Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Wanted: Focus

Sometimes I get distracted.

What should I fix for dinner tonight? What are the kids doing right now? Why is that person picking his nose and oh please don't let him eat it (while writing at McD).

Sometimes I write uninterrupted. Thoughts are focused; fingers are poised; words happen of their own accord. Last week was full of uninterrupted writing sessions. Changes were made; characters were more clearly defined; scenes were described in greater detail.

But this week my mind refuses to settle. My first Writer's Conference is coming in just a couple of short weeks. My mind dances from question to question instead of buckling down to work. What will it be like? What should I wear? Will the kids be OK without me? Will I get discouraged seeing how far I need to go? Will I get an agent? Will it be worth all the sacrifice? Should I take the kids to the pool this afternoon?

I sip coffee slowly and double check Facebook periodically as I muddle through chapters that need more intensity to the unravelling of the plot.

Other careers that I have had in the past I could dive head first into doing the actions and my brain would eventually follow. Writing? I can tap the keyboard until my fingers have blisters, but if my brain isn't engaged, I WILL have to go back and redo every little word that I just typed.

Focus is the uniform of my writing career. And this week it is downstairs in the dirty laundry pile, underneath Carter's vomit sheets and Addison's chocolate stained dresses.

When I get to the point where I am ready to throw my computer across the room in frustration, I remind myself that sometimes it's OK to just take a break. At times the best thing that I can do for my book is to walk away from my computer, allowing my external focus to soak up the happy life happening right in front of me that doesn't include finding the right emotional description or converting that chapter from "tell" to "show".

Yes, mostly the answer is to push through the unsettledness, ignore the distractions, and force the work to start happening.

But sometimes the answer is to just stop for a while. Recharge-reboot-rewire all the while doing other things that might have gotten ignored while I was neck deep in my writing obsession.

Such things as laundry.

And perhaps- perhaps when I get to the bottom of that smelly pile, I will once again find the focus that has ninja-like hidden far away. Once the sheets are one again crisp and clean, and Addison's dresses are hung back in her closet ready for the princess to wear. That's when I know it's time to go back to my friend the computer. Because the order has once again been restored.

The only problem left at that point? How should I describe the shift in focus....

this is a link up with Just Write- describing ordinary moments that reveal the extraordinary

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