the presence of focus

Whatever we focus on will grow. If I focus my time and attention on any particular area of my life, it will grow and evolve, and sometimes come to completion and be finished. When I focus on completing written works, page after page filled with words appear on my computer screen, and eventually, on tidy white pieces of paper.

Whether those words say what I want them to say in the way I want them to say it is an entirely different manner and requires a different sort of focus. That is called “rewriting focus” and even right now, I want to go back and rewrite the phrase “entirely different manner” because it is a cliché and I don’t want to write with clichés. But, clichés are a way of getting an idea down on paper quickly before the other ideas that are pushing to be heard and written get lost in the thousand others bumping up against each other. Eventually, I fear my ideas will give up trying to escape my weeny brain and retreat back to my subconscious. By the way, “weeny” is not a real word. It is the second half of another cliché “teeny weeny” which all of us have heard. “Teeny weeny” refers to something smaller than small . . . like miniscule. I do not have a “teeny” miniscule brain but sometimes there are so many ideas clamoring crashing the exits, that my brain often feels “weeny”- incapable of containing all those ideas at one time.

Enough of that already. The paragraph above represents what I have been allowing myself to do for the past couple of weeks: allowing life to distract me from myself. Even in writing, I digress and go off on tangents that have nothing to do with my original thought when I sat down. I sat down to write about focus and end up defining slang.

Rewriting a piece often requires that I walk away from it for a couple of hours and occupy myself with something else while I digest the words at some unnamed internal place. The idea is out there captured inside my computer. It went from intangible to digital and will be tangible when I print it out on paper.

What is important to rewriting is the empty space inside me reserved for that particular piece of writing. If I focus on that empty space, more of that idea will grow there. The writing becomes more of itself. To get to the empty space, I must sit down at regular intervals and visit with my words outside of myself . . . whether I “want” to or not regardless of whether now is a “good” time or not.

If I wait for the right mood to strike to write, I will be waiting forever. And all those ideas will go off to find someone else who will write about them.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

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6 Responses to “the presence of focus”

  1. holessence Says:

    “What is important to rewriting is the empty space inside me reserved for that particular piece of writing. If I focus on that empty space, more of that idea will grow there.”

    Barbara, I like how you phrased that. I think of that particular space as a garden — a place that’s growing all the time, that requires time and attention so it doesn’t turn into a tangled mess of weeds. I nurture it. I cultivate it.

    And that’s precisely where you’ll find me during this three-day weekend, tending my garden.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Laurie . . . I think I may have a tangled mess of weeds . . . too many conveyor belts of processes that won’t stop! I need do as you are doing: set aside sacred space for focusing on just one thing about my writing each day, and then some extra hours on the weekends.

  2. jeffstroud Says:

    Barbara,

    Much of what you say is so true for me, even my last blog/pages begun that way. Trying to talk myself into writing while writing because earlier I tried to convince my self not to write my blog/pages. When I finished I was relieved and glad that I did follow my heart instead of my head.
    I can not and will not compare my writing to yours for I am not a writer, yet I can over think a photograph, be too close to the shot at the time, due to expectations of what I thought the shot was going to be. So I give the session a few days to set and then watch it with some music as a slide show. Usually this allows me to view the work from another perspective.
    When I did have to write papers I would always print them out to read them, to edit them, for some reason from the written page it all looks and feels different.

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Jeff — it is so funny that you say you will not compare your writing to mine because sometimes I read what you write and think to myself “I wish I could write with that kind of honesty, or color my prose with those kinds of words!” Of course, you are writing with YOUR voice, not mine. So do not dismiss yourself as a writer — you are clearly expressing who you are with your words as well as ideas for all of us to relate to.

      And I think you are right about printing out papers to read and edit. It is different online than it is on paper.

  3. sandiwhite Says:

    Barbara, I love it. Some days I am the high Queen of Digression, I can start with a point of focus and within a short space of time, I am not only out of the county, but completely off the map. I have at times felt like one of those little roaming pool vacs, you prime it, let it go in the swimming pool and off it goes, mindlessly roaming, circling and bouncing off the walls it dead-ends to. There are days when my focus is so laser tight it can burn a cloud from the sky. There are times when I’m happy that anything gets done at all. For instance, I go to the garden with every intention of rescuing the tomatoes from the weeds. I am armed to the teeth with weapons of wood and iron. In the heat of the attack, I pause for a moment to catch my breath and survey the progress. My sharp eye lands on a redbud tree in need of pruning. Oh, No! This will only take a minute….Okay. That was 2 hours ago, the tomatoes are still strangling in weeds, but all the redbuds have new haircuts. Oops! Pardon me, I digress…..
    Excellent post!

  4. Barbara Kass Says:

    Hi, Sandi — your analogy is so appropriate. Sometimes I sit down to do a little research on a topic and actually never get to that topic because a another topic waved its little idea in the air saying “look at me! I’m more interesting than that! Just imagine what you could write about me!” and there I am for two hours reading about that topic and not writing about my first chosen topic. Bad habits . . .

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