Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Don’t Let Distractions Bite Back



I’m taking a bite of my sixth question from my 8 Questions Every Writer Must Ask Themselves post, and chomping down on: Am I disciplined and if self-discipline is a challenge for me, what do I plan to do to improve in that area?


We are all distracted. It’s an ADHD nation. Check out the following list yammering at me throughout the day (especially during key writing times)…


call bank about statement, email, twitter, Facebook, Blogger (love you guys), order gift for Mo day, sign papers for daughter’s school, make note of soccer schedule change, switch out winter and summer clothes, buy Band-aids, change sheets, throw away old games, buy new summer shoes for girls, clean under kitchen cabinet, plan menu, do something about toenails, build platform, build platform, build platform, find better allergy medicine for daughter, read, pick weeds, make homemade bread dough, laundry…ugh, put recycles out, buy new printer cartridge, take back the pants that don’t fit, run, hunt for new dresser to refurbish, get rid of jiggle on the backside, help daughter with Sacagawea biography project, help other daughter with fairy tale 3-D diorama, clean toilets…yuck, call friends to set up time to hang out, organize for mom’s group, remind myself of girls on daughter’s soccer team I coach, send that thank you, pray hard about vision for writing, pray for kids before school, wipe gunk off windows, get groceries, put wire around peonies so they’ll grow right, call mom, call niece for birthday, apply flea medicine to dog, check for ticks on kids after they play outside, clean dishes, touch up paint on the walls where daughter made pen marks...


There you have it…dozens of things that compete for my attention at any given moment. Bet you have a list with cankles, too!


If self-discipline doesn’t come naturally to you, know that it will take time to develop. You won’t learn the art of the BIC soldier response overnight.


Here are some questions you can poke yourself with to help ascertain how willing you are to become more self-disciplined…


How much am I willing to invest (money, time, and/or sacrificing leisure activities?) in honing discipline skills?
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Does my schedule reflect what I want to assign as top priority in my life?
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Do I have an ADHD approach to writing? Look, a bird. New email. Shoot, my nail chipped, better file it. TweetDeck here I come.
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Does passion alone fuel me to write or do I have an underlying commitment to my project whether I feel the passion or not?
~

What practical steps will I take to become more self-discipline? (Ideas: Make a list of goals each week and stick by them. Shut off social networks for an allotted time. Talk to family members about specific needs and expectations. Research things effective and efficient people do that works. Reward yourself when you meet goals. Have a friend hold you accountable. Pray before you even begin writing. Turn off the TV. Buy inexpensive motivators, i.e. pens and journals. Challenge yourself to write five minutes longer every day for three weeks. Write down accomplishments and read these to help motivate you. Read. Read. Read. Write. Write. Write.)


What are your thoughts on self-discipline?



*photo by flickr
**Jody Hedlund also recently ate this topic and regurgitated
this wonderful advice

20 comments:

  1. Hmm... self discipline is tough for sure. For me the problem becomes that I get tyrannical about rules for writing time and then don't want to do anything. It's like a personal rebellion against myself. Stupid hey. And then lately I can't write at all.

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  2. A list with cankles? LOL! (But I do.)

    I think discipline has to be forced before it is learned. This is the hardest part.

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  3. To achieve anything in life is down to sacrifice and self-discipline, I agree. Great post!

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  4. Oh, my list is so similar to yours, and I'm so easily distracted. I will go straight to Twitter when I have 10-15 minutes instead of spending those minutes on my manuscript. I always use the excuse that it's ONLY 10-15 minutes and not enough time to do much on my MS. I could stand to work on some self-discipline. Right after I check Twitter one more time.

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  5. regurgitated....how I love the word.

    Say it five times. Seriously. It's a fun word to say.

    As you can see, I'm a very focused person.

    Alrighty then.

    In all seriousness. I value self-discipline. I think my sport-playing days taught me a lot in this arena.

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  6. I can relate to the distractions especially now when I'm in edit mode and waiting on crit partners. Do I start a new book? If I do, how do I emerge myself in the creative process with edits from my novella hanging over my head? So, instead of writing (about 5 months now) I take care of other things. Family, neglected projects, ME...Not sure this is the best approach. After my novella is sent off and school is out, I'll be looking at being more disciplined to writing this summer!

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  7. Self-discipline? Ugh. Don't get me started.

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  8. Love your to-do list Wendy. It sounds a lot like mine, even the homemade bread dough! :)

    Self-discipline is definitely something that I need to work on. Way too many "important things" to do for the few "top priorities" slots.

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  9. Self-discipline is a great trait, one I'm working on using some of the suggestions you listed.

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  10. Just do it! I'm very hard core about achieving my goals. As long as the Lord is in it. =)

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  11. LOL! Love the post, Wendy. I'm pretty good with self-discipline...when I actually decide to discipline myself. :)

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  12. oh boy ... we must be thinking somewhat similarly today!! :) Self-discipline - I'm usually okay with it, I just get freaked it comes at the expensive of something else equally or more important.

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  13. I think self-discipline is a wonderful, undervalued thing. :-) I truly hate your list though (since it looks so much like my own!)

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  14. Self-discipline...I wish I had more of it. But I tend to get tunnel vision too. I'm just blessed that my family picks up a lot of slack around here.

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  15. How did you get a peek inside my head? Seriously. :)

    I'm working on establishing a schedule that helps me stay focused on one thing at a time. It's not perfect, but it's helping.

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  16. I agree with Tana. Just do it (but easier said than done)!

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  17. I love the term "ADHD approach to writing." It describes me as of late. It's just hubby and me here but he wants me to go places with him. I love to play FreeCell, Solitaire, and Spider Solitaire. Of course there is the TV.

    I have been trying to develop some time management skills. Maybe, what I need is some discipline skils. Hmmm!

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  18. Right now, it's my nemesis. I'm struggling for sure!

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  19. Do you have a camera installed in my house?

    With the new job, I'm learning to take advantage of every minute. This new "rock" in my time jar is welcome but has caused a crisis on what to eliminate. Hmm, sounds a lot like editing a manuscript.

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  20. Once discipline has become habit, I think it becomes part of who we are and requires much less effort—but ALWAYS some effort. When a distraction interrupts the habit, a positive change can be undone. Bad habits always lurk in the wings, ready to usurp the good ones.

    (PS ~ I don't always comment, but I rarely skip over your posts. They're one of my good habits. :D)

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