Sunday, March 21, 2010

lead me not into

I normally have only a single cup of strong coffee in the morning - but today I feel like having two.

And yes, when I finish the second cup I’ll pay the price of being on the verge of vibrating-hyperactivity for the next few hours with my eyes darting back and forth in their sockets looking for things at the corner of my vision that aren’t really there . . .

. . . but, it’s fresh ground, and it’s so damn good, and today I just can’t resist. Well, if I really wanted to I could resist, but I obviously don’t really want to.

Which brings me to the point of my post today - giving into temptations.

We all have them . . . and we all break down on occasion and go for them when we know damn well that we shouldn’t. It’s like an addictive drug and once the pleasure centers of your brain are activated by it and you receive the cheap thrill of giving in, it’s damn hard to walk away from the experience and never do it again.

And of course, being a full-time writer now, this directly relates to my job - that of writing vs. reading, watching shows or playing computer games or (choose a distraction). Being your own boss is a double-edged blessing, both grand and dangerous.

I can, without hesitation, tell you that if I gave into my daily temptations, then I would get absolutely no writing done. There is always something else more pleasurable I feel I would rather do, a normal human mechanism I think for avoiding any hard work (and believe me writing is hard work). So, every day it’s a mental struggle to avoid temptations and buckle down to my job of fiction writing.

First off I write every single day that I can. I don't beat myself up though for missing a day here or there for important family obligations. But every day I can write, I do write. Even so, the temptations still sit there like gargoyles perched on my shoulders.

Well then, what to do about it?

I employ two strategies to make sure my writing stays on track. The first is thinking of the consequences of not writing. One of which is confronting my wife when she comes home from a hideous day at work and asks me how my writing went. If I’ve goofed off the entire day (it has happened), then I feel this horrible guilt and realize that I have wasted a great opportunity to hone my craft and head my family towards a better future - and that feeling sucks big time.

Call strategy one the feel-like-crap-demotivator. The end result of not writing is far worse than that of writing, and so my rational mind (for it is a rational mind, at least to me) compels me two spend the allotted time each day actually writing and not goofing off. And in reality, once I’m in the act of writing the time flies by, I find myself enjoying the process of creation and see the results of my labours taking shape in the written word. The result is happiness and a feeling of accomplishment that day for making the effort and not goofing off. Feeling good about my writing accomplishments of the day far outweigh the slight transitory pleasures I get from goofing off.

And that leads me into strategy number two - the long distance outlook. I like to keep the end vision of my efforts out there for me to fantasize about. It’s a giant carrot and it will be the ultimate prize for the long term pain leading to long term gain. When I hear about some authors getting 600,000 dollar advances on their next novels I think, ‘hey, if they can do it, why not me?’, and the carrot gleams like a priceless jewel.

I’m not there yet, but one day I will be. I’m convinced of it and the ultimate reward will be allowing us to live anywhere we wish and do pretty much anything we want - when I’m not writing like a possessed fiend that is.

I must admit though that I am currently enjoying my second cup of coffee, but I know the price I’m going to pay for it. But, I will be working on my writing today even though it’s the weekend.

Until next Sunday . . .

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