This week's lesson was about the removal of distractions. During another productive and invigorating session with my mentor, we discussed the problem with my procrastination. I came clean over what a stupendously crappy two weeks I'd just had and asked her advice on how to be more disciplined.
One of the things I like best about my mentor is she doesn't sugar coat things. She wasn't having any of my feeble excuses (although she did sympathize). Her advice was simple. She told me that this is what separates the real writers from those still dreaming of being 'a real writer'. They show up and they write, even when it's hard. It was time to step up. Was I made of strong enough stuff? Was I willing to do what it takes?
It wasn't hard to see that she was right. I have a pretty soft touch when it comes to self discipline. And procrastination is my way of life, a deeply set routine I have trouble shaking off. So, I decided it was time for a more drastic solution. It was time to get tough.
I have a hard time denying myself, especially when I'm tired from a long day at work. I get home, kick off my shoes and all I want to do is flop on the couch and watch TV, usually until bed time. I have an even harder time saying no to my husband, who also had a long day and wants to come home and watch TV as well. I can't work when the hubbie is watching TV. I can hear it pretty much anywhere in the house and it always manages to suck me in and drain me of any productivity whatsoever. The answer seemed clear. I needed to get away from the television. And not just out of the room, out of the house. I decided that on nights/days when my husband is home, I'll pack up my stuff and head for the library, that universal location of quiet and solitude. A coffee shop is too noisy and ripe with distractions, but a library is just right. And when my husband is going out for the evening, I've asked him to hide all the remotes (our TV doesn't work without them), making it impossible to turn on.
On Sunday, I gave my plan a try and hauled my stuff to the library. And it worked perfectly! In just an hour, I'd accomplished more than I had in the past two weeks combined, and not just a little more, A LOT more. I was ecstatic! And tonight, I have the house to myself, so I'm giving the hidden remote scheme a try.
Sometimes, you just need to know yourself and your limits. My mentor agreed with my plan (especially if it would produce results), but also encouraged me to get in the habit of writing so I wouldn't need these gimmicks. And I agreed with her. But for now, I'm grateful to have a way to trump my procrastination. Hopefully, with temptation firmly removed I can develop those habits so I don't need the gimmicks any more, but until then, I know what I need and it's a strong hand.