Category Archives: Focus
So, a month has passed since I started my project: “Leaves and Steel” (working title). I set aside that month to work up an outline and do some background research. I promptly underestimated the work needed, while still managing to slide under the wire with a rough outline.
During that time, I carefully took a good hard look at my schedule, and did a lot of inner work. Would it have been nice to have layered more detail into my outline? Sure. Did I waste the time? No. Because what I was working harder on was setting my page goal.
Everyone should have these goals in place. Here is me without a goal: “Oh, I really want to look into clothing for the setting. I need the proper names of things. And I also want to daydream about great scenes that will be in the book, so that I have something to look forward to. Where is that book on politics? There was this article that I read.. was it Utne reader, or Community magazine…. ” Three months later: “Oh, the novel, yeah, it’s going to be great! I should be starting soon.” Don’t do this.
Look at the difference a simple goal makes – I don’t have a great outline. I don’t have the sort of outline that you show to others and they lean over and bask in it’s perfection. It’s more of a guideline, really. Yet I moved on and am writing the novel.
It’s a testament to the power of goal setting when you start your novel and when it is time to use one of the primary character’s names you type this: <lastname>. Yeah, freakish, isn’t it? Scary. Still, I wrote my first damn page on time. (don’t fret, I named him the next day, he’ll be alright)
So what goal did I set for completing my first draft by July 2018? Five pages a week.
I hear you: “Just Five?!?” with mouths aghast and eyelids wide.
Yes. Just five. Because I know I can do that. I know I can slip and recover from that. Because I know, that over the course of a year, there are going to be weeks that I produce more that five – but never less; and that is the point.
I am thinking of the space around the words also. Space to stay fit, to eat healthy, to communicate this journey to those who stop by the fire. Most of all I am thinking that this time I will not set myself up for failure, because that is what you do when you insist that you write as if you are a published professional right out of the gate.
So set goals. Do inner work. Look at where you are with compassion and set your schedule accordingly. Much <3 to you.
So let’s take a look here. Most of the focus rests on self-sabotage; but what if there are other things in motion?
That special person in your life that says one thing, but their actions say another. That’s painful. What are you going to do about that? The solutions are never simple, especially when there is a lack of awareness on the side of the other party.
So you have a choice: your project, or them.
This is a great test of focus. Not a fun test, but certainly challenging. Would you settle for someone who would deny the expression of who you are? You might be tempted, especially if you came to you path late, and now you are many miles down the road on the other’s path.
There is a tendency to allow an external act of unconscious sabotage push you into doubt, and from doubt into self-sabotage. The litany of: “Well, I am the one who’s changed”, “I probably wouldn’t succeed.”, “It’s okay, next year, when things are better.”, and the dreaded – “I guess I’m not really ready yet.”, followed closely by – “I have too much invested in the status quo.”
My experience is that it shows you need to do more inner work. You need to see the fork in the road ahead, and figure out how to embrace it. You need to stand, not run. You are not ready.
I’ve been there. I’m currently there right now. I can tell you that my reaction this time is so different, that I feel rather like an idiot for not having seen it before. My reaction now: “Fine. Now how do I work this horrible situation so I can stabilize quickly and stay on track with my project.”
It’s okay. If you are where I was years ago, making excuses and turning the lack of support inward and placing it on you, remember that you are walking your path. Sometimes we take the long road, and all that means is that we are stronger for it. Life isn’t a race, it’s an experience.
Chin up, chest out – greet the day and express yourself!