I’ve been thinking a lot about what distracts me from writing. Hmmm…I guess thinking about what distracts me from writing is also distracting me from writing, but that’s not the point. The exercise showed me that 90% of the time, it is my own internal struggles that keep me from getting my big butt in the chair to write. I came up with 3 main categories of devious distractions.
Unexpected Necessities -10%
1st, the external 10%. These are things that arise that I hadn’t planned but that I have little control over. My 3 month-old decides to take a 15 minute nap instead of his normal 90 minute nap. My daughter misses the bus and I have to drive her to school. I forgot to pick up milk and bread so I have to schlep all the way to the store. I can’t do much to prevent or avoid these types of situations. But thankfully, these unexpected necessities do not interrupt me too often.
Guilt – 20%
I have the most supportive husband in the world. He is always trying to help me carve out time to read. “I’ll cook dinner tonight. You go write.” Or “I’ll get the baby to sleep. Go write.” But this is what my brain says: “He’s been working hard all day long…how could you make him make dinner?” Or “The baby screaming really has to be tough on him…just go and put the baby to sleep. He couldn’t possibly want to do this…he’s just trying to be nice.”
It’s hard for me to accept that it’s OK for me to just step aside and let John take the reigns. I don’t know why it’s so difficult—he really is awesome at doing it all. Logically, I know know I should rejoice in these moments, but it’s just so hard to accept the help. So what do I do to overcome this frustrating internal diversion? Well, for starters, I try to take him up on his offers. I also try to be as supportive and encouraging of his endeavors as his is of mine.
Feeling Blocked/Fear of Failure – 70%
Yeah, this is the big one. When I’m mind-numbingly scrolling through facebook instead of writing? It’s because I feel like I’m not good enough or not in the right head space to write. What about when I’m organizing all my files or making a pretty excel sheet of my writing plans? Well, actually I’m waiting for the muse, and it’s like watching a pot boil. Oh, but what about all the extensive research I do? Yeah, most of that is just to dodge writing.
It is boggling how much time I spend avoiding something that I desperately want to do. But if I never do it, then I will never fail. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.
Lately I’ve in attacking this problem in a number of ways. For one, I am trying to start submitting my finished work for publication. This past week I have sent out two poems. The feeling of accomplishment of having something submitted has motivated me to write more.
Another thing that I am doing is having multiple projects going at the same time. If one project is seeming a bit more daunting today, I just pick up anther stick in the fire and work on that. I have probably spent more time writing in 2017 than I have in the last 3 years combined. Its a good feeling.
While I have a ways to go before I find myself able to write for hours and hours on end, I feel like I am making progress. And that’s what it’s all about, right? What distracts you from doing what you want to do?