Devote your first hour to your art

Some days I find it excruciating to stay at my writing desk. I'm tempted to check e-mail, write a Facebook update, schedule a haircut, play fetch with the dog, anything but sit in uninterrupted silence and write – the activity I claim I never have enough time for. So, I re-instituted the "uninterrupted first hour," a practice I've used before. Perhaps I need it now as I go deeper into a new creative writing project – always scary.

I committed to devoting the first hour of my day to my creative writing wiithout checking email first. I unplug the internet and my phone. When I’m done, I email a colleague to tell her I did it. During that hour, I'm forbidden from doing anyting but writing. Because someone I admire is expecting me to keep my commitment, I do what I said I’d do. (I'll write more throughout the day but not without interruptions that are part of my normal work day.)

I just finished my hour and I feel like I did an hour of yoga: focused, relaxed and ready to embrace the day, already accomplished and delightfully guilt-free. And amazingly, much less “distractible” from hard or scary work.

What would help you carve out uninterrupted time? Especially on those days when everything else seems more urgent than making art? In truth, making art is the most urgent, followed only by marketing art.

If you try that first interrupted hour (without checking email or Facebook first!), what will you discover?