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?
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.
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?