Focus

One of my ongoing struggles is deciding which projects I want to work on at any given time.

Now, my “do all the things!” approach is meant to combat this to some extent. I don’t worry as much about neglecting some interests in the pursuit of others. But, as I’ve observed more than once, we still have to make choices.

This probably manifests itself the most in my writing. “Where do I get ideas?”…is not a concern of mine. I have many dozens of ideas. When I look at the blank page, I do not see the yawning of the void. I see all the many, many stories that might spring from the emptiness, all of which are clamoring for my attention.

So I do not wonder where I will come up with my next novel-length project. I wonder how I will pick which project to which to devote my energies.

Because when it comes to writing, you really do have to concentrate. You can’t write a little one of thing and a little of another and so on. There’s no continuity. There’s no build. Energy when I’m writing is cumulative. And starting fresh is really tough. You want, at some point, to feel like you’re walking downhill. And do that, you have to do some work first.

Sometimes I go with my gut instinct–what I think I’m in the best space to write at any given time. The problem is sticking with that instinct day-to-day and maintaining that interest. I daydream a lot when I’m thinking about stories. So it’s occasionally a struggle to daydream about the same story on any given day. Otherwise, I risk undermining my own energy.

But I’m working on it. I’m getting more decisive. Because there’s only one thing worse than picking the wrong project and that’s not writing.

How do you focus?

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One thought on “Focus

  1. Actually I’ve found myself a couple of times (in the past, I’m lacking my writing instincts these days) that when I start getting side ideas or ideas that don’t fit with the story I’m writing I throw those thoughts into a separate document/or post-it note on my computer so if I want to I can explore them as their own story line later and it keeps me from getting bogged down with irrelevant ideas that don’t work with the story I’m working on. Some of those have actually come back and become part of the story as I’ve mentally fleshed out the world, they’ve usually been incorporated as backstory or side story that helps my story in ways I never expected.

    One of these days I’ll get that story all out on paper.

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