I can scarcely believe it has been more than two months since I last added a blog post. Looks like I’ve been keeping true to my intention with seclusion. The last time you heard from me, I had been inspired by a newsletter from BookBaby and wanted to write about my perception of “shutting out” to the world to concentrate on something that was very important.
Instead of writing that blog post, I wrote a precursor with a cleverly related concept. Instead of focusing on shut-outs, I wrote about shut-ins, by focusing on my husband’s beautiful church service in tending to the needs of the shut-ins in our community.
Now that I’m ready to write about shut-outs, I began checking the proper word usage and learned that there is indeed nothing that is called shut-outs. There is a single shutout, which is a word used to describe winning a game, like a baseball game, even though the other side doesn’t score. Okay, so the next best thing I found to convey my meaning was the word seclusion, which means “the state of being away from other people.”
So, in the state of being away from other people, you are in essence, shutting yourself out from the world. Once you can do that, you can begin a pure concentration on accomplishing something that is very important.
My goal is to inspire people with this blog post to shut out the world in order to concentrate on a meaningful goal. This particular act of shutting out is most closely related to seclusion, which is the state of being away from other people.
No matter what your industry is or what you’re trying to accomplish, adopting an attitude of shutting out everything else in order to accomplish your goals is the most rewarding thing you can possibly do. It’s easy to say you have goals and smile about it and start to daydream but only hope you can do this or the other. It’s a totally different ballgame when it comes time to actually doing the thing.
For me, that thing has been to dedicate myself to sitting down and actually writing my debut book. In reality, I started working on my book back in November of last year, but that was a totally different concept than the one I’m working on right now!
After much ado and so much waffling back and forth and then complaining that I was too busy to do any real writing work, I started doing it. I had a very specific goal in mind to write a book that gave creative inspiration. I must have worked on that initial book idea maybe for around a month or a month and a half and then I ended up quitting my efforts because I was so busy in my personal life to devote significant time to book writing.
I was too busy and physically tired most of the time. There were many personal things I was doing at that time. I put priority on my family instead of what I wanted to do. No problem, I have no regrets. Fast forward to March 2020 and all of a sudden, this pandemic slowed everything down incredibly. All of us were forced to be at home for hours at a time, even going so far as to educate our children in never-before-seen homeschooling pursuits en masse. It was unique, to say the least.
Soon after we received the announcement, a chance event led me to dust off the beginnings of a book manuscript I had started back in 2012, which is totally different than the concept I started working on this past November. I found old blog posts and papers related to “A Slice of Faith,” a series of blog posts I had posted online with hopes to turn the series into a published book. After a few months of doing it, I was too depressed and emotionally consumed with what I wrote to continue, so I just shut everything down and put my things away. That was eight years ago.
Several years went by and dust collected on my papers. It was nearly forgotten. Once we were required to spend so much time at home, I decided to tackle an early spring cleaning project and unearthed this treasure, my “A Slice of Faith” package of blog posts and papers. I decided right then and there that I would finish work on that series of blog posts and finally turn it into a real book that I wanted to finish.
I got to work in late March and have been working steadily ever since. It has now been roughly five months. I have not been working on my book consistently, but probably in the month of June, I noticed I started working on it every day.
Each day, I now wake up tired roughly at around 5:30 a.m., and after a quick breakfast, I sit down at my computer and hammer out some solid writing for two hours. Writing for 2 out of 24 hours doesn’t seem like a lot, but I’m so thrilled to have developed a consistency in my work and it shows. I’m starting to make real progress on my book. I’ve now been consistently working each day, making sure to shut everything out of my life in order to give full concentration to my book.
What exactly is meant by shutting everything out? It really depends on your lifestyle, but for me, it means turning my phone around and shutting off the sound so that I don’t receive notifications. It also means I don’t give in to the temptation of checking social media or getting myself involved with any of the little petty opinions or conversations in which everyone seem to have something to say, but nothing productive ever comes out of it.
As far as I’m concerned, God has given us a finite time each day to accomplish our goals. It’s up to us to use those hours to the best of our potential, and if that means we must make choices to remove all distractions that stop us from getting where we want to be, we must be willing to make any necessary sacrifices.
It has been a fantastic exercise of self-discipline making sure I shut everything out of my line of vision with a goal in mind of working on my current book idea each morning. I’m excited to see where my future will take me as I see myself keeping close to my habit of shutting things out.