DEAR HARRIETTE: I had a dream of writing a book, and in 2014 I rented a house on the beach and spent five weeks writing. I made good progress and was happy with the fruits of my labor. When I got home, I did not continue. How do I make it a priority to finish it? It seems that when I am home, I put everything and everyone before finishing my book. I keep telling myself that my book must not be as important as I thought it was or as the other things that I spend my time on. Is this some kind of mental block that is causing me to procrastinate? I have a husband who likes to do everything together, and when I rented the home to be alone and write, he insisted on coming with me. He worked from the house, and I worked on my book. I would appreciate any assistance or advice you can offer. — Writer’s Block
DEAR WRITER’S BLOCK: It takes a tremendous amount of focused attention and discipline to write a book. Honestly, it takes that to do just about anything. To complete a major task, you have to work on it consistently until it is finished. How do you do that? I recommend making a plan that you write down and post so that you are reminded of it every day. Promise yourself that you will devote at least one hour every single day to your book, including weekends. The hour can be used for actual writing, for research, for editing or for review. Even if you only get a few thoughts written down, if you go to your computer or your tablet every single day and focus your attention on your project, something will begin to emerge over time.
Ask your husband to support your efforts just like he did a few years ago. It’s fine for him to be nearby if you do not allow him to be a distraction.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m hoping you might consider sharing these questions people should ask themselves to help determine if they have a drinking problem. They helped someone in our family!
1. Have you ever decided to stop drinking for a week or so, but only lasted for a couple of days?
2. Do you wish people would mind their own business about your drinking — stop telling you what to do?
3. Have you ever switched from one kind of drink to another in the hope that this would keep you from getting drunk?
4. Have you had to have an eye-opener upon awakening during the past year?
5. Do you envy people who can drink without getting into trouble?
6. Have you had problems connected with drinking during the past year?
7. Has your drinking caused trouble at home?
8. Do you ever try to get “extra” drinks at a party because you did not get enough?
9. Do you tell yourself you can stop drinking any time you want to, even though you keep getting drunk when you don’t mean to?
10. Have you missed days of work or school because of drinking?
11. Do you have “blackouts”?
12. Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not drink? (Reprinted with permission: A.A. World Services.) — Check Yourself
DEAR CHECK YOURSELF: Thank you for sharing these key questions. Readers, if you answered yes to any or most of them, seek help now. Visit aa.org for more information.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.