My “take aways” from my recent Blissdom experience were numerous – new friends, fresh ideas & inspiration, and helpful factoids. And I figured out why my photos have been crap for months!
But the hour at Blissdom that had the greatest impact on this MOMonADD was “Uninterrupted Thought: The Power of Focus” with Megan Jordan (of VelveteenMind).
Prior to the conference, as I read thru the session descriptions, it was as tho’ “Uninterrupted Thought” jumped up off the screen, waved, whistled and called out my name, “Hey, Lollie, over here! I’ve got just what you need.”
It’s time to protect your writing process. Your thoughts are your raw materials, under a constant barrage of distractions. Twitter! Facebook! Instagram! For the love of all that is glittery, Pinterest!Imagine what you would create if you secured uninterrupted thought. Learn to build rewarding boundaries and immersive work habits in an entertaining workshop designed for writers in today’s social media landscape. Examine the work habits and fascinating writing spaces of top writers (peek into their offices!) as we develop your own plan for protecting your writing process.
Now, we ADDers know a thing or two about . . .
- battling distractibility
- the perpetual campaign to get & stay organized
- struggling with time management
- and dealing with the guilt that comes from feeling like a failure at all of it
Heck, most regular-brained folks that I know are happy to discover a new trick for maintaining focus, but boy was I surprised when I slipped into the back of that ballroom (because I late, of course) and found it almost full.
Megan talked, I listened. One writer working everyday towards uninterrupted thought, speaking to another writer who only dreams of this mythical place they call “focused”. She shared some wonderful, voyeuristic slides of writers’ work spaces – a desk next to a window in a cozy bedroom; a sleek home office; a kitchen table cluttered with laptop, iPad, iPhone, papers and a jumbo java; a laptop perched on the arm of a leather club chair.
But the physical space isn’t nearly as important as preserving the mental space, protecting the writer’s mind.
I don’t have a bullet point list of quotes and strategies to share with you – for one I was too focused to update my status, tweet or instagram. I didn’t even pick up my favorite fountain pen to scribble down a single word.
Megan offered up a plethora of statistics, insights, wisdoms and suggestions – most of which hit my brain and exploded in a colorful and urgent call to action, a battle cry to reclaim my writer-self.
Normally I return from blogging conferences feeling overwhelmed and defeated – what’s the use of trying, I’m already too far behind – and I let the notes and business cards slowly get buried by the tides that engulf my desk and my mind. But this time was different, and I came home different.
Yes, I arrived home exhausted, my feet pleading for me to sit down and not move, but my writer’s mind was energized and ready to work.
Once I got caught up on the laundry, restocked the pantry and fridge, sifted thru my various email inboxes, and I set about making some changes to my daily routine.
No More Early Morning Social Media Orgy
I have stopped waking, rolling over, grabbing my iPad and sifting thru my various social media and email accounts. I always thought this was a good idea – find the urgent stuff, tend to it while still lazing in bed, so I could face my day without worrying about some fire I didn’t know was burning – but Megan warned this habit creates “open loops” that will nag and distract you from what you need to be focusing on.
Get Up, Get It Done
This is not new writerly advice, and I’ve tried it before . . . and failed. Five o’clock in the morning and I were never meant to be friends. But all too often my day comes to an end and I have no strings of words to show for my hours at the computer.
Bills have been paid, emails answered, sports registrations completed, and I’ve facebooked, tweeted and pinned, but that post I promised myself I would finish that day is no closer to done. I get so wrapped up trying to get all the “stuff” done (thinking I won’t get distracted when I finally start writing), that I’m always I running out of hours and energy.
It was time to give the early morning writer’s wake up call another shot!
I’d like to give myself two hours of writing time each morning, but I also know this needs to be a gradual shift for my night-owl body clock to make a permanent shift. The first week I set my alarm 30 minutes earlier than my usual 6:45. The next week I set that pesky alarm 45 minutes earlier. And this week I’ve bumped it back a full hour.
Past attempts at early morning office time were squandered sifting thru the “noise”, thinking if I quieted things I would then be able to focus on writing later, but this time around I march down the hall to my tiny office, close the door and force myself to ignore all temptations and get to the writing.
I can’t say I’m 100% successful at staying on task, but with each passing morning, my determination and focus strengthens, and I’m capturing more of my words on screen or paper than I have in a very long time.
Turn Off, Tune Out
I have turned off all my notifications – email, calendar, reminder list, Facebook, Twitter, etc. All those pesky annoyances that beckon for my attention, lying in wait for me when my ADD pleads for a “just a quick break, a reward.”
Now, when I’m writing, I’m writing, nothing else! And boy does it feel good!
There is still much to be done – an upcoming site redesign (wa-hoo!), an attic and basement that need merciless purging, business ideas and leads that need to be followed up on, rooms that desperately need repainting – but now I’m doing the one thing that keeps me sane, and I’m doing it everyday, and from that practice comes a unique and powerful calm.
Uninterrupted thought, time management, being present, finding balance, making steady progress, and not comparing my path to other’s – these are goals that take time, determination, confidence and practice to achieve.
Optimism and enthusiasm have visited me many, many times throughout my life, only to be squashed by the Godzilla in my head named ADD, but this time they have arrived with an almost yogic calm. Maybe it’s the daily writing, maybe it’s the hot yoga classes, maybe it just me growing older & wiser . . . whatever the equation, at this moment, I’m liking the sum.
Heartfelt thanks to you, Miss Velveteen Mind, for showing this MOMonADD the way back to the writer’s path!