One person’s method of focus is another person’s route to distraction. Other people’s rules rarely work for me. I need to find my own routine and sometimes, often, that isn’t a routine at all. I listen to my own rhythms and they change daily. I write lists and this helps me to focus on what I would like to achieve, do, accomplish. Writing in my diary about what I want to do helps – it’s a kind of meditation. Incredibly boring for anyone else to read and probably meaningless to them.
In the last few months, I’ve used poetry competitions to help me focus on finishing poems by a set date. In this way, I’ve written about twenty poems. No competition has been won, there have been a few longlistings, and I feel fine about this – the poems are there. I gathered together some of my ‘competition’ poems and submitted them to a magazine – I’m still waiting to hear. This will the next stage of my focus, gathering the poems and readying them for magazine submission windows.
I’m writing prose again, as I’ve mentioned before, after ten years of writing poetry. Again, I’m going to use a competition deadline to push myself to finish by a certain date. The downside of using competitions as a focusing method is the cost of entering competitions. At the same time, I’m usually contributing a small amount of money to a worthwhile enterprise, a charity, that gives out a lot in terms of support for writers, writer development and public events.
I switch off my phone, I switch off the internet sometimes – when I need to. I recognise when scrolling is a distraction. The timer on my phone is a brilliant tool for helping me to focus in small chunks of time. Sometimes a small chunk of time is all I need.
Sometimes losing focus is a means of providing inspiration. Mindless scrolling on the internet turns out to not be mindless at all when it leads to an interesting article that leads me to a new writer; a wonderful image leads me to discover a new artist; a recommendation of a programme leads me to a worthwhile series.
Not adhering to a timetable can produce a conversation with someone I wouldn’t usually have connected with at that time. In my head, I imagine I would like to be the kind of person who sets themselves a daily target of writing 5,000 words a day and doesn’t leave their seat until the words are written. But I am not that kind of person. Also, I spent at least five minutes fiddling around taking photographs of my glasses to try to capture a suitable image for this post.
I wrote this post in response to the WordPress Discover Prompt ‘Focus’. I’m going to make a cup of tea now and focus on something else.