Writing Essentials, No Distractions–III

sleepyWe’ve all been there. Ready (we think) to write, when we notice we’re (pick one) hungry, cold, itchy, achy, sleepy, hot or thirsty. Yet, there have also been times when I’ve been in “the zone” and any minor physical distractions have faded away. A couple of hours later, I’ll come out of my trance to realize I haven’t eaten in hours or that my back is aching and I need to stretch. In addition to physical irritants, there are the environmental ones. The garbage trucks roaring and rumbling down the street. Poor lighting. The message light blinking on the answering machine. Yet again, there are times when I have been in the throes of what I know is good work and I’ve become oblivious to a loud party in the next room. It’s all too easy to let annoyances become excuses for putting off our work. But they don’t necessarily have to be. A gripping idea, a looming deadline or a short window of opportunity to write can help us push through or ignore temporary discomforts. Barring those incentives, just start. Those distractions will always, always beset us. Fix them if you can, without, say, insisting that only a five course meal will do. Put on a sweater or open a window. Then just start. Procrastination, for any reason, all too easily becomes a habit, a pattern of behavior. At some point, despite whatever delays or annoyances we have, we just have to start.

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About Lida Bushloper

writer and poet
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