Focus. It's what we all desire, what gets the writing done. Because the words don't go on the page without it.
Fear. It's often what keeps us from focusing.
The kinds of fears we writers and creative types deal with are the insidious ones. They may very well be so insidious that we don't even recognize them as fears. Instead, fears can masquerade as a lack of focus. Have you ever told yourself any of the following when it came time to write?
—I don't need to work on the book today
–The kitchen floor needs washing. I better do it now, instead of writing.
–I need to check my email.
–Writing is too hard, I'll look at Facebook instead
Perhaps some of the following fears are hiding behind this sudden desire to do something, anything, other than write:
—Not knowing what to write
–Not knowing how to write
–Not being good enough
–Being too good
–Putting yourself and your words out in the world.
Interestingly, dealing with issues of focus takes immediate care of many, if not all, of these fears. Why? Because choosing to focus is choosing to be in the moment. Choosing fear is opting to be mired in the past or worry about the future. You can't do either when you firmly in the present.
So herewith, some strategies for both fear and focus.
1. Remember that you are enough and have enough for what you need in this present moment. You have all the tools you need to write or create.
2. Have a curiosity about life instead of assuming an air of knowing everything. Be present to the amazement of life.
3. Move before you feel ready. Send that story out even though you know it's not perfect, commit to writing a novel even though you don't know how. Such leaps keep our creative selves alive and are one antidote to fear.
4. Stand for yourself. Take responsibility for yourself and your work. You committed to writing, now do it. For some weird reason this always helps me with my fears.
5. Meditate. Everyone recommends it for a reason. It really does help.
7. Develop a morning ritual and/or spiritual practice that grounds and centers you.
8. Do ONE thing at a time. Multi-tasking is death to focus. My tried and true trick is to set a timer for 30 minutes and only write during that time period.
9. Work hard, play hard. Focus and concentrate. Then take a break and have some fun!
10. Don't forget physical exercise. Move your body in some way, whether you like to take walks, do yoga or Qi Gong, swim or ride bikes. Sometimes we just need to wear the old brain out to get rid of our fears!
Do you have strategies to accomplish focus and banish fear? Please share.
Photo from Photoexpress.