Where is your concentration?

images_074 Yes, here I am searching for my concentration. As you can see, there is a lot of scraps of paper, twisted paper, eyes staring into space, and nothing getting done. I am in that lost phase of work. I can’t focus and my mind strays to other projects, which are not complete. What is going on? OVERLOAD. One word says it all, but why? We will look into this situation and it is shared by many. A study from Microsoft, about a year ago, discovered we have an average attention span of eight seconds. EIGHT? So, I began counting 1, 2,…..up to 8. Sure is not a long time. Our brain takes in most everything and do you realize how fast it works to keep us going on different projects? No wonder we get lost, confused, when there is so much to do and so little time. We need to step back…STOP, LOOK, LISTEN.
With the stop part, look around where you are and count the ways of instant gratification.  I can name just a few from my desk:  television,  channel changer (or whatever you want to call it), microwave, cell phone, coffee maker, any device that helps us get something faster and faster. Our brain picks these up and gets habituated to the stimuli. This is where we need to STOP from time to time and maintain your concentration. Give the brain a break. Take some deep breaths and slow your thoughts and heart rate down. Inhale in slow motion, and exhale in slow motion. LISTEN to yourself as you list the tasks you need to do. There are scads of them, but do they need to be done immediately? If there are a lot, make a list and do it the ‘old’ fashioned way…prioritize. When you stop to make the list, you are in a sense giving the brain a breather. As you prioritize, the list may get smaller and you can incorporate some tasks.
We have wrapped ourselves around multitasking and then find we need to go back and make corrections. A cell phone is a nightmare when it is turned on 24/7. You may not answer, but always look to see who is calling or who has called and this distracts you from what you are doing. Then we have to look back to what we were doing and sometimes the thoughts are not there or we cannot put them back in the same pace. Bless our brain, it can’t handle more than two big tasks simultaneously. A part of out brain is designed to work on one task while another part of our brain focuses on another task. There is no room for a third task.
Yet we can help ourselves by deep breathing and keeping our mind in the present instead of letting it wonder. This can be accomplished by turning off the cell phone or putting it on a ‘do not disturb’ notification, and then hiding it in a drawer. You will not fall off the earth. Now, think again at the difference between your days and your nights. (It might be backwards if you have a night job.) We all know to dwindle down the TV, the computer, and begin to relax before we fall into bed. At night your breaths become less labored, more relaxed, and your brain gets energized. You wake up to a new day with energy and the ability to make this YOUR CONCENTRATION DAY. How many times have we been told….stop and smell the roses. With our level of activities daily, now is the time to give those roses some sniffs.
This also applies to exercise. We need this to keep our bodies and mind working and in good order. Sometimes, we work frantically hoping to gain the results of a slimmer body, more curves, bigger biceps. Then after a couple of weeks, the gym doesn’t look so inviting. We want instant gratification.  But, do you stop and ask yourselves, how long it took you to get out-of-shape? No. Slow down and get your only body in shape physically, mentally, and spiritually. Time is a great healer of all ails, but it takes time, perseverance, and you will gain results as well as your brain.

Happy Concentration. Healthy You. A Happier You.


What Inspires You?

On FireWhat gets you going every day? A little fire under our feet, or in the pen we are using to write, or the fingers on the keyboard?

Sometimes, we do not think about the actions that propel us to go forward in whatever endeavor we attempt. This is life and we all need to make certain we do things that put some balance in our lives. We all need to be influenced by inspiration. So, where do we get these ideas?

Inspiration is everywhere, except sitting around waiting for these powers to come jump in your lap. We need to be ready and willing to step out and see what is missing in our lives.

As writers, some of our inspiration comes from exploring new surroundings, getting new ideas for our stories. These come from being around other writers, whether critique groups, brainstorming groups, or professional organizations. But, we need the stimulation of others to create new energy.

No matter what you like doing, being alone without other people is not living a balanced life. If you love to cook and always stumble around with the ‘old-hand-me-down’ recipes, you are not reaching toward new inspirations. You need to be with other people who love trying new tastes, new food groups, and be stimulated by the end results.

This could be for gardeners. Yes, if getting outside, digging in the dirt, planting flowers or seeds for a vegetable garden is what you want to do, then make certain you do it. Stimulation is great for the soul and life.

Exercise is another area where we can get inspiration. Once you establish a routine, no make that a daily routine, your body will crave these actions from being outside and meeting other walkers or runners. What about the gym? You will receive motivation from other members, meet different people, and exchange thoughts and ideas.

Inspiration is all around us: the change of seasons, the opportunities to do something different, and increase our creative processes. This about finding your passion or passions and going for whatever it is. Obstacles, of course, lIfe is not perfect, but when we get outside our small little box we try to live in, WOW! Explore these adventures, they are out there for each of us. As writers, we are no different. We need creativity, obstacles, passion and living life to the fullest, and give our readers the best book ever.

Endorse Encouragement. Propel Motivation. Share Stimulation.



unicorn danceYou have gone through a process of allowing yourself to use writing as a healing tool, now you can put creativity to what you learned. Go back to your journal and revisit each section.

Section One: Free Writing. What did you learn about yourself, your life, traumas, inhibitions, and the exhilaration you experienced?

Section Two: Invisible Partner. This is where you shared your secrets, longings, disappointments, and loves. Pay close attention.

Section Three: Labels. Read over each label you gave your feelings and see how they match each section in your 3-ring notebook. With your labels identified, it is time to work with your characters.

Take a good look around your home. Is there a lot of clutter? Would you work better if the ‘stuff’ was gone? How does your protagonist, antagonist, or secondary characters react to their clutter? In your story, characters bring their baggage to the pages and you need to show how they lighten their load(s). There may be one trauma left that keeps the reader hanging on until the last chapter, the last sentence, and on the last page.

What about all your secrets and loves? No, you do not list them, rather pass them on to your characters. When you rethink this section, prod yourself to go back and be an observer. Does any music or favorite song come to mind? Forget the era and remember the music. Let your character(s) feel the same beat, the slow dance, the rhythm, and the sensuous movement of bodies together.

Looking back over your notebook, is there a time when a desire you needed went the other way or the decision you made floundered? Okay, you have some insecurities and you can give these to your characters. Let them make your mistakes over and over and over. Show their anguish and how they turned away from new choices and kept repeating the same ones. Then, you show the characters pulling themselves upward, out of their messes, and your reader will relate to the incidents.

With all you have learned about yourself, you are able to create new thoughts, ideas, stimulate the brain and crawl out of the ruts. You have emotional freedom and can play with your characters.