Let Your Mind Go By Skye Callahan

Since I stepped in as a sponsor for this round, I’ve been tasked with writing an inspirational post to get you through this stretch, so I thought I’d talk a little about distractions and inspiration. A while back I had a long discussion with a few of my author friends on the differences between distraction and inspiration. As writers, we’re often told to make time for writing and to avoid distractions—cut the cord to that TV, forget video games, or hanging out at the bar with your friends, you have a book to write, and the only way it’ll get done is if you sit down and write it.

But is that the best way to finish a project?

With so many things in life taking up our time—jobs, family obligations, etc—sometimes it seems hard to justify taking that extra time out of the day for a purely fun distraction. But, ideas aren’t developed by locking ourselves in an office, sitting at our computers looking at a blinking cursor. We develop ideas by getting out of our own heads, getting away from the computer, and living our lives.

Is watching an old Hitchcock movie a distraction from what you’re supposed to be writing, or does it have inspirational merit? For me Hitchcock movies and his TV series have a great way of making me think about things differently. What if, after getting lost in that half hour of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, I suddenly have a new insight into my own character’s motivation? Then, the distraction was well worth the time.

There’s a connection between distraction and inspiration.

The best writing tool you have is your brain, and it has its own stubborn and cockamamie way of doing things. Often when we’re completely engaged in other things, our brains are working the hardest on creative ideas.

It’s important choose times to write during which you set aside as many of the little distractions as possible—yes, teasers need made, emails need answered, and the world of social media isn’t going to pause for a second, but just as we have to decide which projects are worth our energy, we have to decide which distractions will be most beneficial to our goals.

My advice to stay inspired is to not think so critically about the “distractions” in your life. We all need a moment to unwind and enjoy what we have in the moment.


Skye Callahan



  1. I think of it as “filling the well.” Our creativity comes from connection–to others, to nature, to the world around us, to that quiet voice inside of us. If the well is dry, how are we supposed to write?

    Like anything else, the writing life benefits from a sense of balance. Good post, Skye! 🙂

  2. I’m a homeschooling mother of two active and inquisitive children. If I needed to shut myself off for big chunks a day to write, our connection and their learning would be affected.

    Instead, during the kids’ waking hours (which tend to shift, depending on the moon, growth spurts, and many other factors), I work on things that I can do in bursts, and set aside if someone needs a hug, a story, a tickle, a conversation…and to do the laundry, dishes, tidying up, and, you know, living.

    As for television and games- I don’t have a problem writing while watching. I find that playing games with very clear patterns, especially mathematical patterns, really helps to set my creative mind free to play.

    Later at night, when the house settles, I can work on more focus-intensive projects, and the living I did, over the past hours, always feeds those efforts.

    This is a lovely and important post! I’m so glad you jumped in as a sponsor!

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