Concentration. It is something that is sorely lacking these days. We live in an age where if you can’t get your message across in 140 characters or 30 seconds or less, no one will pay attention. For that matter, I may have already lost you. I have gone beyond that limit and as writers, we are constantly facing the fear of wondering if anyone will bother to read to the end.
And yet, catering to the problem only makes it worse. While a kid may complain that there is no way he can concentrate long enough to read a book, that same kid will miraculously be able to binge watch an entire series or game with his friends for seven hours straight. While people are quick to blame their inability to concentrate, it is less their lack of ability and more their lack of desire. When one wants to concentrate, one can.
And that is because there is no such thing as multi-tasking when you write. You can watch a show and fold laundry, exercise or cook dinner. You can cook dinner while talking on the phone. But when you write you can only write. You can’t write and speak. Try it. You will either write what you say or say what you write. It doesn’t work. When you write you need to think, you need to focus, you need to concentrate.
Writing requires you to choose, with each and every word, which one it will be. It requires you to decide, from that first sentence to the last, what you are trying to convey and if you are doing it in the best way possible. It requires you to be interesting and creative because if you are bored writing it, people will be bored reading it. It requires you to be in the moment.
Writing is a gift because while we are doing it, we cannot do anything else, think about anything else, or be anywhere else. Writing is an oasis in time where all of our energy and focus is about producing something that represents us and conveying those ideas or emotions in a permanent way. Writing reminds us that we can concentrate. That we can be completely invested in something. That we can be present. And that is most definitely a present. In a world of distraction and disinterest, writing reminds us that something else is very possible. So give yourself that gift, enjoy your present of being in the present, and get writing. You will thank you, as will everyone else in your life, for how it makes you a better person.