“As a writer, I need to relax and let the words flow.”
“No, no, quite the opposite. You need to focus, which requires intensity.”
“You’re both wrong. You need to relax, intensely!”
Don’t you just love being pulled in several different directions? How do golfers concentrate on keeping the right grip, keeping this elbow straight and that knee crooked? They have to pay attention to a half-dozen things simultaneously while relaxing and going with the flow of the shot.
How do you do that?
How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
Practice, man, practice!
Concentrate on the grip, swing after swing, practice getting the grip right. Concentrate on the grip AND keeping that elbow straight, swing after swing, until you can do both. Then add the knee thing, over and over, and the other half-dozen things, until you can do it all at once.
It happens by practicing, and practicing until you can do it, and practicing until you can do it well, and practicing until you reach the next level after that.
It never happens by getting it right the first time. It never happens by trying it a few times and then deciding you can’t do it. It happens by trying it as many times as it takes to get it right.
It begins with turning a little switch in your mind to the setting that says, “I will do this.” It’s how a concert violinist gets to the concert hall, it’s how the golfer perfects the swing, it’s how Luke Skywalker lifts the X-wing out of the swamp with his brain.
What is it that you’re trying to do? Are you trying it every day, over and over? You know the answer to that because if you ARE, then you’re doing it better every day.
And if you’re NOT doing it better every day, then you need to find that little switch in your mind and flip it.