Writing Prompt #1: Focus

The upcoming writing prompts are coming from a collaboration between myself and a wonderful writer friend, Rose Solari.

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Rose and I have decided to share our collective wisdom (which, in all honesty, may not be that much) with others who are struggling to be creative in a world filled with distractions and disruptions.

Writing Prompt #1 comes from Rose:

Though I do set aside regular time for my creative work, I often find my mind wandering to administrative or household tasks when I am supposed to be making art. How can I do a better job of staying focused?

My Response:

I have a million and one tricks for staying focused, none of which have come naturally to me.  Also, because I primarily work at home, I am surrounded by things I need to do, want to do or somehow ‘have to do’ instead of focusing on my creative pursuits.

I find the only effective way to manage my focus is to use a strict schedule that doesn’t vary too much from day to day. I literally schedule my focus time and then I employ a variety of tools for keeping my focus in tact.

For instance, I turn on certain types of music or talk – “noise” that I can tune out but also not be annoyed by.  I also establish rewards throughout the day – forty five minutes of focused work might earn me my next cup of coffee.

And I have a dog. So every two to three hours, I take the dog out for five to ten minutes of sniffing (for her) and lifting weights or jumping jacks (for me).

Of course there are always days where the focus isn’t working.  On those days, I make sure to get my absolute minimum of creative tasks accomplished but I otherwise give myself a pass.  If I’m not creating at a productive rate, I don’t worry about it since I’ll probably get a creative rush later.  But I also don’t walk away from it. I’ll just do some cross-training like research instead of writing.  I can always justify reading about the Kardashians online as inspiration for a punchline.

I think the bottom line for me is to do whatever is necessary as fast as possible.  If the current environment is not working for me, I change the environment.  If I can’t change the environment sufficiently, I go to a different environment.

What I try to never do is sit and have an awful creative experience of not being creative.

Because that just sucks.

PS….this is my version of Rose….

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Can’t wait to read her responses.

xoxo, d

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