Schmultitasking.

 Is multitasking bad for your productivity, your brain—even your health? 

Is multitasking bad for your productivity, your brain—even your health? 

Flit, flit, tweet, tweet, 
cleaning, laundry, eat, and sleep. 
Facebook, day job, blog, and write.
Arise tomorrow; rinse, repeat.

I stopped multitasking late last year, and I’m glad I did. There are plenty of studies that support the idea that it doesn’t make you more productive, and I’ve discovered that, for me, they’re right. Why is single-tasking better? Because it enables an old-fashioned concept called focus.

Remember focus? It’s something we all want, of course. But it seems so illusive these days, doesn’t it? We jump to click/tap link-bait posts with numbers in the title, articles like “7 Ways to Calm Your Mind” and “Top Ten Tricks to Shut Out Distractions.”

We eagerly scan these lists—who has time to actually read anymore—then we sigh in frustration when what they offer boils down to, “You should cut back on the multitasking.” These posts offer us browser add-ons to block Facebook and special writing apps to take away all our laptop windows to create a peaceful environment for distraction-free writing. There’s even a new app by Marco Arment—who I love to listen to, btw—called Quitter, designed to help you stop twitching your fingers every time Twitter chirps at you.

But I found something else. It does a better job than any app or add-on. Call it a motivation. Even better, call it a reason. Here, look how “elegantly” I’ve captured it in this horrible bit of doggerel.

Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest feeds
rarely give us what we need.

Important? Maybe. So I’ve heard,
but getting down the written word—

That’s where it’s at; it really is.
Sharing stories—that’s my biz!

Someone said that social media is a great way to stay in touch with your audience. But writing great stories is the best way to build an audience. And that’s what I want to do, you know? I want to tell stories, stories that I can’t wait to share because they come from my heart. Once I remembered that, dropping multitasking from my life became easy.

Oh, I still check in with Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest. But I’m no longer a Social Media Completionist, compulsively keeping up, requiring—sometimes forcing—myself to read everything everyone shares and responding to it all.

So multitasking? Schmultitasking is more like it.

Now I’m going to go write that story I simply cannot wait to share with you.

Ever upward and onward, friends.

Jude

Write Like the Wind (?)

Really?

I like being driven and all, but really? What’s the point if it’s not fun?

Somewhere in between planning/plotting and pantsing, between word count and editing/refining as I go, there is a sweet spot, a place where I’m telling a story because it’s downright fun, pleasurable, exciting, rewarding.

Maybe I need to trust myself that the skills will come, that the ability to produce is there, just ahead, but not within reach because I haven’t yet put in the time it takes to develop it.

*

Remember, Jude, the process of learning to play the piano. Years of stumbling, struggling, clawing through exercises and scales; the time it took to conquer each piece was glacial at first.

Remember the same process when you began to compose music, wandering in the wilderness of notes and chords and rhythms, leaving a trail of half-formed melodies broken against the rocks of trial and error.

And where are you now?

Learning a new piece of music takes only a few minutes. You can sight read, you can get it under your fingers almost effortlessly. Yes, it takes time to polish, but the basic ability to do it—it’s there, it’s here, it’s at your disposal whenever you feel moved to sit down and play.

Surely writing fiction must be like that.

*

So, it's time to remind myself that I don’t have a golden pen; I haven’t yet paid all my dues.

What I do have is passion, the passion for telling stories that thrill and inspire me.

And sharing them is what I want to do.

So, “write like the wind.”

Yes, I think I will one day.

But I cannot let that be my goal. Not yet, not yet.

Today, I’ll write for the pure, unadulterated joy of telling a story, this story, my story.

I think I’ll write like the blazing sun.