Pretty sure I’ve posted a blog that says more or less this same thing at least 63 times, but it’s worth saying again. I get more work done, more good pages, more excellent rewriting done when I actually put myself in the chair during my most productive hours (8 am to 12 pm) and…uh…work.
It sounds so simple, but it isn’t, actually. I have to bypass the Internet, even a little glimpse into it. Not just for the reason that it distracts me, and I can find something to do, but because it changes the direction of my thoughts, pulls me into the world instead of pulling me into myself. I used to walk the dog right after breakfast, but I make him wait now until I take my morning break. I do not answer the phone. I don’t do anything but go to the office with my coffee in hand and sit down at my desk. I’m allowed to write a journal or lists of things I’d like to accomplish or even lists of scenes. I don’t even let myself do a meditation right there in the corner, which is all set up for it. Even that can be a way for me to avoid going into the world of my novel.
I can journal, etc, for 20 minutes, then I have to open the file and get moving. Usually what happens is that I can’t go into it cold–it feels too challenging, too scary for my still emergent creativity–so I find a spot I know I want to tweak, or one I know I’m going to like, and I read there. I change a word or two, rewrite a sentence here, a sentence there. I read aloud to get the cadence right, maybe, or play with subtext or echoes. This always works to pull me back into the world of the book at hand, and out of my own head and life and agitations.
And surprise! By 11 or sometimes even by 9:30, I’ve done my pages for the day and I am free to do other things. Like today, when I am headed out to Barnes and Noble for a coffee and a nice amble. Maybe I’ll look at journals for my upcoming travels.
How do you trick yourself to do things?