5 Tips To Revising Your Focus
Yesterday, I talked about how a hunger for specific things might be an indicator of writing direction. It's still hard sometimes to find this direction because there can be a number of needs. Where do we start?
Here are 5 tips to revising your focus:
1. Review your browsing history:
What you do online is between you and national security. ;) I’m not asking you to share details. But go back over the last few days, and see what you were drawn to read. Which articles/posts drew you in or maybe even compelled you to engage? Is there a common theme? Which ones stirred you? How were you stirred? To anger? To action and response? To hope? To reconsider your position? Make a list of themes that drew you, then explore the why.
2. Go back in time:
Read your own old blog posts and/or journal entries. If they resonate, write down what you think the theme of those posts might be. If you haven’t “connected” in the first couple paragraphs, move on to the next post. (Unless you are enjoying the slow process of reading each one, which is also fine! Maybe your hunger is to slow down and appreciate what surrounds you.)
Review your current blog subscriptions. Whose words are you reading? And why? What we read always relates to how we write, so this is an important step.
The blogosphere is not meant to be a static place. It’s fluid. Movement is growth. Are there some things you are reading out of duty, but no longer engaged in? Take a good look at why* you are reading the blogs or newsletters you are subscribed to, and consider if it isn’t time to move on. It is quite possible you will come full circle and be hungry for those blogs again in another season, but don’t devote your limited time and mental energy to a place that you have no stamina to engage in.
*If your why is because you have a relationship with this person and wish to support them, that’s a very good reason. Even if you’re not "hungry" for their writing topics, you desire a relationship with them. I just wanted to be clear that I’m not encouraging anyone to abandon their friends. :)
4. Ask your friends for feedback or advice:
A lot of times, we have a resource right in front of us, if we are willing to reach out. If it’s hard for you to identify the season you are in or the things that stir you to write and interact, it’s possible your friends have an advantageous angle of observation. They see you in ways you may not see yourself, and it’s wise to listen to those who care about you and have cultivated a relationship of trust and truth-telling. Compare notes with them, and see if any of their observations about you elicit an “ah-ha” connection in your mind. You do not have to take their suggestions, but at least listen to them and the reasons behind them.
5. “Go outside” and meet your neighbors:
What do I mean by this? Simply that we all operate inside our comfortable bubbles of personal knowledge. We view the world through a finite lens. Sometimes our presuppositions stand in the way of our ability to empathize and embrace reality. We have our own idea of the “big picture” but the real big picture is always larger than our imagination can paint. If we do not increase our awareness, we will get in the way of our own growth.
Actively and deliberately step outside your circle- the writers you know, interact with, are comfortable engaging, are in the habit of reading regularly. Step into the margins, the dusty corners, the land of the prophetic unknowns; of those passed over because of age, sex, race, education, class, ability, or any kind of “other” that sets them apart.
Discover the hungry and what they hunger for. Ask what it is about them that draws you. Dig deeper, and see if you are compelled to feed and be fed according to the need that stirs you.
As always, if you have any other tips or suggestions, or respectful criticism, I'd love to read about it in the comments. If you find any of these steps helpful or had already discovered them for yourselves and found them useful, I would love to hear that, too.
Which of these tips might you try first?