“It is one thing to study war and another to live the warrior’s life.” – Telamon of Arcadia, mercenary of the fifth century B.C.
the war of art
Self-Discovery: Productivity to Avoid Productivity
In the past, who am I kidding? Currently I have problems with procrastination and staying on task. I think the procrastination started the first time I put something off to play video games until the last day then got away with it. The focusing problem started as a child, when I was diagnosed with A.D.D. Instead of putting me on Ritalin my mother chose to eliminate all artificial flavors and colors from my diet. It worked, I stayed on task and was generally less hyperactive.
…the brain doesn’t just tell you to do things; it also has a nasty habit of telling you what you CAN’T do- whether or not it’s true. As you go through life you gather self-imposed limits here and there until one day you’re unknowingly trapped trapped in a prison of bullshit limitations. But the truth is, it’s a holographic prison manufactured by your mind in a clumsy attempt to protect you from potential pain.
Basically, your brain is looking for the shortest path to avoiding the pain of failure. This can lead to it convincing you to not try new things, tasks, jobs etc. but you don’t have to listen all the time.
The other book, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield defined what keeps your from accomplishing your dreams, from sitting down to write, to paint, to do what needs to be done as a force called Resistance.
“Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance,” says Pressfield. “Because it’s the easiest to rationalize. We don’t tell ourselves, “I’m never going to write my symphony.” Instead we say, ‘I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow,”
Now I don’t actually believe there is a force that keeps me from writing but the metaphor helps. It gives a concrete idea to what is keeping you from doing and allows you to resist. I used to carry this book with me everywhere I went. In fact, I think I’ll reread it soon enough. I’m pretty sure there is a .pdf of it if you search google but I didn’t tell you that.
Two other useful tools I have been using on both my desktop are called Freedom and Anti-Social. Freedom turns off your Internet completely while Anti-Social merely prevents your from going to certain websites though right now the current version doesn’t recognise a lot of the sites I put in, including reddit. Freedom is the better way to go for just $10 and it was recommended to me by author Neil Gaiman himself, on twitter.
- Backing up my writing on to my external hard drive and flash drive.
- Organising the files, i.e. making new folders, renaming files, etc.
- Constructing the perfect playlist or finding the perfect music to listen to while I write.
- Completely reorganize my bookcases. This one has the most bizarre connection to writing and the most flimsy but I know I’ve done it.
- Searching Google for best apps to keep me from being distracted.
- Making coffee.
- Cutting my fingernails
- Refilling all my fountain pens with ink.