Writing a novel takes intense focus. How do we focus on such a task when there is so much noise around us?
I sought the answer to this question in 2018 through my interview series with other writers. One concept I wanted to explore further was Deep Work, an idea originating from writer and professor Cal Newport.
I’ve been a student of Deep Work for five years, modifying the approach to focused, meaningful work as my career, writing life and personal life change. I thought it would be impactful to share what I’ve learned these past five years.
- Finding Time
It’s not so much about finding time and increasing productivity, rather honing focus during the time available. We sometimes find that we only have 20 minutes, perhaps less. Even if we only have a few free moments to write one or two sentences, we’ve still made progress.
- Finding Space
We can find focus in many places if we are open to seeing the world differently. Some may disagree, however I find airplanes are a great space for focus and Deep Work. No one can call or text. There’s no instant access to email. We’re forced to sit in one place for several hours. There’s no choice but to focus on work and writing.
- A Quiet Mind
We don’t always have to be doing or consuming. Letting our minds wander in boredom – especially during this pandemic – allows new ideas to come to fruition.
For those interested in finding a path to more meaningful work to finish a project, whether personal or professional, I highly suggest reading Deep Work, and discovering the benefits of focus. Use this down time to discover something new about yourself which will make you more successful in the future.