Distractions can be a good thing.
When I’m stuck on a thought, it’s good to play a little with my mind. Take a break. Do something else.
Trouble is, the distractions have been getting out of hand and I’ve been losing my focus.
Remember when “games” on Facebook amounted to Farmville and a few other (mostly unappealing) interactive pastimes?
And players need friends “help” to acquire more lives, get to the next level or add tools and weapons to their arsenals.
Bubble Witch Saga … Bubble Safari … Buggle … Candy Crush Saga …
I got my first invitation to Bubble Witch Saga shortly after I got laid off from Shaw. I figured it would help pass the time in between writing cover letters and tweaking resumes.
It ballooned on me. (Bubbled up?)
I added the others as emails for job postings went unanswered and second interviews went by without offers.
I spiraled into a vortex of self-doubt.
And I let the games steal my focus.
My mind became paralyzed by fear and rejection. My creativity was gone.
I couldn’t write.
I posted a plea for help on my Facebook page. My childhood friend Laura referred me to The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battle.
“I loved this book – profoundly,” she said. “Written mostly for writers, the points made in this book stung like mad after I was laid off at the height of the recession-with no jobs in Interior design anywhere out west. It also made me realize the chaos that was in my head and how powerful it can be if you allow it.”
I bought the ebook for my Kindle app the next morning and started to push my way through it.
Like Laura, I found the words ringing true almost immediately.
Resistance, writes Steven Pressfield, is about self-doubt, fear and passion.
“(It) enlists criticism to reinforce the fifth column of fear already at work inside the artist’s head, seeking to break her will and crack her dedication,” he says.
As creatives, we commit ourselves to a life of criticism … from editors, peers and readers. It’s torturous at times because we invest a small part of ourselves in every piece of work we produce.
We give that small part to you — just like this blog post — to read, feast upon and review with a critic’s eye.
That’s just the first chapter. Pressfield describes how a professional creative must act to achieve goals and produce the words that sing.
And that’s when I decided to start taking more control.
I deleted all the game apps from my Facebook account. (OK, OK, not all of them. I kept SongPop.)
I steeled myself away from looking at Twitter.
I sat down at my laptop and I forced myself to write.
I also forced myself to leave my laptop periodically and do something to refresh my mind: walk the dog, ride my bike, hit my TRX or read.
This past weekend, I finished six pieces for three projects.
There wasn’t even a need to think about deadlines. The product was sitting in the Inboxes of my contacts long before they walked into the office this morning after a relaxing long weekend.
I’m back, baby.
Now give me something to write.
Oooh … cover letters …