When last month I wrote on the importance of an ordered life, I wrote that I thought it was important not to allow for opportunities for "dissipation". I know at least one reader was interested to read more about that, so here we are.
"Dissipation" is a term I got from one of my colleagues at the Collegium Scriptorum Catholicae, and I use it in the same manner as the dictionary definition: the squandering of resources (specifically, the very valuable resource of time). Now, I've been guilty of doing just that of late, since pretty much the whole family's been sick and my reserves of willpower have been low, so I'm readily able to give examples.
Television is definitely the #1 time-waster for anyone that has one. As long as I've been married, we've never had a television, so that temptation to "just watch a few minutes" to unwind is not there. But as we know, a few minutes frequently and easily turns into a lot more. The easy answer is to do as I have and chuck the television. The same holds true for the #2 dissipator internet, although I'd say the internet is a lot more useful and worth keeping for its legitimate benefits.
The May, 2006 issue of Angelus Magazine, offered, in the article entitled "Chesterton Unplugged: Liberating Ourselves From eSlavery" limiting internet use to checking emails only once or twice
per day and having a specified time each week that do will do any other
research on the internet. Never using the internet at home was further
advised. I've implemented this in my life a few times (right now being one of them) and find it liberating. Into the void left by removing these opportunities for dissipation I find that even though I'm not able to sit down to write until about 10:00 at night (and am a person who needs 8 hours sleep to function properly yet must rise by 6:50) I've been able to finish a novel and am making progress on another, plus short stories and this blog.
Which comes back to the need for order. If there is a schedule, or at least guidelines that the writer has in mind, it is easier to avoid dissipation because there isn't time for it.