The Need to Focus

Yesterday, I had a job interview for a teaching position at a local community college. To pump me up for the interview, my husband put together a set of songs on the ipod for me to listen to. One of the songs was Soja’s “Mentality.” He had written little notes next to each song, indicating why he chose it and how it related to me (as a teacher, a writer, a mother). Next to “Mentality,” he wrote: “The message is that even asleep your focus is awake–which is definitely true for you–just think of all your accomplishments (humble awareness of your amazing abilities and talents.)”

Yes, I do have an awesome husband. But that’s not the point of this blog post.

I listened to the set of songs on my way to the interview. And this song struck me, including his comment. Why? Because ever since I had Nesta, 19 months ago, I have felt extremely UN-focused. This was never a problem for me before. I always juggled multiple jobs, several writing projects, relationships, and spare time–all of it came easily to me. Now, as I’ve written before, I feel like my life is one endless list of Things To Do and that entire list is causing me a huge FOCUS problem.

And focus is exactly what I need if I’m going to finish my next book. And the book after that.

I will confess that I haven’t figured out how to get my focus back. But here’s my plan of attack. It’s a two-pronged plan of attack, and very simple. I hope that makes it doable.

1) Set aside time each day to focus only on the novel I’m writing–preferably an hour or more. The thing I’ve found over the years is that I do need to write each day for the writing to come easily–to flow. So setting aside time each day is important.

2) Absolutely refuse to answer the phone, check my email or facebook or twitter account, or let my mind wander during that time I’ve set aside. Focus on writing. Let myself enter the world.

I hope it works. I would love to hear from other writing moms about the strategies that have worked for you to gain the focus you need to complete big writing projects. Thanks!


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