August 18, 2022

The Distractions of This World by Alan Anderson


There are many distractions in life these days. Everything from politicians and their misuse of power to all too many self-centered narratives that only keep people apart. Personally, I am done with these types of distractions that interfere with the things that matter in life, including my writing. People do not have to agree with me, of course, and that is their prerogative.



This past couple of years have taught me of my insignificance to most of the world. I also realize I cannot save or fix the world. I can hopefully influence people I meet by being an example of a child of God. I am not saying this to sound noble. I am saying this to remind myself of why I live.


When I hear of tragic things going on in the world like the war in Ukraine, or effects of the pandemic around the world, I realize my limitations. I also realize with these limitations and how distracting world events can be, I turn to prayer. The world is living according to its nature, and I must do the same.


As a Christian I pray to God about His love for people and ask His will to be done. Others may mock or chide, “You pray? You think that is doing something worthwhile? Is this the best you can do?” I do not allow the naysayer types to distract me. I realize the so-called wisdom, or even compassion of people, falls short, when God is left out of the picture.



One of our Orthodox Christian saints, Saint Paisios, said, “What I see around me would drive me insane, if I did not know that no matter what happens, God will have the last word.” As Christians we can rest in these words. The many distractions all around us do not go unnoticed by God.



A reduction in time spent on anti-social media platforms like Facebook is also a reminder of how much a distraction such platforms are. In an ironic twist a post on Facebook is what helped encourage me to do this. Here is what it said:


“If you knew how quickly people would forget about you after your death, you will not seek in your life to please anyone but God.”---Saint John Chrysostom



The past two, or so, years. here in Canada has been a time in history where I no longer have faith in politicians. For us to be true to how God’s people are to live in this world, we cannot afford to put our trust in the world.



Let us be mindful of a writing prompt for this month’s blog post. “Our world is filled with distractions—technological, commercial, and more—that keep us from focusing on our writing and the important things in life.”



Another writing prompt pushes us a little farther when it says, “How do the Lord’s nudgings propel your writing and life forward?” Here, again, is a statement to compel me as a follower of God to shake of the distractions of the world. Please know, I am not saying I have been a success in this endeavour. I am still a work in progress.



Please understand I do not advocate we look down upon the world. We must remember; however, we are in, but NOT of this world. Considering eternity these distractions, even if they attack us, or end our lives, do not last forever. Our lives with God do last forever.


May God help us keep our focus away from distractions!

Alan lives in Deroche, B.C. with his wife, Terry, and their poodle, Charlie. He contributed stories to Good Grief People by Angel Hope Publishing, 2017; Story by Story: The Power of a Writer, Unstoppable Writers Publishing, 2018; Easter Stories & More by InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship, 2021. He is currently working on a book expressing the grief of grieving grandparents. Alan periodically writes articles for FellowScript Magazine. He has written posts for our InScribe blog since 2015. Blog:

August 16, 2022

Dealing with Distraction by Lorilee Guenter


Games. Travel. Media. Reading. Even housework. 

My days are filled with distraction. Sometimes, the distractions distract me from one another, leaving a trail of unfinished projects and tasks. 

During some seasons, I deal with them well. My focus may wander but my routines, the rhythms of my  days, help me minimize them. In other seasons, the routines crumble and the rhythms change. It is these days and these times when it becomes difficult and even feels impossible to determine which things are important.

Some of the distractions are important and even necessary. These are opportunities for rest and refreshment. They are opportunities to connect with and to help people around me. The days offer experiences that add to the image well and become part of future creative projects from art to poetry and even essay or fiction. The days add character and build relationship.

It took years of frustration to embrace the change of opportunity and focus for each season. Even now I still struggle. I recognize quicker that the distractions are part of a season of rest and renewal. However, I can be a slow learner and, when I expect my routine will remain the same winter, spring, summer, and fall, I set myself up for frustration -- a frustration caused by stubbornness and pride. God gave us seasons as an example in nature. Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us there is a season to plant and a season to harvest. There is a season for everything, including rest. I can not plant a garden in January nor can I harvest in March. Why then should I be surprised that in January the images and ideas bubble up and bloom while in July the images and ideas are planted as I hike, garden and explore the abundance of creation alive around me? Just as my houseplants may bloom in January, some writing happens in July. The balance between the two is reflected in the season.

Summer is one of my seasons of distraction - necessary and renewing distraction. This year spring was also a season of distraction, but not the same time of refreshment. It was a time of frustration and excuse. It began with mandated rest and recovery that opened the way for mental spinning as I tried to catch up on everything at once and did nothing at all. Except, as I look back, it wasn't nothing. Mixed in amongst the time wasters were lessons for now and in the future. As I reflect, I notice once again how God uses every circumstance for His glory, even the ones that come from us giving in to the easy way instead of following His nudges and promptings. He redeems our mistakes, our failures, and our lost time. We miss out on the best He had originally planned for us since we gave that up, however temporarily, for our own way.

As I write this, I am sitting surrounded by plants and soft music. It is the perfect space to reflect. Or is it? Outside this terrace the sounds of the city continue. The glass walls that surround this oasis do not block out the horns, the rumbles of large vehicle, or the general hum of distraction. I did not expect to be here. I have a choice to use this as a gift God provided in an unexpected way or to embrace the distraction provided by the bustle of so many people living and working in close proximity. Even that distraction is one of God's gifts. Tomorrow, I will venture out and embrace the images, people, and opportunities God has orchestrated. My writing and my life are improved when I remember to look for God's hand at work. It is only then that I can discern which distractions are time wasters, and which are gifts from God that He is waiting for me to recognize. 

Lorilee Guenter is a Saskatoon based writer and artist who is learning to embrace those descriptors. She has learned that if you keep your eyes open you will find nuggets of inspiration everywhere. They are God's gift to fuel her creativity.

August 15, 2022

Distractions Abound by Carol Harrison


Distractions lurk around every twist in the journey or some days they seem to be part of the underbrush that threatens to block my path forward. Other times the trail seems cleared of obstructions and things to distract my attention. 

There are several times when fighting off distractions is the most difficult for me to do. One is when I am uncertain of the project I’m working on. The other is when I’m trying to discern what the next project is supposed to be from my list of ideas.

Dealing with uncertainty in my life makes me very vulnerable to distractions even though not all distractions are bad in themselves. Some allow me to take a break which helps me regroup, recharge, and refresh my thoughts allowing me to notice those God nudges. These include getting lost in the pages of a good book or crafting, Paper crafting like making cards, junk journals or scrapbooking, is a great way of expressing creativity in another form and good for my mental health.

Reading is an activity that all writers should engage in and most find very enjoyable. It
can be a key to improving our writing skills, do market research, and provide enjoyment as well. At times I’ve read something that sparks an idea of my own which can be developed later into a story or book. When that happens, I take a moment to jot it down so I can revisit it later.

Other distractions are just that – something that pulls me away from what I should be doing. These take too much time – often wasted time which leave me feeling guilty about not following through on what I should be doing – writing. How do I combat falling into these distractions?

Deadlines help me focus my time and energy. I hate missing a deadline so it becomes much easier for me to push the distractions, even good ones, aside until I finish the project and hand it in. So I often set self-imposed deadlines to help me accomplish what I think needs to be done.

Lists also help me focus. At the beginning of each month I type up a list of what I know needs to be done that month. Then I add other things I would like to finish. The lists grow in length because I add many small steps to them. When I check them off, I feel like I am moving forward. Occasionally distractions get in the way and I let them push aside things on the list. At other times, events happen that I didn’t expect and the list needs to be reprioritized accordingly. No matter how many plans I make to help me avoid distractions, I’ve come to realize they need to be held loosely for God is the one to ultimately be the one to open doors and guide me to work on what He deems the most important at the moment. I want to be willing and able to obey.

After I make the lists and add in the deadlines, I send the list to my daughter to help keep me accountable. This seems to help as well. Accountability partners are a great resource in fighting distractions if you allow them to be. That can be easier said than done at times.

These ideas seem to work well for me. However, there are still many times I allow the distractions to win, especially those good ones like reading and paper crafting. I need to remember to enjoy each day, take breaks, and spend time in God’s Word so I am hearing His voice and not the distracting negative monkey voices. 


Carol Harrison writes, crafts, and finds other distractions from her home in Saskatoon. She

is trying to focus on editing book 4 in the Prairie Hope series and write book 5 as soon as she carves out a chunk of time.