Sunday, April 18, 2010

Zone in

I was cruising through my Twitter feed earlier today, and there was one post that summed up pretty much everything that got me fired back up on my work in progress.

The post was from the always quality feed of @AdviceToWriters, which posted this quote from the great Jack London: "Don't write too much. Concentrate your sweat on one story rather than dissipate it over a dozen."

I am not surprised that Jack London said something better than I could, and this is a great point. Multi-tasking is something wonderful - when you've got to, say, conduct an interview for work on your cell phone while you're driving to another interview and you're writing out a grocery list when you're stuck at a stop light. It's not so wonderful (at least for me) when it comes to my creative writing.

When I spread myself too thin, then my writing gets thin, too. I like having juicy hunks of stuff for the reader to take a bite out of, and that takes concentration. So I have to get down with the blinders on dive into one project. I can't have your feet in two different swimming pools and expect to get anywhere. Actually, all that accomplishes is making me look stupid.

I've posted recently that I got some new ideas while working on the new novel. All I've managed to do with them was write them down, but I haven't really written on them yet. Now I know that I'm not going to work on those until this draft is all finished.

Distractions can be a real pain in the ass. And I include Twitter on this list. Don't get me wrong, I love reading what my followers have to say, and I love retweeting the stuff I find particularly insightful/funny/unbelievable/just-plain-honest/etc. But I KNOW I spend too much time on there - time that could be spent editing/writing/rewriting/sleeping.

There is no way to get rid of all distractions, and I doubt I'll stop looking at the internet while I go through the process of wrapping up this second draft. But just because you get distracted doesn't mean you have to lose focus.


  1. I am a multi-tasker when it comes to novel writing. Sure, there is the occasional month where I focus on only one novel but it doesn't happen too often. I do better when I am able to work on different ones at the same time instead of putting everything into a single book.

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