ASC: Focus

Welcome back to my 2020 Author Survival Course. Let’s recap what we’ve covered so far:

Tip #4: Focus

At the time of this writing, we are under varying levels of quarantine due to COVID-19. Given what is happening globally, it can cause writers to doubt what they’re doing. What’s the point? Will anyone even care about what I write? Who wants to read about (fill in the blank) with all that is happening around us?

Nearly as detrimental as those doubts is the messages popping up on your favorite social media feed.

“I have more time, but I just can’t focus.”

“I know I should be writing, but I keep clicking over to the news.”

“I’m now sharing my workspace with my husband and my school-age kids. How can I get anything done here?”

“I want to write, but there’s a cat on my keyboard” (my personal favorite)

I get it. I understand. But let’s be brutally honest…those things are just excuses. You can always find an excuse NOT to write. You can always find other things that need to be done. And there are always things to distract us—a vast abundance of things, some beneficial, others not so much.

So it’s time to have a good talk with yourself. (Feel free to lock yourself in the bathroom if that’s what it takes.) Why did you start writing? What message are you trying to get across to your readers? Did you feel God inspiring you to write what you’re writing?

Once you’ve answered those questions, turn off your internet, put in your earphones, be sure the guppies are all safely parked in front of the television or with their books or playing a game together. Set a timer for one hour. Put a sign on the door if you have to. Tell your loved ones they have to wait 60 minutes to interrupt you. And tell yourself that as well. Nothing is going to happen in the world that you need to know in the next hour. It’ll wait. Trust me, it will still be there once you re-join the world. Now…deep breath…write. Fall into your story. Create the world that you want to share with your readers.

Start small–maybe an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. Expand to three. If you can manage a longer chunk of time, go for it. If not, stick with sixty minutes and see what you can accomplish. The more we write, the more we enjoy the process of writing.

I like to think that the reason I write, regardless the genre, is that ultimately my stories give hope to people. It offers them a world where things make sense and turn out like we think they should (mostly). I strive to remind readers of friendship and community and grace. Those things were all worth sharing before, and they still are worth sharing.

Are you feeling like you can do this now? I hope so. BTW, you can always send me a question via my contact button. I’d be happy to answer privately or even share use your question as a topic on this page. My hope is that these tips make your writing journey a tiny bit easier. If they are helping, feel free to share this page with a friend.

We’ll talk again soon.