Learning to conquer distraction and keeping her goals top of mind helps this author write multi-genre fiction
Here at Freedom, we frequently find ourselves inspired by the people who use our product. From Academy Award-nominated screenwriters, bestselling authors, editors, and journalists, to developers, illustrators, designers, academics, and entrepreneurs – the Freedom community is packed with curious, creative, and passionate go-getters.
We love to share your stories because we believe the best way to solve the problems we face at work in today’s world is to learn from those who are living those experiences daily– and figuring out how to thrive while they do it!
Meet Lydia Hawke
Lydia M. Hawke is a Canadian writer of supernatural thrillers and paranormal women’s fiction. She also writes romances (contemporary and suspense) as Linda Poitevin. When she’s not plotting the world’s downfall or next great love story, she’s a wife, mom, grandma, friend, coffee snob, walker of a Giant Dog, keeper of many pets, and an avid gardener and food preserver (you know, just in case that whole Zombie Apocalypse thing really happens).
We recently caught up with Lydia to find out how she uses Freedom to manage her distractions so that she can focus on her writing, and preserve time in her life for the things that matter most.
What are your biggest distractors while writing and how do you conquer them?
Family, cats, dog, social media…take your pick, lol. Even though my kids are grown and gone (except for my youngest daughter and her husband, who share our house), they still text during the day with questions and stories, and my cats (we have three) and dog have zero respect for my work boundaries. The social media thing is totally on me, of course, even though it is a part of being a published author these days. Actually, when I think about it, it’s all on me because I’ve never been particularly good at setting any boundaries…
To conquer the issues, I’m (slowly) learning to do things like turn off my phone notifications when I’m working and wear noise-canceling headphones to help shut out the real world while I’m immersed in my created one. I’ve recently added Freedom to my arsenal of tricks, and while it’s been hard to cut myself off from the distractions, I think my brain is beginning to rewire itself for longer periods of focus.
With Freedom blocking your digital distractions, what is the biggest change you’ve seen?
The ability to stay in work mode. Before, whenever I ran into a bit of a roadblock, I’d check my email or hop onto Facebook or Twitter for a while–sometimes a long while–and before I knew it, the day would be over. It hasn’t been easy, but having Freedom block all those squirrels is slowly rebuilding my ability to stay on task for longer periods. At this rate, I might actually meet my upcoming deadline. 😉
How do you motivate yourself to write when it’s tough?
I work well under deadline, so I put my books up for pre-order before I even write them. Having that date looming over me (along with other dates such as turning the book over to my beta reader and copy editor) is very motivating.
What advice would you give younger writers in regard to staying productive and focused?
Life is going to get in the way. It’s inevitable. Some people are able to set aside time every day for writing, and that’s wonderful, but not all of us have that capacity. You might be juggling part-time job(s), school, family, and a gazillion other responsibilities, and sometimes writing is just going to have to take a back seat. That’s okay. The most important part of staying productive and focused is to not lose sight of your goal and to keep working toward it, whether that’s an hour a day or an hour a month. The second most important thing is not to beat yourself up over it. There is no one way of writing. Find your way, adjust as necessary, and believe that yes, you can do this. Because you can.
What do you do outside of your work routine that helps you stay productive?
As the overall household manager, staying organized is super important for me, so I try to plan ahead as much as possible when I’m under deadline. Getting meals into the slow-cooker before I sit down to write means dinner is ready even if I get carried away with writing, for instance. Movement is also critical to staying productive for me. I build in lots of mini-breaks during my day: a toning workout mid-morning, a walk with the dog before lunch, some yard work in the afternoon…that kind of thing. As a bonus, I run scenes in my head while I’m doing those other things, and often solve a plot or character problem at the same time.
What projects are you currently working on that you are most excited about?
Ooh…I’m SUPER excited about my new Crone Wars series! It’s a coming-of-age magical story with a twist because my heroine comes into her powers at the age of 60 — and discovers that she’s destined to save the world. The first book, Becoming Crone, is available now in e-book and print, and the next, A Gathering of Crones, comes out in January. Readers love having an older, more experienced heroine they can identify with, and I’m having a blast writing her!