Saturday 21 April 2012

Finding Opportunities

With two active and high demand children, my writing time isn't as regular as I might like.  But I'm getting much better at finding opportunities.  Nathan has a weekly forty-five minute hip-hop class.  I could drop him off and then run errands but instead I bring my little netbook with me and sit on the hall floor and write.

I have discovered I don't do well with continuing projects I've been working on through the week.  Instead I have one project that I work on specifically at that time, my short story Got Ghosts?  It gives me a little mental refresher, the equivalent of a writing palate cleansing.  A lot of writers advise sticking to one thing and working through it so that you don't lose momentum, but I seem to do better if I have multiple stories on the go.  Of course, if I go too far in that direction, I end up scattering my attention and nothing gets finished.

I've always done better with a little distraction in my life.  It's why I listen to music constantly, particularly if I want to get a task done quickly.  Otherwise, my brain comes up with its own distractions and those can take over the whole brain, leaving me standing there daydreaming.  It used to drive my parents and teachers nuts because I actually got my homework done faster and better in front of the TV.

Things change and I find I can't pay attention to as many things as I used to.  I used to be able to read a book, watch TV and listen to a radio program all at the same time and I could tell you what was going on in each of them.  Now I might be able to follow two things at once, but only one of them will stick in my long term memory.

I think it's important to pay attention to what works for you as an individual.  We have so many experts telling us so many conflicting opinions.  We're bombarded with dire advice about our character, habits and prospects.  But people are different.  What works for me might not work for you and vice versa.  What's important is to be honest about what is and isn't working.  Don't get caught up in what you think you "should" be doing.

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