Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Focus" on Productivity

Experimented this month with telling myself, when I'm drifting-- "Focus!" And then focusing on the task at hand. It helps. Drifting wasn't daydreaming exactly. It's numbness from overload [insert long backstory here] or it's odysseys through the Web and its news, like trying to find out what John Updike died of. My Updike story: Another writer and I, back in our 20s, strolling in our paradise of Harvard Square bookstores, spotted John Updike -- he'd just passed us on the sidewalk. "I hate his books," said my friend. "I hate his books too," I replied. We turned around and yelled after him, "We hate your books!"

But I was talking about focus. It helps to say it aloud or have it on a Post-It. With this discipline, production and revision improved vastly. Now and then one must relax, but I do that 75 percent less than formerly, and do it consciously. Life is short and art is long. It seems that focus fits them together.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my god. I laughed so hard at your Updike story! I was just expecting... I don't know... another sad tribute? A sweet memory? Ha!

    I have never read his books. Always meant to, but they never really grabbed me to look at them.

    He died of lung cancer, I believe.