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“Discipline banishes distraction.” When I saw these three words scrawled in my handwriting on an old blue index card I felt they were a gift from the universe. If there’s anything I’ve been over the past few weeks, it’s distracted – flummoxed and unable to focus. I’ve been many other things as well: sad, horrified, upset, and anxious. But when it comes to writing, distraction has been my biggest obstacle. I’m betting it’s been the same for you. Lord knows, there’s been an avalanche of distraction to overwhelm us all:
Watching the TV news, trying to figure out how to stay safe and what’s happening.
Reading emails from various organizations struggling to cope with disruption.
Reading long emails from friends and family who are as distracted as I am.
Figuring out things I can do that might be productive – and then not doing them.
Watching old movies to take my mind off things.
“Discipline banishes distraction.” Can discipline be the antidote to all this chaos?
“Systematic training under direction and control” – that’s a quick definition of “discipline” from my trusty Century Dictionary. Let’s unpack this a bit.
With chaos swirling all around us, can “systematic training” somehow help us?
Can relying on tried-and-true ways of working help us now?
Can we fall back on simple rituals and focusing techniques to anchor us?
Can we come up with a writing regimen that works, just for today?
Can we set simple goals for ourselves and then meet them?
Can we will ourselves to give up the distracting distractions that are sucking away our time and intention – and then take action to make it happen?
If you have any techniques you’ve used to help you get back on track and on a firm writing path again, I’d love to share them.
Can we find our way from distraction to discipline? Yes, we can! But will we do it? Or will we let all the distraction wash over us yet again? We can do this! We can get back on track. Write on!