Focus is not just for cameras…

Okay, so this in yet another informative (not really) fun filled (uh…no…) blog entry into my writing. Its part of what I have charged myself with doing to keep the blog up to date while I procrastinate regarding some photography work that has be down and getting more writing finished.

I’ve always been imaginative. The first time I can remember actually creating a story and putting it in print was when I was around seven years old. I had gotten the new Missile Command game for my Atari and was completely enthralled by it. I remember handwriting a four page story about aliens that were attacking the Earth and trying to take out our cities, and a group of Missile Commanders that were given the assignment of protecting those cities; very Buck Rogerish (my favorite television show at the time) and very optimistic. I later took that four page story and turned it into a twelve page hand drawn comic complete with folded lined paper and staples in the middle. It was modeled after some of the small comics that were starting to show up in the Atari games at the time. No idea what happened to it, but it most likely was tossed as my Mom cleaned my room.

I related that story because at seven years old I had more focus than I do now. Of course, my life revolved around school, comic books, fantasy novels, old classic monster movies, and playing an Atari 2600 on a black and white thirteen inch television I was allowed in my room. I remember building a three story play set for my Star Wars figures out of nothing by tape, Popsicle sticks, bendy straws, and old cereal boxes. I really believe that if kids ever realize the power of their own minds at that age, all of us “adults” will be in deep doodie.

So, as if to illustrate my point, let me know get back to what I originally wanted my subject to be, how I stay focused on writing.

The answer is simple, I don’t.

I currently do a good bit of my writing while I am at my real world job. Often have some down time and I am stationed in-front of a computer anyway (all day), so it works out. I keep my writing on a little sixteen gigabyte thumb drive and carry it from work to home daily. I work on multiple projects at a time. Currently I have am editing/revising a short story, working on something that looks to be turning into a novella, translating a two-hundred and sixty plus page graphic novel script into a prose novel, and trying to work on an outline for another novel. I have a backlog of short stories and a couple of partially complete works that need attention as these other projects are finished also. I also take the occasional photography gig when time allows, and play Mr. Mom in the afternoon for my kids while my wife works her tail off teaching music to elementary and high school kids.

I sometimes get to hang out with friends, and occasionally run a pen and paper roleplaying game. Those times I am inevitably asked, by those who know I write, if the adventures they are playing will end up in my stories. My answer is always, much to the players disappointment, is no, they won’t. I know of several writers who run their adventures past role players as a way to proof their work ( few big name ones), but it just never seemed to be something I was interested in doing. A RPG session consists of collaboration between the Narrator (Dungeon Master, Storyteller, what have you) and his players. Whether you are running an original adventure or a pre-written module, it is a give and take. I’ve been burned on collaborations to often to give something that I’m pouring my heart into to someone else again. Don’t get me wrong, I want to collaborate in the future, just not right now… not with my current batch of babies.

So to reiterate my earlier statement, as this article shows, I really don’t focus on any one thing, unless it is the thing currently in-front of me. I tend to jump around and listen to the voices in my head, whichever is yelling the loudest is the one who will get the most attention. After a while they get tired and take a rest so I can let one of the other kids out. But lately, I think they have realized that they need to give each other more space, as I am getting more and more work done on one piece over another.

Everyone is different. I know of an author who claims she cannot focus on writing unless she has her over the ear headphones on listening to white noise. Another once told me that he had to have a cigarette before he started writing, and a cold glass of wine (or two) to loosen the spirits as he wrote. Me? Well, if I am at my real world job, I seem to need the hum of fluorescent lights, a constantly ringing telephone, and people coming up to me every ten or fifteen minutes asking me to help them with some office related task or needing to be checked in for their appointment.

At this stage, I need the interruptions; they force me to focus on what I am writing just that little bit more than when I am at home with my Spotify playing whichever soundtrack I need for background sound that day.

To each his or her own.

But I do have my own dream writing place, that place that I promised myself when I sell a novel and make a little money off the writing that I will be able to transition to.

I’ll talk about that next time.

Till then, take care and God bless…

Stacy

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