Clarity and Focus

Of the blogs I read with some regularity, both The Writer Mama, Christina Katz and Women on Writing have referenced both Clarity and Focus within the past two weeks.  Spring is a tough time for writers – especially for writers with kids.  Kids take up time and pull focus away from writing.  Writing lacks clarity when the kids are around and asking for attention, which is their right to ask of a parent.  In the summer it only gets worse with kids out of school, vacations taken, and other various yet enjoyable distractions.

The writer has to regroup, re-focus and figure out priorities.  Writers sometimes need a little retreat from life to de-clutter not so much the activities or even the desk drawers, but the mind.  A writer’s brain becomes full of everyday life things like laundry, bills and kids.  Add to that making a living, selling work and marketing oneself.  And rattling around, sometimes creating the very largest distraction, are fictional characters.  My good friend Trish Wooldridge recently wrote a great post on all the characters in her head that push real life to the margins.  Sometimes it works like that, and sometimes it works the opposite way.  It’s a constant push-pull relationship.  So a retreat is necessary to de-clutter the brain – at least a little.

I am very lucky in that I have a generous husband who understands this issue well.  Once and often twice a year, I get to spend three or even four days alone in a hotel room, talking to no one, and doing nothing except writing, reading and watching a some mindless TV.  I don’t even go out of the hotel much – I just let my mind wander and chill.

So far, 2010 has been a good year as far as getting my writing house in order.  I’ve written more this year than I have in a while, and I’m beginning to learn to say “no” to outside activities in order to concentrate on my writing life.  Baby steps, as they say.

Clarity and Focus.  You can’t be a writer without them.  Thank you, my writing guides.

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