Arggghhhhh! Looking at my most recent (a relative term) post, I can’t deny it’s been three months since I last posted. My 2012 blogging New Year’s Resolution didn’t exactly take, did it?
Over the years, I’ve heard writers vent their frustrations with writer’s block. I’ve listened dutifully to their laments but inwardly lacked understanding; I’m blessed with an abundance of ideas, verses, characters, story lines, etc. — enough to keep my creative juices flowing for at least a couple life-times and little likelihood for suffering writer’s block.
Yet, from one side of my brain comes the inevitable question: with all that potential, why so little production? An opposing voice appends the question with this reproach: Aha! Are you blocked?
Normally, I’d queue my tattered list of excuses, but not today. Excuses are a stumbling block to the facts; that is, I’m learning to acknowledge my own distractibility. It’s a serious affliction — for me — that goes beyond what I’ve always understood as writer’s block.
So, to summarize this writer’s version of an AA confessional, I offer my own woeful tale: I’m an information junkie. My interests are wide, my distractions even wider. My responsibilities are often demanding, and my attention span could definitely use a tune-up. To complicate matters, I’ve reached the age where leisure and pleasure often take precedence over deadlines. And yes, whatever wounds I have sustained are mostly self-inflicted.
[DISCLAIMER: By using the AA motif, I mean no disrespect for anyone who suffers addiction-related afflictions.]
For the creative person, lack of production is an affliction. The good news is my avocation (information junkie) has stood me in good stead. Recently, I discovered an excellent blog written by Jeff Goins, whose boyish smile (in the blog masthead) only hints at the deeper insight about which he so capably writes.
The first post I read, titled “Your Clutter is Killing Your Creativity (And What To Do About It)”, pointed its gnarled, accusatory finger directly at me. Distractibility is a type of clutter — it thwarts my ability to focus on my present task. With pinpoint precision, Goins pierces the jugular: “You need to clear your life of distractions.”
As a young mother with four children under the age of eight, I set a goal to write (and complete) a dozen short stories for submission to a contest. Composing a worthy body of work over several months required focus and discipline. Fortunately, my husband supported this endeavor (notwithstanding a repetitive dinner menu of grilled cheese sandwiches or similar fare). Without his help, I’d never have reached my goal.
[Though I didn’t win that contest, there were other wins down the road.]
In a memorable scene from Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell explains to his sister: “… God made me for a purpose … He also made me fast and when I run, I feel His pleasure ….”
When I write, I comprehend what Liddell described. Why then would I allow distractions — clutter — to rob me of that purpose for which God made me?
Thanks, Mr. Goins, for reminding me.