Keeping the focus

Talk with others about anything shrine-related, be it presentation, content or something else.
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Sat Dec 10, 2016 5:59 pm

So I'm working on my Y'shtola shrine for Construction Zone and while the desire to work on the shrine is indeed there I'm finding myself having an extremely difficult time keeping focused. I don't know if it's because I've been staying up way too late at night or am just having a bout of harsh self-criticism in my writing skills but my mind keeps trailing off to other things making progress painfully slow.

So what I'm wondering is, when you want to work on a shrine but can't seem to focus how do you go about keeping yourself focused?
There are shadows before us - but only because the light is at our back.

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Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:02 pm

I really wish I could help :( My work and various mental issues have made me even scatterbrained and forgetful than usual. I still do get blissful hours of being absorbed in a task, but lately the task has been more and more "binge on YT LP" and less and less "write a shrine from the ground up" :/
Join in the Tale, in the Blight, of Conquest and Lies
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Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:34 pm

I usually end up re-experiencing the thing I'm shrining. So sometimes I'll rewatch scenes, reread chapters, or replay the game. And it helps when I talk to friends about my progress and they cheer me on.

And I've found, when I get too picky about what I'm writing, that it's better to just dump it out anyway, and after I write down all my thoughts, then start editing and rewording and fixing my content. Otherwise I'll get too picky and not write anything down.

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Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:26 pm

So I'm THE QUEEN OF LACKING FOCUS (could barely focus long enough to comment on this entry... :eyes: ) but I guess here are a few things I find help me?! Both through struggling with shrining + working freelance. (You gotta self motivate when there's no boss breathing down your back haha...) Not sure if they'd work for everyone BUT!!! :sob:
  • - I have a set of over the ear headphones that I like to use when I really want to hunker down and work. Sometimes just removing the "outside noises/distractions" helps me stay in my brain a little bit better and focus on the task at hand. With shrines I often build playlists while I'm working on things/spam songs that remind me of my subject. It really helps motivate me, kind of like building a soundtrack for your shrine/shrining environment? (ESPECIALLY when I'm designing because sometimes I feel like it helps me capture a mood/aesthetic for my visuals.) :swt2: I'll blast that stuff, but when I'm writing I usually need to tone it down: lower the volume, go for absolute silence, or instrumental stuff that won't confuse me while I'm trying to form sentences.

    - Some kind of Pomodoro Technique, maybe? Don't try to sit and focus on something for hours on end and sort of "accept" that you can only focus in increments. I do this a lot with work (not so much shrining, maybe I should try it?) where I'll basically tell myself to focus on something for a short amount of time/set a reachable goal I wanna achieve in a short time frame, and then take a break and do something else when I'm done. I think this requires a bit of self-discipline. You are essentially rewarding yourself for getting stuff done by treating yourself to small, controlled increments of procrastination rather than procrastinating all willy nilly and allowing yourself to get off track for so long that you lose focus. I believe there are even apps/websites for the Pomorodo Technique, so you could check that out if it sounds like it may help you!

    - A lot of times the will to focus is just motivation based... tell your friends (OR FELLOW SHRINERS :D) about your shrine, subject, and have them hold you accountable. It's a lot more difficult to avoid working on things when you've got friends breathing down your back, asking how you've progressed. I think when it comes to shrining: first and foremost you should be excited about it, but if other people are excited about it too sometimes it's even more motivating!

    - Lastly: don't get too stuck in your own head and consume others writing/opinions about the subject if you can, because I think it can bring about and inspire your own thoughts. I think it's actually very silly to not do this: like being an artist and not going out and appreciating other artists' paintings or processes. People write pieces on blogs/tumblrs, sometimes even reddit threads have interesting character lore discussion. I admittedly even read fanfics to explore interesting headcanons and understand the character from another fan's perspective! Don't be limited by what is presented to you only in official formats (through the game/story itself, or wikis) because you will be surprised what other fans speculate about the subject. Whether or not you agree with their perspectives, it will surely give you some "prompts" to aid in fueling your writing!
THOSE ARE JUST A FEW THOUGHTS!! :bleh: This is honestly something I've been struggling with on both shrines I've been working on lately, and some small things that sometimes help motivate me: both from a process standpoint and a way of rethinking how I approach subjects/get myself into a different state of mind??? I hope it helps the juices flow even a little! :sob:

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Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:51 pm

@Nyx: Aww it's okay. <3 I do know the feeling though. I've been doing a ton of gaming lately and not much else eheh...

@Masao: Maybe I'll have to try that. IN FFXIV there is this thing that allows you to rewatch previously viewed cutscenes so maybe that will spark something. Wouldn't hurt to try at least.

Ahaha I pretty much just did that too with this one section. I know all the things I want to write about so I wrote them all down so I wouldn't forget anything. It doesn't have to be all pretty right off the bat. That's what the rewrites are for hehe.

@Aku: Ahhhh so much things! You're amazing Aku!

I've noticed when listening to music it can't have any words or else my mind trails to those. I find I also can't listen to Youtube because I have to keep hitting replay. What you've said though gives me ideas!

I'm not familiar with the name but I am familiar with the method. My Mom used to do that with cleaning so maybe it'll work with websites too? I'm not sure. Depending on my groove I can get so focused on one thing or the other. Still it wouldn't hurt to try.

Makes sense. My motivation lately has been more than lacking due to stuff which is probably why I've been struggling so hard to write content even if I really want to. Talking to others about it I think would help too. I did that with Chrom and I was able to finally finish his shrine. Time to start bugging everyone I know to help motivate me to work on shrines LOL!

Ooh I'm definitely gonna have to try that. Sometimes I get stuck on how to do something so reading how others do things may help. I have noticed that though. I've read various things and found out so much about Y'shtola I didn't even know about.

I think it has helped a lot Aku! Hopefully I can get more work done on her here soon! *fingers crossed*
There are shadows before us - but only because the light is at our back.

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Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:01 pm

Crystal, I'm running into a similar issue. I have my construction zone shrine that I was really pumped to work on but now I'm either getting distracted with other things or just lack the time to work on it. I think I need to get myself re-inspired and look at some things/watch some movies related to my topic and maybe that will inspire me to work on it again. I always find that I'm most interested in working on something that I am involved in at that very moment.

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Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:05 pm

My motivation for anything and everything comes in waves, which are often ill-timed and inconvenient (aka 4am when trying to get back to sleep, or in the car and can't write anything down, etc.)

What I have found is that whenever I get struck by inspiration or the desire to do ANYTHING, be it washing clothes, writing a shrine paragraph, composing a piece of music, or organizing the bathroom cabinets, I have to do it RIGHT THEN RIGHT THEN OMG GET IN THERE RIGHT NOW LSJDFLKSJDF:LSJDFLj. Because otherwise the wave will pass and I will be left standing in the eddying mental surf feeling like a doofus. xD

To that end, here's some tips I use so that I am ready to surf the wave of motivation whenever:

- Do mindless tasks around the house if motivation for creative things is missing. I find that cleaning, organizing, washing up, etc., can clear the mind of the random minutiae that clog the creative process sometimes.

- Don't get mad at yourself for only wanting to do something more mindless. If all you feel motivated to do is lie in bed and read, do that. Don't bathe yourself in guilt because you're "wasting time" that could be "better used" (this is one of my big hangups, omg). I find that the brain often needs downtime to be able to have motivation later.

- Leave your computer running as much as possible during the time you have open to possibly work on shrines--just having it all booted up and ready can be a motivator in and of itself.

- If you are driving and get ideas (like I do), either record a voice memo using your smartphone, talk it out as you drive (if riding alone), or create a mental note of one word that will remind you of the thought you had.

Example: I was driving the other day and a thought occurred to me about my Eighth Doctor site--what if I changed the background to be part green? So I just remembered the word "green" in association with a building I was passing at the time, and later the thought re-occurred to me in time for me to get on the computer and fiddle with the layout. :)
~ a dream is a wish your heart makes ~

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Tue Dec 13, 2016 5:03 pm

- Revisiting whatever it is I'm shrining also helps me. Sometimes that might not even involve rereading or repaying it (or whatever), and instead just watching related youtube videos or seeing what's on Tumblr about it. Or things like that. Even if I wholly disagree with what people are saying about the topic in question. It can get me fired me enough to write about it.

- Making a nice working area. Like I cannot work with a messy desk, I just can't focus. Even just not having a coaster for my mug will drive me to distraction. So even if it's just tidying my desk and making it a nice working area, it helps me. I find it particularly helps me because I lived on my own for years and got a bit set in my ways. Consequently, I'm finding it difficult living with people again, and it shatters my focus. And Aku has reminded me I need to invest in over the ear headphones as soon as I can. I'm the same as you, Crystal, with regards to music when writing. I only listen to instrumentals. I also set up playlists on YouTube on my own account and just have them play through - it saves hitting replay. Also great when you wanna listen to the FFXV OST that hasn't been released yet :heh:

- Doodling and writing stuff down. I tend to make notes and things on my phone if anything occurs to me when I'm out and about, but I find actually writing things down in a notebook helpful. I'm not sure if it's just the act of actually writing...

and on that note:

- LISTS. I am a big fan of lists. I swear that bullet journalling got me through my dissertation. It was just a system that worked for me, and it was satisfying to complete a task and tick it off. It also plays into the writing and doodling aspect I mentioned above.

Considering how completely unproductive I've been recently, I should probably take some of my own advice (and that of others!)
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Tue Dec 13, 2016 7:13 pm

All of this advice above is fantastic and incredible but I have to be the devil's advocate and tell you all about the opposite point:

Personally, if I find myself losing focus during the making of a shrine...I let that happen. It's a hobby, after all. It shouldn't be a stressful thing. I leave the notes for later when I want to experience the source material again, but if I'm not feeling that either right now, or if it doesn't fit with where I am in my life at the time, I just let it sit. If I care enough about the thing to want to make a site, then there will be another time when I'll be working on it. It's ok. Things don't always go according to plan. Besides, I often find that letting some time pass lets me process the source material better and figure out what is exactly that I wanted to say about a certain subject.

Essentially, if I lose focus, I accept that this is the case, and that it means that right now is not the right time. I have sites in the drawer where if only I sat down with them for three more days they'd be complete and out, and I'd love to work on them and see them finished, but that hasn't happened, so I'm not forcing it. I have site projects that have been in my head or in a text file for five, ten, even fifteen years, but they're not ripe yet. I know that the feeling of having a completed site and a coherent work is amazing, but you need to consider that, regardless of how much drive you have, whether the thing falls together is a matter of the right moment, the right state of mind, and so many other things - some of them in your control, some not. Sometimes you have to accept that you won't be able to follow your plan. That is not a failure - it just means that it's time for something else.

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Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:11 pm

What I do when it comes to making shrines is work on what I feel I have a passion for at the moment. I'm not exactly the best person to talk about focus when it comes to work because I'm pretty positive I have ADHD and I'm notorious for not finishing projects that I start but I DO have a good track record for shrines! That's something I can at least talk about! XD

For me, if I'm really into a certain subject, I will write about it. Right now, I'm into Marvel comics so I'm writing about Kitty Pryde. A couple months ago I was working on trying to get my One Piece shrines off the ground so LOGICALLY, I would tell myself that I should be working on those, right? But my heart isn't in it so what's the point of forcing myself to work on something that I don't feel like working on? I'm into something else right now so I should be making use of that right now.

Tomorrow, I might read the last couple chapters of One Piece and feel really inspired to write about it! So I might actually do that instead of write about Kitty! Or maybe I will feel inspired to write about something completely different... but the point is that I'm taking what is inside my head, what's driving me at the moment, and using that, rather than what I think I SHOULD be doing.

SO... Crystal! I know you're playing a lot of FF14 so I think you probably are really into it right now. You say you're really into Y'shtola right now! So what part of her is interesting to you? Forget about your shrine structure, your plans... what is it that's interesting you at the moment? Is it her outfit? Is it her voice? Is it a certain part of her story that you just experienced? Write about her like you're talking to someone who doesn't know anything about her. Tell notepad what's so great about Y'shtola, what makes you love her so much, what did adventures did you go on together, how did you meet her, etc. Hell, if you just want to make icons for an hour, do that! :D

If you feel bored writing that sort of bland historical stuff, try to bring it back to your heart and make it about your relationship to the character. That's what you do best!

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