Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Minute: On Focus

I occured to me during school today (and daily occurs to me on most school days, but it slips my mind) that focusing on one thing is difficult. My mind likes floating off to fantasize about possible directions my book could take, or to daydream about what it would be like to live during the medieval ages, or (like today) to fixate on the wrong subject. Let me tell you, it is hard to focus on blood stain analysis in Biology when you're thinking about food-related Spanish words.

But, back to what this post is about. Focusing on writing one story, or sometimes just on writing, can be difficult. You get distracted by a new idea, a new setting, a new main character. And when you chase after it, your story gets lost in the dust.

(I found this on another blog. Or possibly Tumblr; it's hard to remember which.)

How to prevent your story from being lost in the dust:

1. Give yourself a little downtime. Take a break. Just... eat a snack or watch TV. Take a walk or a nap. Draw a picture. Just do something unrelated to writing, because your mind will explode from stress if you don't.

2. Write new ideas in a notebook and come back to them later. If they look embarassingly idiotic now, then be relieved that you didn't chase after it. If they still look staggeringly genius-material, then write a second story... after you finish the first.

3. Try to incorporate your new ideas into your current book. That won't work for everything - like that new show "Alien Surf Girls" on Nickolodeon, because I don't think those two ideas fit together at all. But it can work for a lot of stuff. After all, you can make your novel as outrageous as you want to. No one will care if your vampire romance has Lilo and Stitch in it if you write it right.

4. Set goals and rewards for yourself. If your goal is to write 5,000 words today, and you manage it, then you may have the ice cream and sprinkles. Or if you plan to successfully incorporate aliens and centaurs in your general fiction story, then you may buy those pretty new stickers at the craft store (I love stickers - they're sticky and fun).

My basic advice to you is to stop stressing. Focusing on your writing too much will give you a headache, and focusing on it too little will get you nowhere. So find a balance between the two, and don't forget to reward yourself. A little positive reinforcement will help you associate writing with happiness instead of stress.

Have a blessed Monday (if that's possible) and keep writing! :)

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