I can’t praise this little program enough. It is truly a critical piece of software indispensable to my writing-kit. I am sorely tempted by the Internet each and every time I sit down to the computer. I call it “Alice’s Rabbit-hole”. Its allure is not blatant like Ulysses’ sirens; it’s more subtle yet no less deep or insidious. For example: I’ll want to check my email, “…really quick…”. An email from a favored merchant I subscribe to will send me off to check my account, “…just for a moment…”. Then cruise the sale “…for a second…”. The next thing I know, its been a half an hour or more and I’ve been to five or six websites in oblivious succession.
Even going to the NaNoWriMo website is dangerous. I’ll check my NaNomail, send a “…fast…” missive, check the regional forums, click on the donation tab to contemplate how much I might be able to contribute, watch a NaNoVideo. There goes another 20 minutes.
I suspect the story is a common one.
If I can maintain enough discipline however, to open Freedom! and click on the “OK” button, I’m golden; the Internet’s delights are silenced for a pre-set hour…or two…or three…or whatever I’ve set it up for. At the end of the hour, it’s reward time…go cruise—or more likely, shut the computer off and get ready for work.
I spoke to my sophomore honors classes about what it takes to be an honors student or to get anything of quality, anything worth having, done. It takes Dedication, but that “dedication” is made up of, “…the three Ds…”. The first D is Desire. Do you really want it? Not as one might desire a glass of water or a new pair of shoes, but like “Wow! He/She/It’s hot. I’d like to get to know them!” desire.
The second angle of the triangle is Drive. Do you have the wherewithal to get up off your butt and physically go for it? We’re not just talking about signing up for the class here, we’re talking about actually going to class and participating, approaching Mr. or Ms. “Might-Be-The-One” and introducing yourself.
These two Ds are founded, however, on the most important part of the triangle-of-dedication: Discipline. Do you have the discipline to work at it not just for the day or the week or as long as you are inspired to, but for as long as it takes? When drive is at its lowest and desire is minimal, do you still have it in you to get the job done? Do you sit down, butt-in-chair, and pound out those words, not because you feel like it, or because you’re inspired—because you must. You might be sick, pissed off and tired, but do you do it anyway. This is why, of all the Ds, this last one is so critical and is the foundation upon which the others stand. If you don’t have it, if you don’t develop it, your success—that “A” or that manuscript—will always be ephemeral and a hit-or-miss proposition.
I need to take my own advice. I know I desire to be a published author. I know I have the drive and wherewithal to do it, but do I have the discipline? Do I have it in me to rise at 04:00 each work day, hit the Freedom! button and for 60 minutes or more, sit and write—good stuff, bad stuff, inspired stuff or drivel notwithstanding—and get that manuscript done? I don’t know.
Mission time-count for the morning accomplished.