Okay. You have a goal. You have a plan. You begin to act on the plan and the things that distract you from it and the things that get in the way begin to show up. Here are some ideas that can help you move forward.
What distracts you?
I can easily get lost in the internet and email so I found I have to limit both the time I spend on it each day and when I look at email and follow-up blogs and websites. I just can’t go there until I’ve finished priority work for the day.
Other distractions include calls and visits, setting meetings at times that interfere with my best writing times, and failing to review and refine my daily work list.
Some distractions are common these days (email, internet, calls); yet each person has their own list of events or behaviour that derails momentum. If you can notice what gets you off track then you can understand how to correct the problem.
As soon as you realize you’ve been distracted, make a note. Keeping a list of distractions and reviewing it at the end of the day will provide some tips for better focus the next day.
What do you need from others?
I am pretty independent so I often forget to think about what I might need from someone else before I get started. Some of the things that I can forget to ask for before I start:
- clarification of points I am not sure about
- more information
- permission to use material or to contact other sources
- how contacts and connections may help
- physical resources
It helps me when I remember to ask before I start, both because I don’t lose focus by interrupting work to ask, and because it increases my sense of being supported.
How can you work with the obstacles or forces that resist accomplishment of your goal?
I identify forces that oppose the goal as part of planning. I’ve found it helpful to research these forces and develop some strategies to use when they appear.
Here are the ones I listed when writing about the goal of completing the first draft of a novel with some examples of steps I took to remove or reduce the impact of the obstacle:
- Self-Doubt: I reread what I’d written so far. It was better than I remembered!
- Lack of focus and not spending enough time in the world of the novel: I recommitted to daily work
- Fear of the dark parts: I am taking Clarissa Pinkola Estes course Mother Night
- Pushing instead of discovering: I am working with discovering when an element needs a bit more time or research before writing and learning how to let the material “actively” rest. This means that even if I am not writing I spend time attuned to that world each day; just watching, just listening.
How can you leverage the forces that support your achievement of the goal?
There’s usually much more attention paid to what could go wrong when planning and not so much emphasis on how to ensure that the things that help us are in place.
Here’s my list of things that support my achievement of the goal to finish my first draft and how I am working to leverage each one to increase my chances of success.
- Life-long desire to write: reaffirm my writer identity by taking one action each day that presents me as a writer (in addition to writing)
- Clarity of the dream that launched the story: attune to the energy of the dream
- Daily writing: forty-five minutes of work on the novel each day
- Appropriate breaks: stretch breaks, shift to different part of story, begin work after a break
- Connection to other writers: at least two meetings with writer-friends each month
- Attunement to my soul’s longing to see it finished: connect with longing before beginning work
- Just enough reading about craft and practice: read either blog, book or article on craft each day
- Right effort: paying attention, being present with the process, and writing
I’ve found that my understanding of how to use each support changes as I work with it.
Each of us has a unique list, and I’d love to hear more about how you leverage what supports you or any ideas about how I could use my supports more effectively.
How can you stay connected to the larger goal and your core desired feeling over time?
I’ve started to use my weekly journal as a place to review progress. This lets me focus on the details during the week and then draw back for a higher level view at least once a week. The combination of detailed work and a new perspective seems to be helping. The weekly review gives me a place to integrate the lessons I am learning along the way.
Join the discussion: What has helped you execute your plans and reach your goals?