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    Joe Ruiz

    October 28, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    This was great seminar. There were so many take-aways, including asking myself why work seems so easy, and writing seems so hard in terms of just getting my thoughts organized. A friend suggested that I might have undiagnosed ADD. This was no doubt, based on a lifetime of putting up with my racing mind. I am firmly convinced that I do, after taking quite a few tests. I haven’t confirmed this medically, but I am intrigued enough to look into it. Mind you, when I was growing up, kids like me spent lots of time in detention and struggled with school, especially super structured environments like U.S. Catholic schools. This is part of what has made me successful professionally since I can jump into chaotic or complex situations and sort things out and get them done. It requires me to shift focus from moment to moment to tackle problems. Impossible to lose focus or get distracted. HOWEVER, trying to sit and focus on one thing like writing a novel for an extended period of time without real parameters, i.e., an externally imposed deadline with accountability, is quite challenging. One of the things that helped me a great deal (many years ago) was Steven Covey’s 7 Habits (important vs. urgent the four quadrants, etc.) because it prioritized what to do first. Of course, with a novel, there is only one task- writing. Now I am thinking about how I might write to bring back the enjoyment without pantsing my way into a black hole. Realistically, the 200 hundred words daily practice is the most accessible way to develop the proper discipline of writing, even when the energy is not coming.

    I’m also glad you discussed Covid. It’s impossible to have any conversation about productivity without talking about Covid. As humans, we cope, and somehow we try to make things normal. But this is anything but normal, and the stress is always simmering below the surface.

    I completely related to the question about freelancing and making writing important enough to do even though you can’t attach a price to it. As I’m writing, that little voice in my head is screaming, “why aren’t you working on that project that is due tomorrow”!

    Again, great seminar, Mark! I’ll confess I wasn’t sure about the life coach component initially, but I’m now firmly convinced that it has to be part of the writing coach process.