At last, I had this epiphany. I wanted to write prose, and I understood that my real problem with writing was not that I couldn’t do it mentally. I couldn’t do it physically. I could not sit still. Literally, could not sit still. So I had to solve that. I used some long scarves to tie myself into my chair. I tied myself in with a pack of cigarettes on one side and coffee on the other, and when I instinctively bolted upright after a few minutes, I’d say, Oh, shit. I’m tied down. I’ve got to keep writing.
~Louise Erdrich in the Paris Review
I can remember Mike Davis saying the same thing about when he began writing–that he tied himself into a chair and wrote until he got it right. I have yet to physically restrain myself to write, but I have a lot of other tricks to keep me focused (#writingsprints on Twitter is my favorite).
What’s your trick to keeping focused on a writing task?
Photo: Fields of poppies in Tuscany, May 2012