Thursday, March 29, 2007


Sometimes, as fast as you want to get where you're going, the world around you just slows you down. Every redlight along the way switches on as you approach. People pull out in front of you, then creep along at half the speed you want to go. Though you want to run down the hall or sidewalk, slow-walkers teeter into your path at strategic points, forcing you to match their excruciating pace. And there's just nothing you can do about it but smile, have patience, and accept it. That's exactly how this week has been for me. Everywhere I go and everything I do, someone or something slows me down. It's been driving me crazy...but I guess I just have to quit fighting it. What else can I do? It's much like my writing career, in fact. I've done a lot of good work, and I've made a lot of the right moves, but my progress seems nonexistent most of the time. I want it to all come together right NOW, with no further delays...but there's only so much I can do. The rest of it, like the redlights, erratic drivers, and super-slow walkers, is out of my control. I wonder if I'll ever manage not to let it drive me so crazy?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Focus Battle

The writer's dichotomy: I love writing more than almost anything...but it's so much easier to do almost anything other than write. That challenge, of course, is one of the things that makes me love writing so much--the inner struggle that sometimes ends with a beautiful or at least unique creation. But sometimes, it's almost impossible to push aside the temptation to do other, easier things. I'll break my focus to check e-mail or a website or watch TV. Sometimes, I can even justify the sidetracking, as it relates to my writing in some way...though it isn't the writing itself. Often, the distractions are perfectly sensible, fulfilling homeowner responsibilities or obligations to loved ones. Now, especially, as the weather warms up, I'm finding myself pulled away from the laptop to tend to yardwork, car washing, etc. I'm going to have to make a stronger conscious effort to set aside the uniterrupted time in my office EVERY DAY, then marshal my forces and resist every temptation to break that time with distractions...and WRITE.

My mentor, Dean, has a saying: "Kick those people out of your office." Mostly, it means that a writer has to block out all the contrary voices in his or her head that can sabotage truly creative writing--the discouraging English teacher, the negatively critical editor, the unsupportive parent, whoever. I also think it applies to the Focus Battle. When your butt hits that chair, you have to kick everyone and everything out of your office, including the little voice telling you to check your e-mail or do some "research" on the Web.

The Focus Battle. Add it to the list of running battles I'm fighting this year: Focus, Patience, and Creativity vs. Business. More on this later from the western front.