September 12th, 2020

The Focus of Famous People is Merely Aspirational

Cal Newport on Michael Connelly's writing practice:

For the rest of us, drowning in our inboxes and Zoom invites, this should be more than a source of aspirational escape. It represents a reminder that getting the most out of the messy jumble of neurons known as the human brain requires sacrifices. To instead orient work around pleasing everyone who might need you in the moment is to ultimately please no one with the quality of what you produce.

I think Cal's note on stories like this being "aspirational" is excellent. Most poeple's lives don't come close to this ideal of seclusion and focus.

I get up and start worknig at 5:30am as well, because construction starts beside my window at 7am and I need quiet time to record. After that, my kids make noise in the house at different times of the day. I can't write until I'm "done" because kids need to go to school and then my wife works at 1500 daily, which means I'm taking care of kids for the evening.

What I can do is use the time I have to stay focused and ignore the other distractions around me like Connelly does.

I can get closer to the ideal.

I won't feel bad if I don't get entire days where no one bothers me at all and I can focus on the stuff I choose to focus on. Maybe I'll get there one day, but it won't be for a while.