Thursday, February 18, 2010

If Winter Comes... all know the rest of the quote and here's a little I'm looking forward to:
Unlike during the summer, these are store bought.

January is always the toughest month for me. The holidays are over. Where I live, in the Northern part of the U.S., the sun vanishes far too often. This January and part of February has been particularly difficult. Three close family members had big health issues, two with broken bones and one taking radiation treatments. (Each is doing okay and going to be all right, in time.)

What I've noticed is that I'm even more distracted than usual. And less effective than usual. Gone is much of my focus. So, I sat down for a very few moments and tried to remember what worked in my life to recreate creative focus, even in a snowstorm of "this has to be addressed NOW" emergency distractions.

One, lists work for me. Even if I don't refer back to the list, keeping one keeps me on track.

Two, deadlines work for me. Deadlines for contests, etc. are better, but even self-imposed deadlines keep me going.

Three, forgiving myself works for me. Life intervenes and guilt about what's not accomplished is an energy suck.

Dear readers, do you have suggestions for what works for you when the distraction monster gobbles focus?

Next post, a bit of lying.


Helen Ginger said...

I do lists. I write things on a notepad, even minor things. Then I get to mark them off as they're done. Yippee!

Straight From Hel

Conda Douglas said...

I love marking my items off...

lisa and laura said...

I love lists. Grocery lists, to-do lists, wish lists. I keep a list of all the things I want to buy for the house one day. I know we won't buy them this year or even next year (or probably the year after ;), I just like keeping track.

As for writing, deadlines work and so does a sister who keeps tabs on you. I can rent her out if you want.

Elisabeth said...

Not lists for me, but connections with other people and most of all writing.

I write into it and out of it. Thanks Conda.

Lynda Lehmann said...

I'm sorry about the family health issues, Conda.

Sometimes it helps me to give myself permission to just sit down and quietly comb through things, to find the best attitude or "mental spin" that will help me get through them.

A very conscious process of prioritizing helps, too.

And keep telling yourself: Things will get better!

Carol Kilgore said...

All these things wwork for me, too, Conda. This time of year I'm so ready for spring. It doesn't matter if I live in the north or the south. February makes me want to be outside. But it's still winter here, too. Sigh.

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Swubird said...


I am also experiencing a few problems, and I feel like I'm under the stress of a ten-ton truck. It is difficult and very distracting, and it affects my writing. I can't seem to manage even the simplest sentence.

I do prepare lists, they help, but deadlines do not work for me at times like this. I need more freedom than that. What I do is read like a monster, everything, anything I can get my hands on. But it has to be fiction, I cannot concentrate on nonfiction right now. I even read to my Queen for a half hour before we turn the lights out. It helps her relax. Now I'm not saying that reading like a voracious fiend is a cure for anything organic, but it does help to reduce stress and allows me to regain focus.

Just my two cents.

Happy trails.

Kathy McIntosh said...

I love lists, love checking them off. When I'm really blue, reading helps, too. (Of course it's great when I'm not blue.)
I really feel decadent and pampered if I take a long soaky bath. No time constraints, no deadlines, no rules. Escape.

Cornish Dreamer said...

Hmm. good post. I always write lists but forget where I put them (started to do them in Google documents but forgot to look at them)...

Its definitely important to forgiveness - because guilt really does suck up energy.

Deadlines: a must, otherwise things can keep lingering on.

I think, for me, I'd add: remembering why I want to do something. It gives me the energy to get back on track.