An online devotional for writers
Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing … The Lord said to her, “There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has chosen it.” (Luke 10:40-42, NLT)
Want to write more but have trouble staying focused? A recent study explains that you’re not alone. Microsoft found the average person’s attention span has dropped by a third since 2000.
In spite of its increasing frequency, distraction has been a common challenge through the ages.
Take a look at Martha, a type-A hospitality guru, who was distracted when preparing a special meal for Jesus and His friends.
Rather than ponying up and getting focused, Martha was ticked off with her sister Mary, who wasn’t helping out.
Like Martha, it is easy for me to get distracted by a big project.
And like Martha, it’s easy for me to cast blame for my distraction. I attribute my writer’s block to interruptions, email notifications, my cell phone …
You can let your attention drift any number of ways, but here’s what happens when you do. To your brain, a distraction serves as a novelty – something new, different, or challenging (it can be something even as small as a short social media post). The novelty causes your brain to produce dopamine, the neurochemical correlated to reward. Dopamine gives you an itty-bitty “high,” reinforcing the novelty. Your distraction gives you a mental surge and gets you off the task. The impact is the same whether you’re preparing a first century dinner party or working on a twenty-first century writing project.
Jesus pointed out the distraction to Martha and then challenged her to choose to stay on task. Focus over distraction is a choice, He said. That means it’s possible for you and me to make that choice, too!
Distractions have been around for centuries. But the choice to focus has been around for centuries, too.
Choose to limit writing distractions.
I confess that I am easily distracted, yet I want to write more. Show me what diverts my attention, how to limit my writing distractions, and to choose to focus on the work You give me to do.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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