Friday, July 31, 2009

An Unfocused Mind

I am at a quandary on what to write about today. The problem is not that I lack interesting subjects, I have many to choose from. Nor is it that I don't feel like writing a post, because the motivation is certainly there. The problem is deeper and hard to explain in quantitative terms. Basically my thoughts are unfocused and my attention drifts from subject to subject. Each word I write is dragged, kicking and screaming, from me.

There are reasons why I am unable to bring clarity to the concepts in my mind, some of which I will not discuss today. Suffice to say, this time of the year always makes me a little numb and disorganized.

Of the reasons I will talk of, some are physical, like the facts that I haven't been sleeping well and am quite tired, or that I have a headache at the moment. Certainly these factors will make one a wee bit bleary.

Then there are issues that have more to do my personality. As a rule I dabble in too many subjects at once, flitting from one to the other in a haphazard way. So far, while writing this post alone, I have visited and explored the the following sites:,,,,,,, in addition to my custom Google homepage, where I read my morning comics. I have also been reading my e-mails and wandering away from the computer to take care of whatever leaps into my brain at the moment.

Writing when you are as incoherent as I feel at the moment is difficult. Every sentence is a struggle. I keep rereading what I have written over and over, looking for a theme that can tie this mishmash together. That theme appears to be trying to write when you really can't, which may be another way of describing writer's block.

I have been here before, when writing upon my story. Staring at a screen, flipping from section to section, chapter to chapter. Reading a little, editing a little, then being distracted by something and forgetting what you were doing. Fighting to concentrate, and being unable to.

It is incredibly frustrating to write in this condition. There were times when I stopped writing for months and even years at a time because I felt this way. Not all the time, mind you, but enough to drain the joy and desire of writing out of me. In the past I simply couldn't summon the will to stare at the screen knowing that the best I could hope for was random drivel. Now I know that it is worth producing the drivel anyway, just so long as I keep producing something. Writing that is dreck can be improved and corrected, but there is nothing to fix if you write nothing at all.

So despite my being tired, distracted, and befuddled, I have cobbled together something for today's post that I hope is somewhat on topic and perhaps useful to someone. For me it has mainly been an effort to not yield to the seductive ease of not writing at all.

1 comment:

  1. I think it is fair for me to say that we have ALL felt that way from time to time. I often feel completely unfocused and unmotivated, mainly because I have too many creative outlets, but I won't go into that here. I have devised a silly sort of way to force the valve open on my creative outlet when I just feel unfocused.

    If nothing you write -- or have in your head -- feels coherent, write the incoherent. I like to take a leaf from Alice in Wonderland on this one. Half of that book made little to no sense, and the very famous poem from that was mostly made up words. But it works. Write down literally the first words that come to your head, whether they make sense or not. Make yourself write out words at an even pace, paying no attention to whether they are verbs or pronouns. I'll give you an example from one I wrote out last week:

    "If the brain had no feeling and the word had no meaning, then the apples that fell from the Gruup tree meant that it was four o'clock."

    Yes, I wrote that. Great stuff, no? But, as I was writing that and the 10 sentences I try to flush out, my brain function kicked in and I thought of a neat way to end my Chapter 2. What I was writing was total schlock. But what it did was the important thing.

    As for the other problems, sometimes it is best to wait a day. But if your main problem is unfocused confusion, make it work for you.