Friday, March 30, 2007

One thing at a time

Have you ever tried to do just one thing at a time? By that, I mean concentrate on one activity -- whether it's watching your breath or doing the dishes -- at the exclusion of all else.

As a wise man once said, our minds are like misbehaved puppies. They wander wherever and whenever they choose, whether we like it or not. But like puppies, they can be trained and disciplined.

When you do one thing at a time, your mind and body become naturally clear and peaceful. This might be one reason why so many of us enjoy writing. The focus required to put down words in a meaningful fashion is very singular -- and though often frustrating, the process of writing also is emotionally rewarding. I would argue that almost anyone who has completed a poem, short story, book, or novel will tell you that the most effective bouts of writing came when he or she was focused, in a singular fashion, on the work.

Some accomplish this in a quiet room, others with headphones, still others by escaping to a cabin in the woods. Regardless of the method, it's the attainment of singular focus that makes writing so enjoyable -- and that takes it to places above and beneath the surface of ordinary thought.

Any comments?

-- Jim


Jeanne Malmgren said...

What do you mean by "beneath" the surface of ordinary thought? That is intriguing. Is the singularly focused mind residing somewhere BENEATH rational thought? In a sort of pre-thinking state? Is this like the "flow" state?

Jim Melvin said...

I believe that a focused mind can open doors that aren't otherwise visible. Rational thought has its merits, but there is more to the mind than just that.

john malmgren said...
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Jim Melvin said...
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About Me

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Clemson, SC, United States
I was born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., but grew up in St. Petersburg, Fla. I graduated from the University of South Florida (Tampa) in 1979 with a B.A. in Journalism. I now live in South Carolina near the Blue Ridge Mountains, a pleasant setting for writing, to say the least. I was an award-winning journalist at the St. Petersburg Times for twenty-five years and I currently work at the Charlotte Observer. I am married with five daughters.

The author

The author
Jim Melvin, a veteran journalist, debuts as novelist.