Ignore the Roses
It’s a beautiful, sunny day here in Memphis and today I’m going to briefly talk to you about maintaining focus and concentration, about shutting out all the noises going around you, all the wonderful things happening this time of year–flowers blooming, bees buzzing, the world coming to life. When it’s a miserable, rainy day, it’s much easier to write (or sleep, for that matter, but if you want to be known as a writer and NOT a sleeper, get off your duff, and get to the making of the words).
Let’s face it, the world is full of distractions all the time: new movies coming out (like Thor) or video games (still haven’t played Dragon Age 2) and endless streams of books and lots of other coolness. Even if you did nothing else, there is more things existing on our dear, glorious, ball of dirt you could ever get to. Heck, a lot of folks can’t plow through The Game of Thrones series (I still need to catch up on those and I haven’t watched any of the new series yet, thank you very much). Life is busy. If you’re creating stuff for other people, it’s even busier, because you can’t consume and create simultaneously. (If you did, it’s going to influence your work at the best, and I’ll accuse you of copying at the worst.)
So, it may sound sad and cruel, but you don’t always come here to be cuddled do you? I imagine there are better spaces and places to go than that. I give you the skinny as I see it, even if it’s a bitter pill made of absinthe laced with arsenic wrapped in old lace. Swallow it down dry. You’ll remember it that way. You have to ignore the roses. Here’s the secret though. You don’t have to ignore them all the time. You have to recharge the batteries. You have to shut down the mind and do something entirely mindless or otherwise engage other parts of your mind. For example, I finally got around to playing Portal. (It would be called Portal 1 now, by most folks, but when I got it, I played Half-Life 2, but I got sucked into Team Fortress 2, and lived on that for many hours over Christmas break whenever that came out.)
I read Amanda Palmer talking about artists aren’t on a schedule. They don’t necessarily do what you want. And the same applies for writers. She even said that. And that’s all good. (Yes, I’m bastardizing grammar right now. Yes, I know the rules. Yes. This. IS. For effect. Thank you very much.) However, here’s the big news flash, you don’t get to be a slacker until after you have done some work, made your mark. Well, you can, but water seeks its own level. You will find, as most successful folks do, once you’ve struggled getting to a certain tier, the problem won’t be ignoring the roses, but taking the time to smell them. That’s a talk for another person on another day.
Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!