Monday, 16 April 2018

Focus a Distracted Mind - Kim Jackways, Writer Side of Life

Kim is a Mum of 2, freelance writer, proofreader, blogger and is currently writing a novel of historical fiction set in 18th century Provence AND a very good friend of mine!! 

Enjoy this, Kim offers so many ideas,
Becky x

Our busy lives leave us time-poor. In between work, school activities, housework and being the perfect mindful parent, we need to make the most of any time we do have. So focus is essential. A distracted brain is not productive. When I started writing three years ago, I would search for the perfect Provencal character name for an hour. I could not write fifty words in a sitting. Imagine my horror, when I found out a novel in my genre would normally be 80-100k words. It seemed like an impossible task. And yet, I had all these ideas screaming loud in my mind, keeping me awake, shadowing my steps.
Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week, so they say. Once the kids were dropped off and the computer was humming and staring at me mournfully, I would dust those shelves and re-organise those drawers that hadn’t been touched in weeks. It was not really helpful, although hygienic and sparkly. I needed to find out how to stop procrastinating and keep my mind on the task.

Make it fun

Find your flow, get motivated. Writing has become my flow. Six hours can seem like one and suddenly it is time to pick up the children. If inspiration strikes at 11:30pm when you are drifting through the fug of dreams, get up and get it down somewhere. If blogging bores you but your secret passion is Game of Thrones, find a way to combine the two.

Find Your People

“Life is hard. Find some really good people to walk through it with.” This quote from Andrena Sawyer resonates with me. Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people. Working from home can be isolating, so finding a group (either online or not) of people doing the same as you do, is a life-saver.

Be Accountable

Announce your goals and you will have an extra push to complete them. Just texting your other half saying 'I'm working on a blog post today', helps. I have written much faster since joining a small group where we post our goals and "sprint" together for a set period of time to achieve our own word count targets. Deadlines also provide a strong push to focus and complete tasks.

Schedule Time

Cultivating an online presence is a big part of the marketing of any small business. It is also a huge black hole of precious time. The online platform is especially important for writers, as agents like to see an existing following or fan base. I like to put an hour into the blog each morning, then an hour or so into research. By that time, I am usually absorbed enough into the 18th century in France that I can then write happily for the rest of the time.

No Distractions

Get off that social media. If you have to do your end-of-year taxes, turning off your phone for an hour or two can help.

Silence the Inner Critic

Stephen Richards states, “Our thoughts create our world.” The way we think about ourselves, our ‘self-talk’, has a huge impact on our attitude and resilience. Instead of thinking, ‘this is a huge pile of compost’, I focus on the fact that without a first draft, there is no block of marble from which to chisel and sculpt. One of the biggest learning curves I have faced is learning to Just Write. This means write without reading, write without thinking of an audience, without cross-checking facts. It becomes a stream of consciousness that leaves no room for perfectionism or doubt. It is a draft that will be edited later. It is freeing.
I have now researched and written over 60,000 words in my manuscript and learnt a lot about focusing on one project for a long time. If I can beat distraction and stick at the same project for years, then I think anyone can use these tips to improve their focus.

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