FIRST FOUR HOURS: Screw around on the internet.
FIFTH HOUR: Screw around on the internet, but feel guilty about not writing.
FIFTH HOUR THROUGH WHENEVER I FEEL TOO SLEEPY TO PUT SENTENCES TOGETHER: Write.
And that was just kind of fine. I'll be honest, that is how I wrote Chef, and it is something I'm immensely proud of. I just kind of assumed that was "My Process," whatever that means. But tonight I decided I would try something. My eyes were hurting, and I’ve consumed waaay too much caffeine to sleep (unhealthy, I know, but I had always thought that was the only reason I god Chef done, was with the help of caffeine), so I decided I would test the limits of my wireless keyboard. It was an easy experiment, I laid in bed for a minute, typing away. Words, whatever, nothing productive. The computer, and the screen, stayed in the other room.
I got up, turned the TV back on, and found that my typing had worked. I was overjoyed… so I went back to bed, after putting on some crappy, instrumental, new-age music and pulling up the document I've been working on. I turned off the lights, situated myself in bed, and just started typing, this time working on a scene I had planned out in my head, but just hadn’t written.
Things were slow, at first. I became flustered whenever I made an error, but eventually worked out a system for dealing with it. Soon, my fingers were flying across the keyboard, words were flowing, I learned things about my character, and the world she lived in, and I found that I had written somewhere in the neighborhood of five hundred words in about a half hour. I got up out of bed, checked the computer, saved, and went back to bed, to work.
Why am I telling you this? Great question. This is the age of the internet, and that means two relevant things:
1: There is an unlimited supply of distractions just waiting just beyond a few simple keystrokes.
2: There are an infinite number of inspirational quotes, and posters, and stories about people achieving their dreams, telling us to shoot for the stars, and to let nothing stand in our way.
Great, we think, and go back to screwing around on the internet, or starting to think about what it is we want to do with our lives, but becoming distracted by the lack of cleanliness in the house, or something on the internet, or whatever.
Then, when we’ve had enough, and we feel guilty that we’ve put things off enough, we work. For one whole glorious afternoon, we feel we are finally accomplishing something; we are finally taking that first step toward accomplishing our dream…
And then we watch another fucking cat video on Youtube, and it’s all over.
I have had my wireless keyboard for nearly two years, now, never suspecting that it would be more than just a convenience. In fact, I am starting to believe it is the key to unlocking my lifelong dream, once and for all.
I am a writer. I identify myself that way every bit as much as I identify myself with the name Tony Jaeger (pronounced YAY-Grr). With this keyboard, I have been able to remove myself from every single distraction the world has to offer so that I can pursue my dream without distraction. My schedule two nights ago was
FIRST THREE HOURS: Screw around on the internet.
FOURTH HOUR: Write, screw around on the internet, go to bed.
FIRST HOUR: Screw around on the internet, develop theory.
SECOND AND THIRD HOUR: Test theory, write 2,000 words on new book.
FOURTH HOUR: Bask in the single most productive two hours of my life, write and edit blog post about epiphany.
FIFTH HOUR: Edit a little bit, go to bed.
The only thing distracting me right now is my own comfort. And who DOESN’T feel comfortable lying under a blanket in their own bed?
So, what is my point?
My point is simple. Your dreams are within reach, all you need to do is figure out a way to remove whatever is keepinging you from accomplishing it, and removing it. In my case, all I needed was a wireless keyboard and a mild caffeine-overdose. What do you need to get you going?