Tag Archives: Bird by Bird

Using Focus to Excel

Excerpt from this Article in FastCompany.

Distraction. Even for skilled writers who love what we do… yes, we would prefer to do anything other than write. Writing is work. Worse, it’s lonely. Most projects, at least in the initial stages, it is lonely. My friends believe I just sit calmly and training manuals pour from my fingers, that I am meant to blog, and my emails are revision-less. NOT TRUE.

Also, first (+) drafts tend consume all your time. You impose a deadline, it comes and goes. There is still content that doesn’t hang together and it is revision number 12. Oh, let it be done. But no.


I learned to write because my fellow coders couldn’t. So they stayed glued to their monitors concocting devious ways to process faster…. and I explained the systems we built to our management and C-level execs. It was a trade-off. We all would have lost our freedom to create something great, if we didn’t show progress and share status. I was elected… or forced to stretch into this role, and I am grateful.  — the editor

“I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money,” says Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird, her celebrated 1995 book on the craft. “And not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much.”

Sometimes our tools help us. Speaking of FOCUS MODE in MS WORD — One author says “I’ll cling to Word until Google Docs brings out its own version (it offers something roughly similar but not quite there yet) of one-click Focus mode, no matter how retro or dorky that might make me in the eyes of some. Focus mode forces you to concentrate.”