• Diane Exner


I have two writing spots conducive to creativity. My kitchen table, having an open floor plan, big living room windows, and double doors to the back yard. It lends lots of natural light and an inviting environment for creative juices to flow. Secondly, my office has ground-level large windows with a vibrant view. It is a clutter-free space, prompting productivity.

In this week’s writing classes I was prompted to selfishly set aside time this Saturday to pursue my projects. One tip: Block time and space to focus. YES, uninterrupted alone time for me and my manuscripts. Like a kid at Christmas, I was up earlier than a weekday alarm.

By 8:00am, with chores complete and second coffee in hand, I was ready to write. I settled at the kitchen table. Feeling foolishly selfish, I began …

Like a cat running after a lit laser pointer, the distractions came fast and furious. External and internal. From visits, to phone calls, to the devil on my shoulder recalling all the projects that needed my attention. The noise was deafening. After two hours my page was still blank. Literally chuckling to myself, I realized this blog started writing itself Monday morning at work, and now spilled into my weekend.

My life-long mantra, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." I've learned flexibility for personal appointments; at work, I'm paid to be productive. This week was far beyond my built-in buffers.

If I were to maintain my goal, I had to 'Lock It In'. Waves of procrastination can toss a person from one white cap to another like a rag doll. At some point, I had to put my hands solidly on the helm and steer the ship home.

Ironically, I recently decided to finish a book started a few years ago. I can technically say I’ve been published. From articles in newspapers, printed poetry, and a previous columnist in a Calgary newspaper, I’ve had success.

How do you deal with deafening distractions? I know even with air pods, or headphones, it takes deliberate determination to drown out the noise. What’s in my control is fine-tuning my focus. Whether work or pleasure, to stay the course I need to focus on the finish line and plot out a daily course. Is it enough to simply close the door? No, sometimes you also need to choose not to answer the knock.

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