Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Right Here, Right Now.

"Run the mile you're in." - Ryan Hall

I am forever trying to run the last mile. Sometimes that motivates me. I think about what it will feel like to cross the finish line. I think about how good it will feel to run the final 100 yards. But usually it just depresses me.

It's better for me to keep my mind in the present and focus on my current surroundings. "Stay here!" I tell myself. Just run this mile. I look around and see the trees. If we're on the Olentangy Trail I look at the river or Antrim Lake. In my neighborhood I notice the color of a roof or the shape of a window. I see when a neighbor has planted a new tree or flowers. I notice whether a car is parked in the usual spot. I do my best to stay in my senses and see what's actually around me.

I try this practice in writing as well. Still, I often catch myself thinking ahead to the end of the book and imagine myself typing the last few words. Or sometimes I think way beyond that and image holding the finished book in my hands. I used to imagine handing it to my mother or father. There are times when this is helpful. Sometimes it is motivating to imagine the final product or think about getting an agent or an editor and even a royalty check.

However, I do better by sticking with the scene I'm writing. Where am I in the book? I stay there. I write that next line, the next word. Frankly, all the rest is daydreaming. I'm not there yet. I'm not meeting with the agent or feeling the spine of the book. I'm in the scene and I need to give it my full attention. This is the way the work gets done.

Do you daydream about finishing your book? Do you find it helpful? I'd love to hear about your process.


Jennifer Combs said...

Very timely article Nita! I needed to read that as i have such a difficult time staying in the moment of whatever it is I am doing. Much of the time when I am doing my homework I am not really fully focused on what I am doing and it then takes forever to accomplish the assignment.

Whenever i manage to stay present to whatever I am doing I get so much more out of it and it is so much more rewarding. It is a real challenge for me but I keep on trying to choose to pay attention and live in each moment.

Sea Change said...

Hi Nita!
No, I think about "finished book", "publishing" or whatever, as little as possible! Those thoughts scare me enough to stop the writing process. I just need to sit down and get going, and let the writing take me where it wants to. And there seems to be a rhythm to it, too. Although I don't "time" myself", it ends up quite often being a two-hour session in which I have completely lost touch with my body and time! Then I come back up for air.
I do set some goals for myself, though--to get so much done by a certain date, and somehow, by just doing what I do, it happens even earlier than the set date. :-) It's a very mysterious process in which I just trust.