Adjusting Focus Brings Clarity
“Serious writers write, inspired or not. Over time they discover that routine is a better friend than inspiration.” – Ralph Keyes
After turning in my last paper and taking my last exam, I joked, repeatedly, that I was turning off my brain until the Denver Publishing Institute started in July. The last two years of obsessive studying left me feeling overworked and drained as graduation day approached, and I was relieved to finally not have deadlines to focus on – for just a little while. I don’t know what, exactly, my future career will hold, but somehow I imagine that my intense class schedule, combined with student-me’s dedication to all of the excessive required reading and paper deadlines topped by adult-me’s attempt at keeping up with a household and family needs and extended family health issues can’t be as mind-consuming as solely focusing on adult-me’s responsibilities paired with a full-time job – or maybe it can. But in my own little exhausted bubble, I needed to completely shut down my brain while I waited for the final results of my dedication.
I quickly realized how easy it is to lose focus of what’s important when you choose to turn off your brain. It has been several days since I’ve posted anything on my blog, and I kept wondering why I haven’t felt inspired to write. Naturally, I assumed that my lack of writing inspiration had to have something to do with the lack of regular contact with more people and the required readings that came with the daily-life of studenting. (Yes, I used the word student as a verb on purpose.) Whatever my reason for not writing, it occurred to me that having zero new blog posts over several days also meant that I wasn’t posting on my 500 Words Facebook Page. Zero Blog and zero Facebook posts is not very helpful when trying to build a reader-base from scratch. To remedy this, I decided I would make a quick writing-quote post for my Facebook page (like I had done when I first created the page) so that, at the very least, there would be something new on Facebook while I tried to find inspiration to write a blog post.
On the thinkwritten.com website where I find writing quotes, I was reminded that “Serious writers write, inspired or not. Over time they discover that routine is a better friend than inspiration” (Ralph Keyes). The whole idea for starting my 500 Words Blog was to write intentionally every day. I am serious about writing. And when I was writing every day, it was easier to come up with topics to write about. But I lost sight of my writing goals, only a few months after establishing them, all because I sent my exhausted brain on vacation. In my excitement to temporarily deplete my mind of responsibility, I forgot to exclude my writing life from this brain vacation. At some point I’d decided that missing a day of blogging every once in a while was acceptable, until one missed day felt comfortable enough to merge into two missed days and then three days. Now it’s been four missed days. I need to adjust my focus and write, every day, regardless of inspiration. Thank you, Ralph Keyes, for that reminder.