Tag Archives: privacy


NaNoWriMo 2016 turned into my worst one yet. I managed to write 254 words, then I just couldn’t seem to get anything else done. let’s look at the reasons.


I had very little privacy. I can’t write upstairs, because the TV is on, and I’m never alone in the room. I couldn’t write in the kitchen, because it was a high traffic area. And whenever I was able to go down there, it was only for a short time while my daughter was at school.


I worked more than usual this month. I had less private time at home. And if I had time at night, I was usually too tired to concentrate on writing.

Getting in the Zone

Because of the first two issues, I was unable to get into the zone. I couldn’t concentrate like I wanted to.

So, this was not a very good NaNoWriMo. But really, I prefer to write without the pressure. And if I can get my own space and be able to go in there at any time to write, that’ll allow me to relax and write like I want to.

How was your NaNoWriMo? Did you succeed? Let me know in the comments.

Reading Strategy for July

After months of failure to read books, I need to make an effort to read every day in July. I need to finish some books!

When I lived in Japan, my reading time was also limited, but I made sure I read during my commute to and from work. I could easily sit down in the train and read for a few minutes. But I don’t get around by train now, and if I go by bus, the rides are usually too short to really concentrate on a book. If I go by car, I can’t read at all. So, I need to figure out how to read at home with so many people around.

I need to think of a strategy for reading. Here are my ideas:

  • Read in the bathroom. I can lock the door.
  • Read after everyone’s gone to bed. Best place for this is in the kitchen at the moment. Once the living room is finished and the den is tidied up, I can read in either room.
  • Read in my future office. Well, there is room on the floor to sit down at the moment… but not so comfortable. I need to wait for that to be fixed and cleaned up.
  • Go to the park. That’s fine for warm days, but I can’t do it on stormy days or winter. And I should stay away from ponds. Too many mosquitoes!
  • Read in the back yard. But there’s nothing to sit on.
  • Go to the library. Fifteen minutes of walking and I can read in the library. That’s right, bring my own book to the library.

I need to get some reading done! Any other suggestions? Let me know in the comments below.

Authors Answer 79 – Concentration Killers

In an ideal world, authors would be able to concentrate in any situation, any place. But it’s not ideal, and there are situations that completely kill our concentration. But everyone is different. Everyone has a different tolerance for noise, cold, heat, light, and so on.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 79 – What are the worst things that can break your concentration while writing?

Jean Davis

Having written through raising two children,  I can consider a lot of annoying sounds white noise, but video games, especially those with loud background noises and my husband playing guitar seem to be the worst offenders for things I have a hard time blocking out. Thank goodness for earplugs.

H. Anthe Davis

Just about anything can break my concentration when writing.  Noises like people talking in the hall, cars passing in the street, music…  I wear headphones the whole time I write, but I don’t listen to anything, because even at low volumes I get distracted by it.  I don’t need absolute silence, but I’m sure I couldn’t write at a coffee-shop, and I close all unrelated windows on my computer so that visual things can’t distract me either.  Heck, I write with the lights off so it feels more like I’m in a cave.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

By and large, the thing that breaks my concentration the worst is when people start talking to me. I can write (or do other work) through music, through background noise from a television show…hell, someone could be doing heavy construction right next door and it wouldn’t bother my concentration at all. But when someone (*cough*daughterandhusband*cough*) starts talking to me, my entire train of thought goes right out the window. They don’t mean to send my mind tumbling off into nothingness, of course, but it’s definitely the one thing that destroys my concentration the most often.

The only other main thing that I can think of is emotional distress. That sounds really dramatic, but I mean, like, if I have a really horrible day at work (say, my boss yells at me for something) I’ll find it impossible to write until I’ve cheered up. This doesn’t happen all that often because I’ve become much more accustomed to shrugging off the meaningless stuff that I can’t do anything about, but every now and then I’ll have a fight with someone or something bad will happen to someone I love, and it just completely destroys my ability to concentrate on writing.

S. R. Carrillo

I’m easily distracted by music. I listen to songs with lyrics by musicians I love when I am writing. But one always makes me think of the other. They’re better when paired together.

Paul B. Spence

Things that add stress. The creative spark often needs relaxation to ignite. Needing to eat is an annoyance also. What? I just ate yesterday!

D. T. Nova

Headaches and allergies are worse than nearly any external distraction.

Anyone having an actual conversation within earshot can is more likely to break my conversation than most other sounds. I also have trouble ignoring any sound I can’t identify.

Allen Tiffany

My wife reminding me that I have other family projects that are overdue.

Eric Wood

The worst things to break my concentration while writing are my kids and a baseball game. Sometimes I sit down to write in the morning, but the kids have different plans for me. “Watch this, dad.” “Dad, watch me.” “Dad, come here.” “Dad, I need your help.” So what would be 45 minutes of writing turns into an hour and a half or more. Though I do love writing, I suppose I love my kids more.

Elizabeth Rhodes

The internet tends to be my worst distraction. I’ll write a few sentences and then check social media and message boards. Small wonder I make little progress unless I write on paper, because I’ll fall for the internet trap every time.

Gregory S. Close

I’m easily distracted, so it doesn’t take much to distract me from  – HEY, The Flash is on!

Jay Dee Archer

My personality type (INTJ) is generally the kind that needs quiet to concentrate. When I’m concentrating on something, I don’t like interruptions. That means anyone talking to me, TV, phone calls, and so on. The internet is also bad for my concentration. While I’m good at multitasking, and I can easily blog while the TV is on or people are talking to me, I don’t need to get into the zone for that. But when I’m writing fiction, everything needs to be shut out of my mind or I can’t get any kind of good writing done. So, I can’t write whenever I can hear individual conversations. However, I have managed to write while in McDonald’s. If there’s a buzz of conversation around me, and I don’t hear individual conversations, I have no problem.

How about you?

What kills your concentration? Let us know in the commments below.

A Nightmare for an Introverted Atheist

I was just talking to my wife about how annoying it can be to have small talk with a stranger for an extended period of time. It reminded me of a time when I just wanted to be left alone with a magazine.

I was reading Astronomy magazine in the Chapters store in Victoria’s Eaton Centre, minding my own business, when a woman approached me. She was around fifty years old, dressed like she had money, and a friendly face. I don’t recall what day of the week it was, but most likely Saturday or Sunday. I looked up and noticed she was looking at me and the magazine.

“The universe is so beautiful,” she said, looking at the galaxy photo on the page I was looking at. I nodded. But she continued, “Everything is so beautiful, just as God had intended it to be.”

I started feeling uncomfortable. As an introvert, I just wanted to be left alone with the magazine. I was trying to relax. As an atheist, I just wanted to be immersed in the all natural science I was looking at. I did not want a theological discussion.

She continued talking to me, but changed the subject. “Do you know Jason? Are you his brother?” she asked me.

“I don’t know anyone named Jason,” I said.

“Jason Smith, you must know him. You look just like him,” she said.

“Sorry, I haven’t met anyone with that name.”

“Well, he’s a wonderful young man. He goes to my church,” she said, smiling.

“I see,” I said, and went back to the magazine.

“Which church do you go to?” she asked me.

I looked at my watch and said as politely as I could, “I’m sorry, but I have to go now. I’m meeting my friend.” I quickly put the magazine back and walked out of the store.

At that age, I did not do well with conversations like that. I was still somewhat shy, didn’t like interaction with people in public, and as I was a very private person, I never talked about things like that. I just wanted to get away from her. Looking back now, I think she was just trying to be friendly, but completely ignorant to the fact that she was being rude. If someone is reading a book or magazine, do not interrupt them! Secondly, it was very presumptuous of her to think I was a Christian.

Today, I’d be able to handle that in a much better way. I would have said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t go to church. I’m not a Christian.” I may have added, just to politely get out of the conversation, “I’m looking up something for my studies in university right now. I’m studying astronomy. So, if you don’t mind, I need to get back to my research.”

I would be polite, but direct about it. Honestly, I’m curious how she would’ve reacted. I’ll never know, though.

Have you had an encounter with someone you just wanted to get out of? Share your story in the comments below.

Time Management

Writing takes a lot of time.  Every author probably spends a good portion of their day writing.  Many have a schedule they stick to and get a lot of writing done.

On the other hand, if you’re like me, you have a kid, lack of privacy, and limited time alone.  That makes time management very important.  I don’t really have much time to write, since I have little privacy when everyone is home, and I don’t have much time at home alone.  During those precious few hours each week, I do what I can, but sometimes I can’t avoid using the time for something else.

So, what do you do to manage your writing time, if you’re a writer?  I’d love to know how you do it.

Prime Reading Location

I try to read as much as I can in what little free time I have.  I don’t consider blogging my free time.  I don’t consider vlogging free time, either.  It’s work.  Unpaid work, but still work.  However, reading is a hobby of mine.  I like to get myself lost in a book, transported to another place and time.  I also want to find the perfect place to read.

These days, I tend to do most of my reading on the train to and from work, as well as during my break at work when there aren’t many distractions.  If a coworker has a break at the same time, I can’t read.  I’d love to read at home, but I find that my daughter would prefer to have my attention.

I want a comfortable place to sit and read.  Outside is wonderful, as long as there aren’t many insects and it isn’t too hot.  In my home would be fine if I had a private place to go to read in silence.  A cafe can be a bit noisy and I feel guilty if I’m taking up space after finishing my drink.  What I would like to have is my own room.  I kind of office/library with a sofa.  That would be wonderful.

What’s your ideal reading space?