Focus of thought

I was privileged recently to be part of a zoom call organised by a writer on Facebook; It was attended mostly by US writers, so while I was pondering the making of supper, my colleagues across the pond were just getting into their morning stride. But that’s the wonder of live internet communications.

In the course of our discussions, I gleaned that yes, it is very okay to write for twenty minutes at a time; and yes, we can indeed, and often do, listen to music while working. Obsession with particular pieces of music is, it seems, as valid a way of coaxing writing as an obsession with writing itself.

All of which I find so reassuring and helpful in getting back to some kind of work. Until fairly recently, I had come to believe that “writing” means being a devotee of the art, spending days immersed in other worlds, research and writing. Not so. We can have other interests, hopes and dreams, we can be involved in other fields – it is good to be, since that informs our writing – and we can apply focus of thought to write in shorter bursts of twenty minutes or half an hour at a time, providing we focus for that time and do not answer the phone.

Who is going to grudge me twenty minutes of writing time? Who will even notice? It’s not the amount of time we have, or spend, at work, but the direction and application we apply to our efforts. Realising that – and realising how much good thinking can be the result of a few minutes’ concentration – is, for me at this time, the most important thing to hear.

I’ve been stalled, rather ill, and unwilling to consider anything except dealing with the basics. So it’s heartening to realise that I don’t need to have acres of time at my disposal in order to be effective; nor, in order to write, do I need to exclude every other aspect of what makes life interesting. I can mix and match, do a bit here and there, and hope, while I am currently mired in a strange kind of confusion, that the little steps all add up to something worthwhile. That I cannot yet see any kind of end point, may not, at the moment, be the point.  

Thanks for reading.

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