Today’s distraction was plucking my eyebrows. Wait, don’t go anywhere. Keep reading. This is not as inane as it sounds. This evening I’m working on a chapter of my book, moving along just fine, and then I get stuck. My mind enters a thick void, and suddenly I become very afraid of this void, utterly daunted by it. I enter this void, a dark and dry place in my mind, and my first instinct is to avoid it and run away from it. A common instinct for many people, evading something that intimidates them. So, I consider my bushy eyebrows, and I think to myself, I’ll pluck my eyebrows while I think about the next scene. But it’s really just an excuse not to sit at my desk and stare uncomfortably into space, which I find myself doing a lot during the writing process. I pluck my eyebrows for no more than two minutes until I am reminded of how irritatingly painful it is, plucking my eyebrows, and suddenly going back into that unsettling void seems less uncomfortable. I go back to my desk and back into that void, and it isn’t long before I emerge from it.
If you, too, have entered that void during the creative process and avoided it as I did, try distracting yourself with something you don’t like doing or that makes you uncomfortable: scrub the toilet, clean out moldy Tupperware, pick up the dog poop in the back yard, or do your taxes. You’ll be back at your writing desk in no time.