How to Stay Focused During Times of Great Change

The news has been breaking at an astonishing pace since Donald Trump won the U.S. Presidential election. Whether or not you agree with Mr. Trump and the Republican Congress, it’s a time of turbulence. If you’re an artist of any sort, it can be distracting.

At the same time, it’s vital that we all pay attention. As an American citizen, I know that’s part of my responsibility.

What helps me to maintain my focus is deliberately tuning out the noise, because that’s what a lot of it is. There’s a whole lot of shoutin’ going on, and although I want to stay informed, much of what passes for public discourse is pointless and hurtful.

I avoid public places, such as certain restaurants, that have a television turned on all the time. Who needs that? Doctors’ waiting rooms can be a problem, though I’ve learned that if you ask, the staff will often let you turn it off or change the channel, especially if you consult with others in the waiting room first.

It helps to remember that some of the commentators on radio and television are not journalists but agitators. They are there for one purpose: to make money. By stirring us up they are using us.

Social media is another place where over-the-top, disturbing language has increased tenfold. I’m interested in different viewpoints. I will stop reading posts that aren’t civil, however. Anger and strong feelings are okay but if you bully people, I’m not interested, and if I get too upset, it ruins my muse!

Newspapers are still the best place to find good, solid information. Plus, you can absorb that information at your own pace.

But one last suggestion from personal experience: Don’t read the newspaper before going to bed! The speed of change is unsettling right now, regardless of your political views. You’ll end up tossing and turning instead of getting your much-needed REM sleep, and your writing process the following day will be disrupted.

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Filed under Career advice, The Writing Life

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