Thursday, May 21, 2009

On Conquering the "BIG D"

Have you ever noticed how words of wisdom seep through in the first few minutes after you awaken in the morning? Or have you ever awoken from a strange dream, look at the clock and notice the time is around 3 a.m.? Grab a pen and write it down, because dreams and those words you receive upon waking are elusive. Only last week I awoke with these words circulating in my head. "Without The Author, The Quill Runs Dry." Was God trying to tell me something?

I had never given thought to those early minutes in the day until I heard a certain well-known preacher relate his personal story on television. When he visited Jerusalem several years ago, he noted that many Jewish priests and rabbis would gather at the wall very early each morning to pray in their tongue. When he asked a local rabbi about this, the man replied something like this. "It is a Jewish custom. We believe that God speaks to His people during the 4th watch. In the hours between 3 a.m. and the heavens open up and God is more accessible. The prayers reach His throne and He pours out His Spirit upon His people."

The preacher went on to say that he had gone through the Bible and found that Jesus was often up during the 4th watch. Examples are the time the disciples spied Him walking on the water and thought He was a ghost. And the night before His arrest, He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane in the wee hours when the soldiers came for him.

If this is true, then the first part of our day is the most important. So why do we allow distractions to draw us away from our quiet time with God? If we quieten our minds, write down our thoughts upon rising, we will find a sense of peace and a well of ideas for our writing. something fighting against up to prevent that?

Here is a typical morning at my house. My husband is an early riser. He hops out of bed, jumps in the truck and heads to the local coffee clatch. I sleep a little longer. Then I drag myself out of bed, stumble into the kitchen and peek out the window to see if my dogs are okay. Sometimes I walk out on the porch and hug them. I go back inside, pick up my Bible and a couple devotional books, and sit down on the floor. I open to the Psalms to find one about praise and worship. This leads me into prayer. But wait! I forgot to take that supplement that has to be taken 30 minutes before a meal. I get up and swallow it, then notice a spot on the counter and one on the kitchen floor where my hubby's splattered coffee. Why can't he wipe it up? I know he saw it! Who does he think I am...his maid? Oops! My peace of mind has already been stolen.

The dogs bark. I hear motors humming. The sound grows louder as wander to the window to investigate. Tractors with disks attached, are pulling into the surrounding field, stirring up dust. Oh well, I will try this again. I sit down on the floor, pull a devotional book into my lap and read a few lines. The back door flies open. It's hubby. He's fully caffeinated and ready to aggravate. I look up and greet him with "Hi, how are you?" He's in a teasing mood and I'm still groggy. This usually ends with me speaking sharply, and him fleeing to the garage to work on one of his flea market finds.

I close my Bible and devotional. Now I'm remorseful. If I don't clear this up now, the guilt will eat at me and give me writer's block. Or my writing will fall flat. I find him and apologize for my sassy remark, then re-enter the house to get online and clear out a jillion emails.

The back door slams and hubby dashes to his office. "Have you seen my checkbook?"
We spend the next 15 minutes searching for that, only to find he's left it in the truck.

Have you figured out that the "Big D" is DISTRACTION? So how do we overcome it so we can write? Get up earlier? But what if you've burned the midnight oil the previous night...just to make a small dent in that deadline.

I've decided as recent as this Monday, that I will NOT check author loops or emails UNTIL I have spent at least an hour writing or revising my manuscript. So far, so good.

Distraction is a thief. Some of it is controllable. Some is not. Life is full of surprises. But, if we take charge of the things that we can control...set schedules, timelines, that will free us up to enjoy the people and things that should take priority in our lives.

Does this make any sense? Or is it just another one of MY distractions?


Debra St. John said...

Ah, the big D. I can totally relate. I am VERY distractible. Setting goals does help. Good luck with yours!

Larry Hammersley said...

Laurie: I can relate to the big D. So many things get in my way. I wake around 3 or 3:30 for the call of nature and try to get some more sleep before 5:30 but fail miserably. Why don't I get up and write, I ask myself? Right now I'm in a writers block big time. Larry

Miss Mae said...

Laurie, this is wonderful. It is indeed the early hours of the morn, when the house is quiet, that I can soak myself into my writer's world.

Being human, we'll always allow Distraction to steal us from the important things. It's a battle over mind control. Who's in charge? Us, or distraction?

Mary Ricksen said...

That is my D too!! And my DH is the very worst culprit. I have to write late at nite to get some peace and quite without interruptions to write. I can totally relate to your feelings.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Makes LOTS of sense, Laurie!

I've decided to spend the weekend scheduling blog posts, interviews, etc the month of June and getting them up in ADVANCE so that I can devote my mornings to writing - If I don't get diciplined again, I'll never finish anything.

Great post!

Donna B said...

Oh my gosh, what a great post! (I love the part about snapping at hubby. for me, we're the opposite. I'm the morning person - he's still in bed...but I still snap at him if he asks me anything 'before he can even manage to get himself up!')
The biggest key to distractions I think is being able to let them go. Don't cling to them and let them drag you down any further than the original few minutes they were entitled to!

Laurean Brooks said...

I want to thank all of you for coming by and giving your input and advice. I wrote a lengthy thank you to all, individually, a few hours earlier. But for some reason it didn't post. UGH!

But yes, it's true. If we don't set a schedule and discipline ourselves to follow it, we will become frazzled and burned out.

I never have understood why some people seem to be born with organizational skills while ther rest of us grope through the day and can't remember where we left our glasses. Or car keys!

I've been asking God to grant me organizing skills. Is it possible that creativity and organization are oxy-morons, therefore you can't have both?

But no. Some writers appear to be equally creative and organized.
How DO they do it?


Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Laurie. Ah...distractions. Why do you think I'm so late in visiting your blog today? LOL I've decided to spend less time on loops and more time writing! Until this, that and the other....LIFE...gets in the way. BTY my friend. You need to start drinking coffee. Personally, no way could I function without it and my mood would be shall we say less than pleasant?

Kara Lynn Russell said...

Distractions are indeed a problem. Like when you're writing and the phone rings and you have to answer because it's your mother and while you're on the phone you realize that the dryer has shut off so you go to fold clothes and....
Now what was my point?

No caffeine for me please. When I have caffeine I may be awake but I am also irritable, jittery and unable to concentrate. Just makes those distractions bigger obstacles for me.

Cami Checketts said...

I've tried your goal of writing for at least an hour before I click that internet button. It really works. Now if I can just be disciplined enough to stick with it!
Thanks for the great post,

Clare Revell said...

hi, found your blog via the whiterose yahoo group.

There are 4 main distractions in my house. 3 kids age 15, 14 and 10 and a sick/out of work hubby.

I can fold laundry, play games on he comp or chat. The instant I open word or even the folder the current m/s is in...

and he's doing it now via the IM. From upstairs. me thinks i'll just close word, go to bed and get up at 2am again and write.

well 20.20 isn't that early to crash out.

Laurean Brooks said...

Hi Clare, have 4 excuses for distractions. Me? Only one. A hubby.

But those kids grow up fast. They will be gone before you know it. Hug'em and kiss'em every day even if they think they are too big. Time, a listening ear, and affection are the best things you can give them. So lay it on thick. You will not regret it.

Clare, you'll have a lot of empty-nest years to work toward your dreams and goals. God has you right where he wants you. Three kids? What a blessing!

I will say a prayer for your hubby to get well and to find the job the Lord has for him. Meanwhile, you keep praying too.

Hang in there!