Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda

This blog is dedicated to the secret agents who make my life a better place – one butt kick at a time.
Have you ever stopped by the supermarket to buy a loaf of bread, and walked out with something a bit different--like a fifty-inch, wide screen, plasma TV instead?
You've just encountered the power of TEMPTATION.
Let's face it. We're weak at times and a new pair of Jimmy Choos are going to make us feel oh so much better. This momentary lapse of strength can easily filter into our everyday writing life as well.
It's a great day out and (for some of us located in the U.S.) spring is just around the corner. Man, look at those weeds popping up in your flower beds! The mud from last week's rain is still on the walk. Better get out there and clean it up—the writing can wait until later.
WHOA! Time to face down the temptations like the town marshal and win the battle. But how?
Recognize the weakness. Go on…fess up. What makes you weak? Is it the thought of pulling your hair out while working on that synopsis? Perhaps the need for perfection on your rough draft? Maybe you've got the freaken I don't wanna's.
What tempts me, doesn't tempt my critique partners. I could let the house go for the rest of my life without the slightest desire to vacuum again. But I know of someone that prefers her home in order before a single word is written. She and I are just wired differently.
Diversionary Tactics. It's been said that temptation is fueled by emotion, not reason. When the temptation to go off track whispers in your ear, you'll need to divert your attention back to where it belongs—your writing. Even if that means you do some ironing.
Yup, you heard me right. Scrubbing, sweeping, folding laundry—it's all mindless work. BUT we can do these things and deepen our character's POV, work on a plot, or create worlds while our dryer hums and iron sizzles.
Don't become BFFs with your hazard. Don't snuggle up with the very thing that blocks your path. If you're tempted to answer your email every time the inbox chimes, then don't spend hours with the program open on your desktop. Better yet – have a specified time allotted for email replies, set your timer, and stay within that boundary.
If scampering around Facebook is your weakness, then don't log on! The same goes for surfing the blogsites. Stuff those non-productive things away for later. Building your platform and remaining active for your audience is a necessary part of a writer's life. Schedule that block so it doesn't interfere with your writing time.
Time doing one thing is time away from another—and your goal.
Accountability partners. I can't stress enough the importance of a good crit group or circle of friends to keep you on track. You become accountable for your word count and encourage others as well. Make a pact with one or more people. Set a weekly word count goal and agree to strive for that number. Set parameters with your time to reach your goals.
Is that a want, or a need? Needs are the basic necessities of life. Wants are more like wishes. You need to get the laundry done and fill the fridge. You want to go blog hopping and break your old comment record. Don't allow others to set your agenda.
Kicking temptation aside is hard work and so rewarding. It takes tenacity, commitment and, for some, a reliable timer.
Let's talk about WHAT TEMPTS YOU?


Martha Ramirez said...

Great post! What tempts me? Probably checking my email:)

Anonymous said...

Anything and everything can tempt me.


Brenda said...

Awesome post.
Oh boy, I have sooo many things that tempt me away from my writing, and lot's of things that HAVE to be done that take me away from my writing.
Some days I've found the balance, others, not so much. Answering e-mails is one of my biggest temptations that pulls me from my writing, but to fair, when I'm in the zone, I'm in the zone and nothing can pull me out of it. The hard part is getting into the zone.

Sheri Fredricks said...

The email is a biggie for me too. I have to MAKE myself close the program down to give myself the tunnel vision I need to concentrate and get "in the zone", as Brenda puts it.

Lisa Kumar said...

Great post, Sheri! Like Daryl said, anything and everything can tempt me. That's not good. But being aware and mindful of this is a start. That block of time--I've got to start enforcing that.

Penelope said...

Great post!
What tempts me away from writing? Mostly things I don't have a choice about. And some I do.

J.Rose Allister said...

So true!! I find that the longer I've been a writer, the less disciplined I become. Granted, I can churn out a draft lickety split compared to the "olden" days, but I still find myself distracted constantly. Email, FB, blog posts (!), YouTube...pretty much anything that pops into my head will pull me off the current WiP I'm pounding away on. It can be darned inconventient, for sure.

I have discovered an interesting thing about this, however. Because I'm pumping out quite a bit work these days, I've found I actually need these frequent "breaks" or else I get burnt out on writing altogether. So while I do have to clamp down on how much and how often, I've learned to go with my brain's whispered temptations to stop and check out a YouTube video or something. It's a hint that my muse is on overtime and needs a break.

Sheri Fredricks said...

Lisa - I used to be the same and then wondered why I never got any writing done! Duh... Thanks for posting!

Penny - When life calls, all we can do is answer. Of course when the kids call me, I just yell out, "What?" LOL Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment.

Hello J. Rose Allister ~ Thanks for taking time to leave a comment. I KNEW there was a meaning to my internet surfing madness! I was refueling my muse!! When I break from writing with a 15 min. vacation into Youtube, I'll say Ahhh instead of Argh! Grins!