Focus, the illusive muse that craves discipline

A lack of focus can be more stifling than a creative block. There are elements that need to come together to make creative energy a finished product.

For years, I have worked on multiple paintings and writings simultaneously. I’ve always described the problem as being so close to the project that all the details compete and confuse. Starting something new refreshes my perspective but the result is many unfinished bits of creativity that go nowhere.

I’ve learned a valuable lesson teaching painting, when the details overwhelm, I still need to work through them because a student is depending on me. I discovered the ability to find focus; discipline was a byproduct.

I’ve also realized that if you can work through being overwhelmed and not divert your attention, you will learn to lengthen the time you can focus and spend more energy and passion directed in one place.

Once we finish one thing, we have energy and drive that leads us to the next work. Focus allows the creative to persevere through being overwhelmed and a sense of accomplishment builds confidence and feeds excitement.

Learning and Growing: I have realized there is a connection between the feeling of being overwhelmed and learning. Learning something new and complex can be overwhelming; often we read the same thing over and over without comprehension. It’s when we push through the discomfort that the new knowledge starts to make sense.

I think when we avoid the overwhelmed feeling we are delaying our growth and learning potential. Since I have worked through the feeling, I have become more productive and gained confidence.

Discipline is Fuel: Any endeavor we pursue demands some sort of discipline. The creative mind can be the wandering ship that never arrives at any port; discipline is the schedule we set for ourselves.

I’ve heard of writers that write a certain amount of pages each day religiously. I realize now that if there is an excuse or any division in the will, the pages and writing will dwindle as our lives and distractions insist we don’t have time.

Much like working out, at first it is a foreign process, uncomfortable and easily delayed but the more we works through the process; it becomes a habit hard to break.

Challenge Yourself: We need to have goals and than we need to discipline ourselves to meet those goals. When we climb a mountain we don’t put off the summit for another day, we will never get to the top, instead we work through the pain and difficulty.

Arriving at the summit will fuel the next peak and drive us the next time we think of quitting. Being creative we need to grow and work to produce what is often an unseen and obscure peak of some great height we can barely imagine, failure is not an option.

Focus on Tomorrow: I read something about writers on writers and the premise that we don’t write to simply write, we write to learn has always inspired me. I believe every time we as writers put out thoughts and ideas we are learning simultaneously and building our own view of the world.

We need focus and discipline to put all the thoughts we decipher together and the result is knowledge and wisdom for tomorrow’s writer.

This post is contributed as Guest post by Steven Linebaugh.

An artist and writer who writes about the creative life. With a passion for nature, I attempt to connect the creative and how they fit into a world that is not often friendly to the processes of being creative. I am continually perfecting the process of making ideas kinetic, often a daunting task.
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