Saturday, May 8, 2010

Are you out of focus?

I’ll be honest.  I don’t feel like writing today.  There have been a lot of days like that in the past year.  A little less lately, but they still come and go.  

These are the days that separate the writers from the dabblers.  Writers don't have the luxury of choosing to work only when they feel inspired.  They show up and do the work.  

There are many days I’m sure you don’t want to get up and go to work, but you do any way.  It’s the same with writing.

(Oh sure, some days you might call in sick and call it a “mental health” day--I mean, I'm not knocking anyone who wants to get their Ferris Bueller on).  

My wife has just finished writing a dissertation.  This is like writing a book.  And writing a book is like writing anything else, like a play or a screenplay.  In order to write this giant academic masterpiece she had to have two things:
  •   Incredible focus for a length of time
  • A plan

Focus is what gets us up in the morning and drives us through the hard times, through the days when we don’t want to work.  Focus is what allows us see the final outcome.  Focus is our energy put to good use.

A plan is just that--a plan.  It’s not just saying, “I’m going to get up at 6 am and write for an hour every morning” but that’s part of it.  A plan is saying I’m going to write an abstract today, a summary tomorrow, a chapter this week, a chapter next week, etc.  When I did the exercise of writing a screenplay in 28 days, the best thing about it was how it laid out a plan of writing.  One day you write a paragraph outline, next day you write 10 pages, then the next 10, and on and on.  Next thing you know, you have a screenplay.

You have to have a plan and focus.  Okay, maybe not you.  Maybe you have that already and good for you, but I don't.  I haven’t had a plan or focus in a long time.  So I’m doing a lot of planning right now.  I’m planning out the things I want to write about in this blog, for example.  I’m planning on my projects for the coming year and after.  

I’m planning on doing a lot of writing.  

Of course, planning about writing isn’t writing.  Only writing is writing.

But I’ll save that topic for later.

1 comment:

Jenna said...

Good luck with your planning! And congrats to Lisa for finishing!