Monday, August 20, 2012

Adventures in willpower

Part of being a successful writer requires developing the discipline of sitting down to write, or putting "butt in chair" as some like to call it. With the internet at my fingertips, it's easy to become distracted. It starts out innocently enough -- I need to look up a word, a concept, a technology, select a name for a character -- and the next thing I know, I'm back on Facebook or reading an article about someone rescuing a puppy trapped in a sewer. This happens more times than I'd like to admit. When I looked at my calendar and realized that August is mostly over, I also realized the YEAR is mostly over. I'm only half as far into my current novel as I'd planned to be. I should've had the first draft completely done by now. I condemned myself for not being motivated to finish.

It occurred to me then that my lack of discipline has nothing to do with my motivation. I'm enjoying the story and the process of writing it. I want to finish. I want to start revising -- my favorite part of the process. I want to start a new book. My lack of discipline seems to be largely focused in this one area. How am I going to rein myself in when I have only myself to answer to? Ironically, the answer came in a tweet.

Someone tweeted about a book on willpower. I went to Amazon and looked it up, read some reviews of it, and ended up buying a Kindle book called The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It.  Unfortunately, it's $13 and NOT available to borrow from the KOLL, but it has great reviews, along with a long political discussion in the comments on the only 2-star review, which, of course, sucked me in because I HAVE NO WILLPOWER!


So I've read the first chapter, which discusses the three aspects of willpower the author calls "I won't, I will, and I want." Each chapter gives a technique for strengthening willpower. In the first chapter, he recommends starting with a 5-minute daily meditation to train the brain. Let's see how it goes. Wish me luck!


Mel Chesley said...

Let me know how that goes. I could use some writing willpower these days! Like you, I'm getting sucked into the silly things on the internet that distract me for hours. :(

K.C. May said...

Will do! Who would've thought having so much information at one's fingertips could be a bad thing? :D