The Art of Staying Focused

Earlier this week, I was joking with a friend about my commitment issues.

Two years ago, I decided to write “Defamers.” And never in my wildest dreams would I imagine working on the book for two years straight.

People who know me personally can attest to the fact that I have the attention span of a gnat. Nothing — and I mean nothing — could keep me focused for longer than a few weeks, maybe a month tops. Then I drop whatever it is and focus on my next adventure. I was that one kid who drew on one side of a piece of paper. If I made a mistake or if whatever I draw was not up to my personal standards, I’d throw the paper away without once considering trying again by drawing on the other blank side. It was either all or nothing, right then and there. No exceptions.

Two years ago, I had a vision. I was going to write out everything swirling around in my head. I was going to jot down my memories, conjure all my emotions and relive certain experiences so that I would forget. In other words, by the time I published my book, I was going to “forget” everything and start again. The book was meant to be a cathartic release — a process of letting go.

To commit to that desire, I wrote something every day. Originally, I had a daily goal of writing 5,000 words a day, but it felt like a facetious effort. Why limit myself? Why don’t I just write what I know until I don’t feel like knowing anymore? Why don’t I write down every aspect of the thought I wanted to capture — the who, what, when, where, why and how — and walk away when I’m done? I was now in the business of extraction. It wasn’t always pretty. Often times, I was staring at a jumbled word salad with enough typos to choke the greatest copy editors. But I made sure to engage in the writing process daily.

Now that I’ve published my book, I don’t think about the traumatizing events that unfolded. When someone asks me about something I wrote in the book, I feel I have enough mental separation from the material to coolly explain what I’ve been through. All my anger, bitterness and sadness I channeled into the book have been purged from my daily Rolodex of emotions. I was able to clear myself of these emotional obstacles because I committed to being cleared.

So how the heck am I going to write something new without internal strife being my creative muse? Can’t wait to find out!

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