Bringing Full Attention to Bear

Do you ever get certain phrases ringing in your head?
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My latest is, "bringing full attention to bear."  As in full attention to my creative work, though it could be applied to just about anything. 

It was brought on by reading an article written by Christine Kane, in which she talked about how important it is to cherish your attention.  To show up to write when you say you're going to, and then stay present and focused on your writing.  In other words, to follow through on what you aimed to do.

I think the phrase has been repeating itself in my mind because I'm working on a new approach to setting goals for my writing and this casts light on it.  I used to set word count or page goals.  I've been known to advocate showing up and writing something, anything, in your allotted time.

But that can lead you down a dark road. You can write and write and not really know where you're going and be unhappy with what you are writing and continuing to write doesn't solve the problem.  (And yes, I know that you can also continue to write and the light will turn on.)

So now I'm setting a time goal.  As in, I'll work on my novel for one hour a day, every weekday.  I like to get up and write first thing and so the deal is, if I don't get my full hour in, I have to finish it up sometime during the day.  So far so good.  And the best thing about writing first thing in the morning is that I get the work in my head and it sticks with me all day.  My subconscious chews on it and I'm ready to go again by the next day.

But here's the deal: when I show up for my hour, I have to be there.  I have to be present.  I have to set aside thoughts of checking email or what I might eat for breakfast or what I need to accomplish during the day.  I need to just be present and write.  Or if that fails, think about what I want to write.  In other words, I need to bring my full attention to bear on the creative project at hand.

What kinds of writing goals do you set for yourself?

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2 Comments on "Bringing Full Attention to Bear"

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Carole Jane Treggett
Guest
Great post, Charlotte. I, too have been setting a time goal for myself, although I usually do succumb to distractions that interrupt the 2 hours I’ve set in the morning to commit to my creative practice. Maybe I’ll have more success if I only commit to one hour, then take a break. On occasion, I get into ‘flow’ and want to keep going, but at this point that doesn’t happen as often as I’d hope for. So for me, I think I’ll actually produce more over time consistently if I lower my expectations. Really want to steer away from my… Read more »
Charlotte Dixon
Guest

Carole Jane, I do think the time limits help tremendously, especially if you allow yourself nice little breaks at the end of them. And I’m a huge fan of lowering expectations. I tell people if they can’t write everyday, at least look at their work to connect with it. Makes a huge difference in keeping you thinking about it and that makes you want to work on it!

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