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Tips and tactics used while writing

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By Kyla James June 12, 2023 - 9:18am Comments (1)

Cory Doctorow's "Writing in the age of distraction" article has me reflecting on my own writing tips and which strategies that I use and which of his tips I could incorporate into my writing practice. 

One of the strategies that I use in today's techonologies is silencing all notifications on my phone applications. I do this daily, as continous sound beeps or even the notorious red dot indicators interrupt my focus and could potentially be very disruptive in my nursing career. Fortunately, I'm limited in my social media use, therefore receive very few notifications in this manner, and those that I do receive are silenced and invisible unless I'm already using or voluntarily choose to open the app.   

Another writing or studying tip is to use noise cancelling headphones and listen to instrumental music.  Purchasing these headphones has been one of the best investments that I have ever made.  They are not just for use on airplanes or at the gym, they are perfect if sharing living space or office space and attempting to block out unwanted noise.  I also diliberately listen to music that are devoid of lyrcs, as familiar lyrics or words pose as another distraction.  I once read that multitasking from the same area of the brain is nearly impossible, such as attempting to perform too skills from speech and language for instance.  It's hard to write while listening to someone else talk or text and speak simutaneously, where as performing tasks that are from different regions of the brain are possible.  An example of this would be listening to an audiobook or music while driving. 

Opposite to Doctorows' recommendation to writing in short spurts, I do enjoy writing in larger blocks of time.  I often struggle with starting and much prefer to have a quiet and isolated space where I can focus.  I'm not as skilled at focusing with environmental distractions or being able to tap in and write for 20 minutes at time.  I have witnessed this performed by other students and I do think it is a more efficient use of time.  I will try to incorporate and develop this strategy, as I can appreciate how this would be very a helpful one to use. 

Doctorow, Cory. “Writing in the Age of Distraction.” Locus Online, 7 Jan. 2009, Accessed 11 June 2023.


  • Hi Kyla, 

    Thank you so much for yet another well-written and insightful blog post!

    I'm like you in that I find it difficult to get started and focused on a piece of work and, as a result, I like to carve out longer periods of work time. In saying that, I have also experimented with working in shorter time increments such as 20 minutes and find that my brain is sharper and that I'm generally more alert when working in this way. The trick for me is knowing which kind of work best belongs to the shorter work periods. 

    Cheers - Emily 

    Emily Cargan July 19, 2023 - 1:01am

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