Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Dealing with distraction by Claire Musters

Cheesecake - fuel or distraction?
We have had many a humorous moment discussing cheesecake, and our desperate need of it (or chocolate), over on the ACW Facebook page haven’t we? But, to be serious for a moment, I have found I have been severely distracted over the last few months, finding it difficult to settle down to work each day.

Not used to being distracted much, I have been questioning why it is happening. I believe part of it is due to a sense of dissatisfaction. I’m experiencing it in my walk with God, too, and I can sense Him beckoning me to go deeper and explore new things so I’m no longer satisfied by the status quo. Perhaps it is the same with my writing – although I think part of the distraction is down to the fact I am working on something so close to my heart.

A quick search online shows a wealth of articles from ‘writing experts’ telling us how to beat all writing distractions. But, I wonder, whether distraction is always an enemy – or whether it can open us up to new possibilities.

I totally understand that writing takes discipline, grit, determination, focus and routine. As a task-orientated person, I’ve always had a checklist of what writing needs to be done each day, and have enjoyed being able to tick each item off once done.

However, I was interested by this quote from Stephen King in On Writing: “In truth, I’ve found that any day’s routine interruptions and distractions don’t much hurt a work in progress and may actually help it in some ways.”

Do distractions ever lead you to new and interesting ideas that you would have never otherwise have thought of for your writing? Or perhaps a distraction has given you an unexpected break, which you found you had really needed as you then went back to your writing with fresh vigour?

God has been talking to me recently about loosening my grip on my working day. I am very disciplined about keeping it to the hours my kids are at school, but that does mean I tend to be rigidly chained to my desk during the school day. But God has asked me to leave my schedule slightly more open, so that I can meet a friend in need when necessary, or grab another unplanned positive opportunity that may come up.

I have begun to do this, and have found that it has opened up all sorts of experiences that have challenged and stretched me as a person. It has also provided a wealth of writing ideas I’m sure I wouldn’t have thought of while sat at my desk staring at the screen.

I’m currently still working on the art of distraction, battling through the tension of its good and bad elements. I would love to hear your own stories of when becoming distracted has provided you with an unexpected lift or driven you, literally, to distraction!

Claire is a freelance writer, speaker and editor, mum to two gorgeous young children, pastor’s wife, worship leader and school governor. Claire’s desire is to help others draw closer to God through her writing, which focuses on authenticity, marriage, parenting, worship, discipleship, issues facing women today etc. Her books include Taking your Spiritual Pulse, CWR’s Insight Into Managing Conflict and Insight Into Self-acceptance, Cover to Cover: David A man after God’s own heart and BRF Foundations21 study guides on Prayer and Jesus. She also writes a regular column for Christian Today as well as Bible study notes, and her next co-written book, Insight Into Burnout, is due out in February 2017. She is currently working on her next book, Taking off the mask: learning to live authentically. To find out more about her, please visit and @CMusters on Twitter.


  1. Distraction is all around us, isn't it? We don't even have to go looking for it. And yielding to it can often make us feel disorganised or undisciplined in breaking our routine. Yet in those unguarded, unforeseen moments, such as when we answer the phone, need to be available to help another or just be a listening ear, we can find that being interruptible is actually good for our faith walk and may take our thoughts to a new place creatively too. A break from routine, however it happens, could be just the trigger we need to refresh and steer us in a new direction. Thank you for this interesting, thought-provoking post, Claire!

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  2. Very well said. Distraction can be a creative killer and yet it can fuel our brain for greater strings and help to stir our creativity. God also wants us to be available for others.