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FOCUSING ON YOUR WRITING
How do you focus on your writing when there are a million distractions pulling at your poor mind in all directions? How do you manage to sit for hours and just write, without checking your phone or email or news or staring at a cat chasing a chicken across the road or getting sucked into research justifying it with the need to know exactly how many goats it takes to eat a field of blackberry bushes in a day?
I will liken the process of focusing on your writing (or any art making for that matter) to meditation. What exactly is meditation? Stripped to its basic concept, it's the clearing of your mind. And it is also our answer to the disruption of our previously tranquil lives which we invited upon ourselves about 10,000 years ago when we stopped hunting mammoths and decided to settle and grow them in cages instead. Or sable-toothed tigers. Or whatever the delicacies of that era were.
I will be going even deeper here, so make sure to get your popcorn.
If you read about any of the hunter-gatherer tribes that remain on our planet, you will come across smart numbers smart people have compiled for you, just to illustrate how miserable we are and how carelessly happy they happen to be. Specifically, I'm referring to the percentage of time they and us spend on work. They spend only 40% of their time on work (don't quote me on this number, I don't remember where I saw it and what exactly it was, I only remember it was depressing), the rest of the time they do nothing. We spend what? 80%? 113%? 164.77352% of our time on work? So you see, while we slave, they smell the flowers and pick their noses. Turns out, smelling flowers is beneficial for your mental health. Turns out, that is what meditation is, this ability to be in the present and empty-headed, just watching your thoughts float away. Children have that ability, but it gets quickly squashed by well-meaning parents.
Why did I give you this brief theory of mine on what meditation is? Because it's the same theory I have about creativity. When we create, we smell flowers. We watch our thoughts, we record them (which is getting them out of our heads), and afterwards we feel bliss. We're empty. We're happy. It's an amazing feeling akin to the one you feel after a good meditation session. Ever wondered why writers are addicted to writing? Yeah, that.
And here is where focus comes in.
Before you can start focusing on your writing, just like if you have never meditated, you will need to build a habit of being alone with your thoughts. No distractions permitted. No stimuli. Nothing. And you must do it every day to have any kind of results, and not for a month, and not for a year, but at least for a couple years and maybe even more to shed all that garbage that floats around in your brain and to get to the core of who you really are. And that is very simple too.
You are one with the world.
Ever noticed how experienced writers exude this charming calm? There is a presence about them, isn't there? Same can be said about Tibetan monks. These are the people who have found inner piece by being able to shut out the daily incessant chatter that polluted their heads.
So how do you go about achieving this state? How the fuck do you focus on your writing when you had no previous experience and don't know where to begin?
You start building a habit.
The rest of the post is here.