I am far too easily distracted. There are so many things, many of them not even interesting, which will pull my attention away in an effort to keep me from writing. And yes, I know it is all up to me, and it is my own fault. It is my own psyche that is stepping in front of my progress to keep me from putting words on the page.
The distractions and pulls can be anything as simple as wanting to go to the restroom or stopping to find a new feature in my word-processor to things as complicated as my hands suddenly deciding they hurt or an email coming in that demands I read it. Of course if I give in to that demand and read the email, then I am going to have to either answer it or do research and maybe a bit of delegation. All of that takes time. Time that should be used to write.
In truth, it is my own fault for giving in to the earthly desires of urination or software features, and even more so for not turning off my email notifications or better yet turning off the internet in its entirety. Of course, as I type another question comes to mind – is going back and correcting mistypes, grammar mistakes, and misspellings a distraction or a necessity of writing? Sure they would all need to be corrected at some point, but is that point supposed to be while I am in the flow of writing? Or should it be in the future?
Anyway, what I have then are those distractions that keep me from writing – the ones that stop me from ever getting a single word down, and additionally those that slow me down or limit the words I produce. It is not an all or nothing battle. In contrast to an alcoholic who has to resist the urge to drink totally, and even if they give in once they can start all over by not drinking, we writers have to start and then work to keep going. Writing then is more like running. Perhaps it makes sense that we call them “writing exercises.”
Just as with the traditional forms of physical exercises such as running, there are the roadblocks that stand in the way of our ever starting to write. The sometimes seemingly mundane circumstances that try to keep us from getting to the gym. The traffic, the busy schedule, the malaise, the thought that we need better equipment before we even start. But then there are the forces that work on us while we move. The exhaustion, the soreness, the unrealistic comparisons of ourselves to others, and yes, even boredom. Even a writer can get tired of laying down word after word after word while our hands get sore and our minds get numb. And while our well meaning friends call us out to play. But we will not get better without practice, and we will not produce the mileage of words without discipline and dedication.