Here are some things I wanted to share with you this week:
 Focus is very important for productivity, especially when it comes to work that requires intense intellectual effort — something that is more and more of everyone’s work day. Learning how to focus and maintaining focus can be a challenge in a connected world with too many distractions, but we also need to learn how to productively unfocus. Doing it well is much more than just zoning out in front of a Netflix show; this article does a good job of explaining.

Creativity is just as much about serendipity as it is an actual skill (and that’s kind of the point of this Musings email…). Hence the advice from Agatha Christie, among others, to keep an ideas journal, but don’t be efficient about it; keep is messy, disorganized, haphazard, so that you can find what you didn’t know you were looking for. The awesome Austin Kleon has an excellent discussion of this idea.

David Bowie was pretty awesome. That may be a bit of an obvious statement, but here’s something that convinced me of this yet again — the story that’s been making the rounds online, of Bowie helping an autistic kid be able to deal with fear and with social interaction a little better by sharing his own fear and his own solution.

What I’m reading:

Fiction — Hollow City by Ransom Riggs. I’m not really surprised that the first book in this series, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was made into a film by Tim Burton, because the books read like they should be films by Tim Burton. The first book was inspired by weird vintage photos Riggs found at flea markets, and included copies of many of the photos. He’s done a similar thing with the second book, and both are delightfully odd. The series is worth reading.

Non-fiction — The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I read this book, taken out from the Library, many years ago when I was just starting to write fiction seriously. I was given a copy for my birthday last month, so I’m re-reading it now, and finding it just as relevant — if not more so — than before. Pressfield pulls no punches as he talks about all the ways we find to not do our art, with the voice of someone who’s been there. This is definitely a must-read for anyone who does any sort of art, but especially for those who want to do it seriously, and perhaps even make some money at it.

The novel outlining is coming along, but I don’t have pictures for you this week, for want of a camera cord. Maybe the AWOL cord will have appeared again by next week… I have to hope.

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