One of the most important elements for a writer to learn is discipline or structure or whatever else you want to call it. Discipline is different from perseverance. A writer has a story. The story isn’t working out; she perseveres until she finishes it. But what happens when she gets up in the morning to work.
I can tell you what happens to me, and I hate to admit it. I have my coffee and raisin toast at the computer. My home page is Yahoo. I know, I’d have fewer distractions if I had Google or some other blank home page. I just looked at Yahoo and saw that Savannah Guthrie got married, and she’s four months pregnant. Then I got hooked on an article about Nicole Kidman’s relationship with her children with Tom Cruise, and then flipped through all the photos of the eclectic Malibu house Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell sold for 9 million, then… you see where I’m going.
These were distractions while I was trying to write this blog post. Never mind the mornings after an awards show when I spend too long looking at the gowns on the red carpet, and don’t get me started on political stuff. I get hooked reading that too.
I hate myself, I really do.
In all fairness, I don’t read People magazine or watch reality TV. I watch very little television, period. Justified and Homeland are my never-miss shows, even if I watch them marathon-style. So Internet gossip is my guilty pleasure. Oh, and I may play a game or two of Spider Solitaire or do an online Sudoku puzzle when my brain freezes, but these are all distractions that cut into my writing time, no matter how I try to justify them.
Then it’s business. I open the first of my two email accounts. I belong to a few writers’ loops, so I scan those, check the other emails, delete the ones I don’t want to read or think I’ll read later and never do. My second account has all my professional and Twitter business. I tweet, but I’m not crazy about doing it. Tweeting has worked to boost book sales of a few of my friends. I really can’t tell if I’ve had the same results. I don’t think so, but I still do it. I try to limit my time to an hour, sometimes less, but I check throughout the day to keep me updated and try to convince myself I like Twitter.
On to Facebook. This is the worst because I like it best. I’ve made friends there, post two to three times a day, read other posts, and hope I don’t get hooked on something, which I always seem to do. When I finish all that, it’s lunchtime. I eat early because I’m hungry early.
If I can resist all the other distractions, I get to work. But first I have to listen to the audio chapters to approve for the audio book of Mind Games.
Now, work—after I take the dogs for a walk.
By the way, my house is a wreck. Maybe a few minutes for dusting and laundry.
Now it’s late afternoon, and I should start thinking about something for dinner.
I really must be more disciplined. I will be. I promise.
Polly Iyer is the author of six novels: standalones Hooked, InSight, Murder D�j� Vu, Threads, and two books in the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, Mind Games and Goddess of the Moon. A Massachusetts native, she makes her home in the beautiful Piedmont region of South Carolina. You can visit her website for more on Polly and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.