This is as much a public self-accountability call to act as it is a blog post. Considering the length of previous posts, I’ll try to keep this one comparatively short.
The truth is, I’ve almost lost track of my passion. Almost.
But how is that possible, one might ask?
The answer is infuriatingly simple:
Distraction. And my productivity and sense of inspiration appears to run on a pendulum, swinging from one end of the spectrum to the other at regular intervals, ranging from excitement so great I can barely contain it, to feeling so down that I can barely lift myself off my grubby couch.
Maybe I rid myself of the thing.
I’ve come to realize that it takes very little for me to get distracted from things. It is a character flaw that I have struggled with for some time, but only in recent years have I come to really recognize it as an issue. I know not whether I have some form of diagnosable Attention Deficit Disorder, but the idea has been suggested to me more than once.
I would not be anything special were I to confess that I have difficulty concentrating or focusing, least of all on my writing. But what is worse, being bereft of the solution, or knowing the solution and then simply forgetting it?
The most effective thing I’ve ever done when I’ve wanted to be productive, whether it’s with fiction-writing or editing, is set aside time in a dedicated workspace. Jevon Knights outlines this most effectively in his blog post about the Criteria for the Perfect Writing Space, and not unlike my own tactic, his idea encourages finding a place away from home.
You should really check out his ebook, The Knights Scroll. It’s a collection of short stories, both Science Fiction and Fantasy, and you can download it for FREE. I’ve read it, I dig it, and anyone who reads my material or is remotely interested in the stuff I do and like will enjoy it.
Regarding writing spaces, though, there is seriously no shortage of cafes in Sài Gòn. I mean, you couldn’t throw a shuriken without it sticking into the sign of some cafe nearby.
I have, however, settled in a is looking to be more of a permanent living situation (a new house), and only recently have I established a secure internet connection, as well as a room dedicated to office work.
The result has been phenomenal.
That and two cups of càphê sữa đá significantly uplifted my mood and filled me with much needed motivation.
I’ve always been averse to being dependent on any form of substance.
But is coffee a terrible thing to want to drink when one’s life purpose is to focus and write?
I think not.
The success of people around me has also been inspiring. I have no excuse; yes, there are life distractions and responsibilities, but one always had time – even just one hour a day – to write. It’s mostly a matter of getting organized and forming a system.
In fact Lifehacker.com has here a great list of for How To Stick To A Writing Schedule.
Surprise surprise, one of their bullet points is setting aside a place to write.
For me, it’s more complicated than getting up earlier, or walking to a nearby cafe and ‘setting up shop’ every day, which are things I’ve tried and have worked. But now, with a home base and office that feels more secure and organized, I find my stresses and creative energies more easily managed.
It’s almost as though my home, wherever that may be, is a real-life metaphor for my brain. If my home is a mess, then my brain is distracted. If things are in order and my home is clean and organized — even if my workspace is in fact away from home — then I can focus. Perhaps that is, or at least part of, the code I can use to understand my inner-psychology to harness creativity.
And, of course, sweet coffee in the middle of the day helps.
Now to train myself to remember that.