April 22, 2015

Am I A Focused Writer, Today?

By Sharilynn Hunt

I love to discover where writers actually sit and focus on their writing. Connemara, the home of Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), the American poet, writer, and editor, is in Flat Rock, NC. I had visited this National Park many years ago, but this past year I re-visited it through the eyes of an author. Crossing a small pond, near the entrance, I looked at the tranquil water. I could picture myself sitting on a rock or in a small boat with a notepad in hand. Walking the long, steep drive to the house, I noticed the blooming wildflowers showing their perky faces as if to say, “The walk is well worth the effort.” Connemara sits high on 246 acres surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. The visual scenery made me think, how could Carl Sandburg not be a three times Pulitzer Prize winner, writing in this atmosphere?

Carl Sandburg, his wife, Lillian, and family moved from Michigan to North Carolina in 1945. His wife raised prized, champion goats, and he wanted a place to continue his writing at the age most people would retire. The large acreage seemed to be the perfect place to handle both tasks. Stepping back in time, I walked into the house with its furnishings and books. The house contained thousands of books, demonstrating his love for reading. The narrow stairs led up to his writing space, a small, attic-type room. Surprised, I saw an archaic typewriter sitting on a crate. Compared to computers and office furniture today, it seemed a humble spot for a famous writer. Yet, it was his place to focus, a place to remove himself from the world and write. Sandburg often wrote all night while his family slept, and he would sleep in the day. Another one of his writing spots was a backyard chair on a rock or on a mountain cliff, behind his house.

When alone, he allowed the creative writing juices to flow into his writings. He stated once, “One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude.”

Leaving Connemara, I reflected on this famous writer’s lifestyle. He was focused and driven to write the words of a poem, a book or a song. Words were his life. He wrote on an old typewriter, erasing each error on a page—no delete buttons. With today’s technological interruptions through cell phones, emails, Facebook, and twitter, our minds can be diverted in seconds, losing our focus. One lost moment leads into lost minutes. 

As writers, we write in public or private places, on laptops or PCs but most importantly, we learn to focus, listen and write from our creative solitude space. When writing I now ask myself, am I focused to listen? 
Sharilynn Hunt is the founder of New Creation Realities Ministry, Inc, a prayer and teaching ministry. She is the author of Prevailing Prayer, a ten-lesson course on building effective prayer groups. She continues to write devotionals and has been published in numerous anthologies. More information is on  ShariSwettHunt on Facebook  Shari Hunt on Linkedin

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