Know what's hard? Doing your work.

What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

If you’re not a writer (or if you are a writer but aren’t quite ready to think of yourself that way — which, trust me, I can understand!), you can substitute a word that describes your own work, or just a word. If work doesn’t do it for you, maybe joy or well-being?

One of my personal favorite tricks for avoiding my writing, my practice, and all kinds of other things that help me thrive is distraction. As long as I can stay distracted, I can avoid doing the things that nurture me. And as long as I can avoid doing those things, I can avoid other scary things, like possibilities and my own power.

I’m very good at distraction: I can have open tabs and flashing things on my computer that obviously need my attention. I can suddenly remember something I need in another room, see something that needs tidying, or develop a desire to do some task I’ve been putting off for days. When I have writing to do, my house is clean and my fridge is full of food. I am caught up on errands and phone calls. Anything to get away from myself!

Except, of course, that ignoring my work, my well-being, myself, and the things that feed me doesn’t make them — or my need for them — go away. They can outwait me every time, so the only one who suffers from my avoidance and resistance is me.

The only way around this that I’ve found is gentleness: noticing that I’m avoiding my work without blaming myself for doing so, and gently redirecting myself. Taking a breath with my own discomfort and closing the tabs. Reassuring myself.

I doubt that I can eliminate my sneaky ways around doing my work in one try, but right now, I’m using Reverb10 as my excuse to write every day. I’m tempted to experiment with a lot of other tools, but my love of excellent systems is tempered by noticing that messing with them one of my favorite ways to distract myself from the work itself.

How about you? What’s your favorite way to get away from the things that sustain you?

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