There are five minutes during my day that are excruciatingly painful. It's not getting up in the morning. Or beginning my workout. It's not getting the kids off to school. Or doing homework with them once they return. It's not cooking dinner or listening to the kids whine about how much they hate it. It's sitting quietly at my desk staring at a blank cursor for five whole, long, agonizing minutes without any distractions.
But this is my preparation ritual when I'm writing my novel. There are two kinds of writers: structured writers, who intricately plan outlining chapters with careful consideration given to character development and plot lines and then there are unstructured writers, who don't intricately plan anything. I'm the latter. In fact, the only time I think about writing my book is while I'm actually writing it. The rest of the time I'm thinking about how to market my first book. Before deciding, yet again, not to follow through on them.
Truth is, I can't even force myself to endure the agony everyday.
Because sitting quietly with only your own thoughts to keep you company is challenging and confrontational. Which is why we check our phones constantly and head to the fridge when we're not even hungry. Because even if we can silence our surroundings, it's far more arduous to mute our own minds.
So, we distract ourselves.
Making excuses while spreading ourselves too thin, doing too much of nothing much and accomplishing little, if anything. Quelling our creativity, our productivity and sometimes even our purpose in the process. I know, because I'm as guilty as anyone else of doing it. And the part that sucks? There's no pill that can fix your focus. Only willpower.
And that's one bitter pill to swallow.
Take the challenge: Turn off the TV, your phone and computer and sit undisturbed for just 5 whole, long, agonizing minutes without any distractions. (If you just can't sit, try a walking meditation sans iPod.) Do you feel more creative, connected or calmer when it's over? What do you have to lose? Besides 5 minutes. And you can do anything for 5 minutes.