Sometimes I write these dots one at a time, and other times, when the planets align, I write them a week at a time. Almost all of my favorites have been done during the extended sessions, as I seem to become a better writer when I am “in the zone” and not rushing to finish.
Television writer/producer Shonda Rhimes experiences a similar phenomenon. In her book Year of Yes, Shonda writes about writing and the high she gets from doing it, and what keeps her from that.
Writing is the hum. Writing is laying track. Writing is the high. Now imagine that hum, that high, that track to be laid is behind a door. And that door is five miles away. Those five miles are just…writing crap and doodling and trying to have an idea and surfing the internet and hoping like hell not to get so distracted that you give up…Every time I sit down to write, I have to mentally run those five miles past all of that to get to that door. It’s a long, hard five-mile run…
So when I reach for the door and open it — that’s when my creativity clicks in and that special spot in my brain starts working and I go from exertion to exultation and suddenly I can write forever and ever and ever and eve—
And then someone opens the door and asks me if I want coffee or water and I AM FIVE MILES AWAY all over again.
I think that we all experience our own version of being five miles away. Behind your door may not be writing, but everyone has some activity that would benefit from uninterrupted attention and dedication.
Yet we all leave ourselves open to distractions — pings on the incoming email, social media alerts, open doors when we need to be truly concentrating, cubicles with no protection from drop-in visitors, phone calls, cute dogs at our feet and a host of other attention-diverting activities.
Think about what you allow in your environment that requires you to make that five mile run over and over again. Maybe you are tired from just getting to the door, rather than from the work you’re doing behind it.