Creative Compass Minicourse

Creative Compass Day 2: Rein in distractions

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Your goal for Day 2: Identify the structural impediments in your life and make a plan to resolve them.

“Structural impediments”? What the heck does that mean? How, exactly, are distractions examples of “structural impediments”?

Well, when you fall into distraction rather than focusing on the creative project you dearly want to finish, there are probably several contributing factors. The first in line, though, and the easiest to address, is that distraction is easier.

Of course it is. But I mean this literally: Distraction takes no time to get into. Instagram takes two clicks to open, and the phone is already in your hand. The remote is still sitting on the arm of your couch where you left it last night. Your game is paused, and your headphones are still plugged in.

Whereas the notebooks for your poetry project are buried under a stack of mail, and there is no room on your desk to open them. The files for your novel are scattered over your notes app, Google Drive, and the “documents” folder of your laptop and your desktop at work. You work on your comics in the kitchen, but your inking tools are upstairs and you haven’t done dishes from last night’s dinner yet.


What you need to do is see what you’ve set up to be easy, and difficult, in your life, and make sure the things you make easy are the things you actually want to be doing.

Same goes for time usage. It’s easy to stay up too late watching a show and then not be able to get up an hour early to write.
Figure out how to make it hard.

It’s easy to spend hours on end on an online game. How can you make it hard?

How can you set up your life around making creative work easy (well, easier…)?

Making self-generated creative work is inherently hard. It requires thought and introspection and uncomfortable effort. It requires that you take risks.

Whereas common distractions are literally designed to be incredibly easy, in order to thwart your intentions not to fall into their vortex. They want to suck you in. (There’s also nothing wrong with social media, gaming, or TV…as long as you’re consuming it on your terms.)

Your dilemma

You want desperately to make something, and that’s hard. But you also really enjoy various distracting things that are easy.

Creative Compass Day 2 Q&A

Your action plan

Make the hard thing easier, and the easy things harder.

Fill in the form below to start building your plan


Don’t post your schedule, plans, or other thoughts about this lesson on social media. Because you’re not on social media. ?

Further Reading: James Clear on Activation Energy

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