If you write in between the moments when you check your social media and rummage for that new mug online, your work will suffer. A piece of writing is like a small child, it needs constant attention and nurturing —often far into the dark hours of the night— in order for it to grow and mature into a successful masterpiece. Deprive your work of the focus it deserves (and it deserves it all) and you’ll more often than not end up with word vomit.

We have to remember that the ability to concentrate and focus on a task is what gave humans the evolutionary edge. We had to focus on the tasks at hand in order to survive, be it bringing down a mammoth with sharp sticks or crafting tools. If you fall prey to every whim, urge and impulse that passes through your mind, you’re not doing justice to the millions of years that it took our species to become what it is.

Consciousness and mindfulness (and less than a 1% difference in DNA) are what separates chimpanzees from humans. Have you read that last great genius piece of literary work published by that chimp author? No? Point made.

As Buddhists say, you have to be mindful of that monkey chatter that clogs up your mind if you want to have some semblance of control over it. It’s important to know that distractions come from this internal primal brute that constantly resists our attempts to rein him in. Let a constant state of awareness pervade your writing hours so that when the chimp awakens, you can channel its energies into your writing rather than letting it channel you.

The greatest of sins would be to squander our ability to mindfully focus on what we’re doing so that we can infuse it with our spirit and thus turn it into an act of love. That’s what art is.

So turn off the damn cell phone and resist the urge to browse the vacuum of the internet for cat pictures so you can focus on getting that damned manuscript finished!