I can be VERY disciplined when I want to. When I first started writing, people used to say to me…“you must be so disciplined.” It was a label that I wore with pride. I took the prospect of writing a novel seriously and I knew that if I didn’t dedicate the time to my work it wouldn’t get done. So, I chained myself to my desk just as I did when I worked in an office. I gave myself regular office hours and I believed wholeheartedly any time away from my desk was cheating.
In theory, this may sound like a good idea whereas, this type of self-inflicted hard-core discipline was not. Although, discipline is both admirable and necessary to ‘get it done’ there is a time to be disciplined, and there is a time when you need to break that chain and run from that desk. Unfortunately, I did not learn this lesson right away and spent many a day sitting at my desk pulling my hair out and no further ahead at the end of the day.
I have since learned that when having a bad day, or moment, the BEST thing I can do is to put that desk behind me—get up and go for a walk, go to the gym, listen to a podcast, make a coffee—anything that gets me moving and/or my mind stimulated. Walking away from my desk is not cheating. It’s giving my brain a break and allowing the door to productivity to come on in. Any time I’ve left be it for 5 minutes or an hour and fort-five minute guaranteed when I get back to my desk I’ll be focused and ready to roll.
I believe that to write—or anything for that matter, the first thing you must do is show up and yes, you must be dedicated but there’s a fine balance between discipline and hair pulling. Before I started writing this post, Freddie Mercury’s voice randomly popped in to my head…I want to break free. I want to break free. The lyrics stuck and mid-way through the post, I found myself on YouTube. After I’d finished listening to Queen I came back to my blog and whipped it off in no time.
OK…I will acknowledge that perhaps, you can have a break while still at your desk, but my message is still the same... it is perfectly acceptable to break free from your work in fact, I highly encourage it.
With my hair intact, here’s a little Queen to get you through the day.
Activist, World traveller. Fan of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.