I’ve been “unplugged” for a month now and my to-do list is 300 miles away. It’s stressful being so out of touch with the world and my normal routine, but it’s been a learning experience too. Life is slow and constant and focused; such a huge contrast from the hectic, crisis-management mode I tend to be in at home. It’s not like we’re not super busy, we’re working or playing by the first light of dawn and crashing hard when the sun goes down.
I think the difference is that I’m not being pulled in a million directions. I usually take pride in my ability to do many things at once, but now I’m seeing the benefits of focusing on one thing at a time. I make an effort to get up extra early for dedicated writing time, and without Internet, the time is used quite efficiently. It's amazing how much I can get done when I’m not so easily distracted.
And another odd thing I’ve discovered, when I’m done with a bit of writing, I’m done. I don’t linger on various scenes throughout the day, or replay conversations between characters, or dwell on how to blend sub-plots. A few days ago I realized my WIP didn’t cross my mind all day, and it didn't mean I've lost interest in working on it. I'm ready to dive in every morning.
So this summer, I’m seeing proof that I don’t have to be obsessed with my writing at all times to keep up the momentum. I can devote 100% of my attention to the day’s major and minor events without the guilt of neglecting my characters, and I know I’m not going to lose that driving dedication just because I’m thoroughly invested (and enjoying) something unrelated. I just hope that in the fall, I can remember how relaxing it is to have a less cluttered, more focused mind, and how efficient my writing can be if I’m not multi-tasking at the same time (like checking email or reconfiguring the mental to-do list).
So I think that’ll be my new goal when I get back home: to gradually increase my unplugged, focused, dedicated writing time from the current 45 minutes to at least a few hours. Makes me happy just thinking about it.:-)
Enjoy the summer while it lasts! Whether it be relaxing with a book or challenging your physical and mental limitations.