I’ve been home alone for three days as my wife goes to help my daughter-in-law with our granddaughter. That’s given me the opportunity to get some me time and some distraction-free writing done.
In theory, at least.
I’ve surrounded myself with ambient music and vats of coffee to put myself in the right frame of mind.
Time to get down to it.
I’ve started working with a new writing coach (because we can all get better) so I have writing goals this week. I have space to think and a lot spinning around in my mind.
I’ve also started writing a book.
What could possibly go wrong?
It might not have been the best idea to do this in American election week – especially not this one – but that’s just a quirk of the calendar.
I’d love to say that I’ve been able to block out all distractions and concentrate eight hours a day on my art bolstered by my noise-cancelling headphones, but it wouldn’t be true.
I’ve written a good amount given my 30-words a minute typing speed and my refusal to use dictation software. Dictation interrupts my train of thought but then typing slowly and correcting errors as I go isn’t great either.
The world is full of interruptions that suck our attention away.
I know I should use distraction blocking software and put my phone on airplane mode, but I don’t.
There’s always a reason to be doing something when you work at home. Not just an extra 45 minutes of Netflix. The office will always need rearranging, the desk will always need cleaning or there will always be a hard drive that needs organising.
And outside the office, I’ve been distracted recently by workers in my garden. Watching it change shape has been great. Or I’ll use any excuse to go make coffee or snack on something.
At the beginning of The War of Art, Steven Pressfield wrote:
“What I know
There is a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: it’s not the writers part that is hard. What is hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance“.
And we know Stephen King wrote “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work”.
But that doesn’t help.
Writing is hard. Writing well is even harder.
But we beat ourselves up about how hard it is. We fill our lives and our discourse with “oh, I should do this” or “if only I could do that”.
But there’s only one solution.
Be kinder. Don’t judge yourself, you have total control over that.
One sentence at a time.
PS: If you’re confused about what to write and where, take a peak at my new What The Hell Do I Write On My Home Page.
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