How to channel discipline when distraction calls

When you need to write something and you can’t get started what do you do? Do you just sit there and look at a blank screen? Or do you start writing whatever rubbish comes into your head? I know if can be difficult to make the words flow when it feels like there’s a word drought. Is it motivation that’s required? I don’t think so. 

You need discipline instead. Motivation is overrated. Discipline is really the key.

The discipline involves just showing up at the keyboard or in front of a note pad. Being there even when you are being called to some other pursuit like surfing the internet, checking social media or even doing those chores you don’t even like to do. Why is it that these other activities become so compelling when really you should just get on with the task you have to do? Seriously, just get on with the job at hand. Forget that pull in the wrong direction. It hasn’t got your best interest at heart.

You’re easily distracted, I can tell. You look for anything to sabotage your writing effort because the immediate payoff is better than the pain of having to write something, anything, in that moment. Ignore the call from distraction. He’s not your friend. He’s the one that loiters around the corner, p’sting you to come hither and then when you do he has nothing of value to offer you. Be warned, he’ll always let you down. Stay away, stay true to what you set out to do and you’ll be much better off. For goodness sake, develop some discipline will you! If you don’t, you’ll have nothing to show for your time. You’ll be sorry with regrets and they won’t keep you warm and satisfied. They are bitter and cold. You don’t need them. Tell yourself you deserve better. Truly you do. Don’t you believe it?

Get back to your page. Glue yourself to your seat if you have to. It’s better to develop the discipline of sitting in one place for a certain amount of time than getting up every moment you feel the urge. Sit still. Practice sitting even when nothing comes to mind. Time yourself. How long can you sit while the ideas percolate? Make it your practice to lengthen the time you can stay in one spot without jumping up or jumping to check some other distraction. Use the Pomodoro technique if that works. For goodness sake, use whatever technique you know if it will work. Chain yourself to your desk. Lock the door. Turn off the internet. Don’t answer your phone. Extreme measures are called for when you’re trying to break a bad habit and establish a better one. I didn’t say it would be easy. I did say it would take discipline though. I did.

Don’t be hard on yourself but don’t be too soft either. And when you make some progress, reward yourself. Then make some more progress. Make it a daily habit. A bit of progress each day until you have established a new groove. See what you’re made of. See what you can do. You might surprise yourself. This time pleasantly. Stay with it. I can hear you say you like this thing called discipline. Good on you. You’re on your way.


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