Touchstones: Shifting Focus


My focus is gone. It fled sometime last week, so if you see it, please send it back! But thanks to certain touchstones, I’ve been able to get a lot done.

The more tired or the more stressed I am, the harder focus becomes. And lately, the day job has been extra stressful. It also doesn’t help that we’re about to embark on a minor construction project – one that will turn our empty, unfinished upstairs into actual living space. While exciting, it’s also incredibly stressful.

Without my husband, I’d already have fallen¬†behind in my tally of non-writing days. Instead? Nine days into 2017 and not a single tally. The amount I’ve done in the last few days would be impressive, even if I weren’t so incredibly scattered.

My biggest touchstone right now is Creative hour. My husband first proposed the concept about five years ago: an hour (or however much time we have) in which we both work on creative things. And creative things just for ourselves, not because of some outside obligation.

We’ve done this almost nightly. Some nights, I can’t sit still; I have to check the fire or fold laundry or wash dishes. Except my husband comes out to sit at the table with me and work. His presence always reminds me that everything else can wait.

Except the fire. I like being warm.

Over the next few months, creative hour will become harder to find time for together. My focus may or may not return (not like it ever stays long, but I do miss it when it has gone). So I’ll have to find a way – a new touchstone – to keep up the routine even if I don’t have another body holding me accountable.

I think I’ll try using the timer.That might work . . .

What touchstones do you use, either to help you focus or help you create? (Or both!)


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  1. Oooo, I love the idea of a creative hour! I may have to take it as the first hour in the morning since taking an hour in the evening wouldn’t be fair when attempting to care for a (now very very fussy) infant.

    1. It’s been amazing. Seriously. It’s an easy habit to fall out of when life gets crazy, and sometimes that hour has to get shaved to 45 minutes or half an hour, but it’s so worth it.

  2. I’m all about the timer. If I manage to turn it on, I can’t find a good enough excuse for me to leave my chair while it’s ticking. I figure I owe it that at the very least. When I turn it on is rarely pre-determined. And never in the a.m. :).

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