My muse has a split personality. One personality wants to write productive, helpful pieces. The other half, the Hyde half, wants to distract me in any way possible.
What this means is that I can be happily researching a topic like, say, bees. The worker half of my muse will dress in tie-dye, wear daisies in her hair and write beautiful, moving prose to make the world a better place for bees. (She gets like that sometimes; I find it best just to go with it.)
Meanwhile, the Hyde half has other ideas:
Wouldn’t it be fun to make gigantic “BEE KILLER” signs and sneak out after midnight to stick them in the yards of people who use those pesticide-spraying lawn services? C’mon, grab the markers; I’m sure I saw poster boards in the basement. It’ll be freakin’ HIL-AR-EE-OUS.
I admit, Hyde can be a bit… er… extreme sometimes.
Hyde’s sole purpose for existing is to create procrastination opportunities. I never know when Hyde will show up or what she’ll suggest.I do know that the disruptions can murder my workflow.
Hyde has been around a lot this week. This tends to happen when I have a heavy workload and trying to keep all the teacups I’m juggling in the air. Since I’m on a deadline to complete an outline for a commissioned book, her timing sucks.
Look at this! Look at this!
Check email again. It’s been at least five minutes. Maybe that interview request has been answered.
Oooh, Amazon.com has those reference books you want. Let’s go order them.
C’mon, click “stumble.” You know you want to.
Fortunately, I know ways to shut Hyde down. I’ve got a whole list. Here are three of my faves.
1. Take away her toys. No Internet, no e-mail. Yes, she pouts. That’s half the fun. “Going dark” removes most of the distractions she would otherwise throw in my path.
2. Focus on one very small, specific goal at a time. For instance, naming chapter three or writing the lead sentence for my next query letter. When that is done I move on to the next specific goal and then the next. Small steps = forward motion. Forward motion = Hyde’s version of kryptonite.
3. Set aside time for recess. This is the dangling carrot approach to beating procrastination. Procrastination becomes the reward for not procrastinating. Warped, yes, but it works. Knowing that I can turn Hyde loose at lunchtime if I meet a set number of goals makes it easier to ignore her when she whispers in my ear.
Do you have a Hyde side that tempts you away from your writing goals? How do you get past procrastination and get on with the work day?