Monday, October 26, 2009


As I have mentioned before, I have a Writing Buddy. Laura Bridgwater and I meet every Thursday at a fabulous cafe to discuss writing, set goals and critique each others work. During a recent meeting I had my annual breakdown because I was trying to do too much and I couldn't think straight. I wanted to give it all up and walk away. As she does every year, Laura talked me down from the ledge.

She shared with me a strategy she had been trying. She called it FOCUS.


We looked at all the things I had going on: Northern Colorado Writers, blog, my writing, speaking at other conferences, organizing the NCW conference, book reviews... (she shook her head and rolled her eyes at me while I rambled off my list. It was clear now why I was losing my mind).

She asked what my goal was and I told her I wanted to make a living as the NCW director. So she said, I had to let some things go and FOCUS on this.

So we decided I had to let go anything that did not directly relate to helping NCW thrive. Speaking at conferences could stay because it was a marketing tool for NCW. We decided I had to let go of writing book reviews, make my blog a part of NCW and get some members to help write posts, temporarily let go of actively seeking article ideas & markets for my own writing and even let go of the self-imposed pressure of trying to write every single day.

It felt as if a huge burden was lifted off my shoulders. All I had to do now was FOCUS on NCW. I could wrap my brain around that.

Since making this decision, life has been easier and I find that I am getting more done. I am still making some transitions (finding people to help with this blog, updating the look of it and finishing up a book review I already started). But, my head is no longer spinning.

I was a little worried about letting go of the magazine writing, but I realized I still do a lot of writing through the NCW newsletter, website content and this blog. I will get back to magazines in due time.

What do you want to FOCUS on? Are there things you need to let go in order for that to happen?


Kay Theodoratus said...

Focusing is always a good idea. Good luck.

[Sorry, I don't know enough to be a guest blogger.]

Lost Wanderer said...

Trying to do to much at a time is definitely one of my biggest problems. I want to do and accomplish so many things that I don't focus on one thing, which could have been finished. It is a problem I am still working on.

Windy Lynn Harris said...

Clearing your plate is never easy. It means saying "no" to others. I'm doing my best to protect the time I have for writing and spend it on a novel project. I'm already hearing from those who I've held off, "So, when will you be done?" HA!

Janie B said...

I have this same problem at my job. My time is divided into several jobs, so I don't feel that I can give my best to any of them. It's frustrating and spills out into my personal life. Good luck with your focus.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I'm eliminating multi-tasking from my life and substituting focused serial-tasking. The things that keep falling to the bottom of the list (such as reading certain list and group digests that don't further my writing/promoting goals) will eventually be dropped altogether. I'm already less stressed and more productive.

Name: Luana Krause said...

I totally understand. This year has been very stressful for me, as a writer (and my personal life as well). "Spread too thin" doesn't even begin to cover it. I learned to let go of the things that aren's moving my primary goals forward. It's been a great relief. I'm so happy to see I'm not the only one. Wishing you all the best. Happy writing.

Kerrie said...


I'm glad I am not the only one too. Sometimes I do think I am the only one that has these crazy issues. It is nice to hear from other writers that I am NOT crazy. :-)

WordWrangler said...

I have a friend who helps me maintain focus, too! She tells me "Donna...priorities are key!"

If I keep my priorities straight, then everything else falls into place.


p.s. your blog looks great! :)

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