Focusing my mi…I need to do the dishes

I’ve always loved writing creatively. It’s a skill that has helped me many a time in life. When I was young, it got me through lots of classes where my grade was teeter tottering on a fail. I’d offer to write several pages on the subject, and I’d always get lots of extra credit. When I was in college, I made sure to choose classes heavy in writing. I felt most confident with assignments where writing could score me big points. As an adult, I’ve written so many things for my kids, I feel like it’s been a full time job.

But now, sitting at a computer and coming up with a screenplay start to finish, takes way more concentration than I’m used to mustering. I’ve got dishes to clean, clothes to wash, floors to mop, groceries to get…. And that’s only just the house chores! This latest script has been somewhat of a challenge. I had thought up the bones a while ago, but the details have been blurry. It’s a story with a lot of characters; I usually only have a few. So instead of buckling down, I’ve let myself be distracted by a million other things. It’s so easy to get caught up in the vices of life. Especially when there’s Netflix!

In the past, when I’m working on the details of a story, I’ve taken a long soaker bath. In my bath, I don’t turn on any music, or bring my phone, or read a book. I just soak, clear my head and focus on the story. It’s one of the only time in my life where my mind is clear. The daily noise that is my life often gets in the way. Last night, I lay in the bath and let my mind clear. I kept wanting to grab my phone, to have Alexa play some music, something to disrupt the quiet. But I resisted and tried to see the characters in my mind. I figured out who would be good, who would be bad, where they would go, what they would do. As I laid there, I realized I must look like the character in the Queen’s Gambit (albeit not half as good looking as she). To focus on the play, she lays back in her bed and plays the chess pieces on the ceiling. I do something similar. I lay back, blank out, and focus on the players in the story. I figure out who they are and why they do what they do. They go down several different roads until one makes sense. Then the story comes together in my mind. Last night, I laid in the bath until my skin was pruny and the water cooled. And by the end of it, I had the whole script outlined in my head. Now today, I need to put the outline on the page. Here’s hoping I can concentrate long enough!

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