Staying focused: Writing a project means wearing temporary ‘blinders’

writer-1[O]ne of the major frustrations for me as a writer is that I don’t have the time to read everything going on the in the news while writing on a specific topic. Case in point: my recent book on Ebola. This disturbing topic is intense, important, and all-encompassing. However, now that that the manuscript has gone to press, I’m off on a vastly different but equally world-changing writing project, a book about transhumanism.

I love to write, particularly fiction, which allows me to ignore the world completely and melt into my own imagination for a few months. However, writing non-fiction requires digging into the topic, keeping up on changes if the subject matter is contemporary, and staying focused on the task at hand; a real challenge for me.

Honestly, I have a brain that is simply not wired for lengthy concentration I love to learn. I love to watch the panoply of events that cross my laptop’s interface with this spinning world, but such curiosities are nagging distractions unless the material is relevant to my current goals. God was kind enough to give me a husband who understands when floors don’t get mopped and carpets gather lint; when dust bunnies multiply into massive warrens beneath our beds, and when we’re ordering yet another Papa John’s pizza. It’s a struggle for me to keep my typing fingers glued to the keyboard, because I actually prefer a clean house, so God’s also given me a patient and very helpful sister who stays with us about half the year, and Debbie’s a dynamo in both the laundry room and the kitchen. And she’s loads of fun to boot.

So to stay focused on transhumanism, I’ve donned my temporary ‘blinders’, which means I’ll be on social media less, watching the news a bit less, and perhaps not as ‘connected’ to my friends as I’d like. But it’s worth it. I’m writing this book with my husband, which will be our first joint project–and doing anything with Derek makes me happy. And the subject couldn’t be more current. Transhumanism is real. Terrifyingly real. The more research I do, the more books I read by leading transhumanists, the more I perceive the massive paradigm shift that is about to take place, the more tempting it is to shut the laptop and run off to live an analog life deep in the woods (where dust bunnies morph into real bunnies, which might prove entertaining if not downright cuddly). However, as I’ve been privileged to consume books patiently crafted and researched by others, it falls to me as a writer to take my turn at bat. Of course, in this case, my husband Derek joins me, so he can help me my swing, which is about as far as I can go with baseball metaphors (I’m really not an athlete).

To those of you who are faithful to read and share my books, I thank you. If you’re itching to write something of your own, let me tell you that a writing itch can only be scratched by doing just that–writing. As they say, writers write. National Novel Writing Month is just a few days away, commencing at 12:01 am on November 1st. It’s a great opportunity to scratch that crazy itch along with tens of thousands of other crazies, whose typing fingers are all trying to peck out 50k words or more in just 30 days. If you want to know more, send me a note on Facebook.

Ok, now back to that next blank page….