Forgive me for the really terrible pun in the title of this post, but sometimes you have to resort to them.
I wasn’t certain what I should write about today, but then, as I sat on my bed every night this week, struggling to juggle homework and projects, I picked up my phone one more time than I needed to. (Actually, probably a dozen more times than I needed to.) I picked it up because I’d already blocked Twitter on my computer, and I felt that mindless compulsion to look again, even though I knew I wasn’t missing anything.
My attention span really isn’t what it used to be. At the risk of sounding like one of those millennial-hating technophobes, I used to be able to read a 3 or 400 page novel in one sitting without being distracted. Now, I find that much more difficult.
Which is why it occurred to me that the least I could do was put that distraction to good use.
Time for a little, tiny bit of backstory: I have approximately four differing writing projects I’m working on at the moment (in the drafting stage), and one I want to revise by the end of December. I also have homework for a class I’m taking on writing children’s book series. I’ve figured out the timing/how and when I want to work on most of them, except one that’s giving me trouble.
So I put it in the Notes app on my phone, and swore to myself that every time I was supposed to be working on something else on my laptop and opened my phone instead, I would write at least one sentence of that story. That way, I could get something done despite my inability to stay focused. At the moment, I’m doing better than I expected with it. Like all new habits, sometimes it’s difficult to remember, especially when you catch yourself scrolling once again and your first instinct is to throw your phone down on your bed in disgust.
But so far, I’m making decent progress, especially for only one sentence minimum per a slip-up. I don’t think I have much more than 300 words written in my phone story so far, though I’m certain that more will accumulate in the next month or two (the deadline for this particular story is November 30).
I realize using this technique to write is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, if you have trouble with single-minded focus on one project and if you can stick to the actual process, then this could possibly work for you. On the other hand… If you really want to discipline yourself enough to focus on one project at a time, and get your work done more quickly, this is probably not the way to go. I might abandon this approach by this time next month, I might not. That’s something I’m working on becoming used to: that how you work can (and should) change. Until then, though, I’ll stick with this tech-nique a while.