10 December 2017

Staying focussed

I've been dipping into a book called Organizing for Creative People (by Sheila Chandra) - yes, yet another of "those" helpful books; if only we could actually follow their good advice, instead of flitting about with our ideas and getting more disorganised and feeling bad about ourselves and our work habits, or lack of them. 

On p118 the section heading is "The importance of focus". She says:

Perhaps the biggest difference between what you do as an artist and other kinds of work is your level of focus. Long-term consistent focus for big projects. A complexity of thought that maintains the quality and depth in your work. A career-long perspective on how you want to grow as an artist, and maybe what you'd like to be able to tackle in ten years' time.
Focus is the key to what you do because you need your subconscious mind to feed you ideas. This means that, day to day, you have to practise not getting distracted. You need to train your mind. Everything in our world ... seems to be encouraging us to turn away from anything that isn't "exciting" and to slice our attention span into smaller and smaller pieces. If you're a creative person this just won't do because you need to be able to concentrate on creative problems for long periods in order to get results. It can be boring, but it has to be done.

If your problem is that you just can't focus on the number of ideas you have, then you must focus in the long-term sense. ... Pick the most important idea. I mean it. Pick one. ...choose the project most likely to get you need in your career right now. The more this project scares you, the more you'll resist this. ...some of you will rebel right here. It feels too scary to you to let go of other ideas, because you want to achieve "everything". In fact that is simply a way of not committing. Those artists you admire ... undertook each project as it came and evolved accordingly. 


If  concentration or procrastination is a problem for you, experiment with various working methods and times. 

Aha, working times, that most certainly rings a bell! The most useful nugget of advice that ever came my way was from Barbara Lee Smith: "Do the most important thing at your best time." I was musing on this ... wondering what that important thing might be ... while walking in the snow and slush today, and not long afterwards, happened to open that book to the "focus" section. Coincidence? ... or, the finger of fate?

To stretch the point (and segue to the photos): walking in slippery conditions requires a modicum of focus in itself ... and with a camera along you get focus automatically! I did find a few things to photograph during the day and especially the walk, starting with the surprise discovery -
Waking up to snow


Very slushy on Parkland Walk
(Note the importance of a bit of red, as a focal point) -
Willow, Finsbury Park 

Oak tree, Finsbury Park

The inevitable ... and nicely positioned

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