Focus – Choosing a Writing Life
Lately when speaking with my friend, we’ve been trying out the mantra “NO NEW PROJECTS!” She and I tend to say yes to everything offered to us without deciding first what would be in the best interest of our already stretched-thin lives and precarious time management skills. What’s exciting is that we are both being offered new things that are new and exciting, and well within our realm of interest and capability, so it’s just difficult to say no to some things that are so enticing. But frankly, the idea goes beyond time and ability and right down to focus.
As I write most days, I wonder what type of writer do I really want to be. And then I wonder what type of writing teacher do I want to be. The two could be very compatible if I weave them together properly.
For example, I write my blog posts pretty quickly and easily. I also write about my kids and paint little sketches of their lives pretty well and without a great time investment. My fiction, however, is a more arduous process that takes up an inordinate amount of time for me. Is it worth it, I wonder? Should I focus on non-fiction if that is easier for me? My teaching is an interesting parlay to this. I can teach freshman composition with ease. But I am responsible for these middle and high school students this school year. Is it worth it if it is much harder and takes so much more work from me?
Luckily I do not have to answer either of those questions definitively today. Sometimes things that are worth the time one day are not quite as worthwhile the next day. And that’s where it is good that we have multiple projects moving forward at once.
However, I do hope to make a plan over the winter holidays to focus my writing life. Writing is based on projects and I want to complete the ones I have started and then list the ones I would like to do once the current projects are complete. Perhaps I even need to shelve a project or two for when I can focus on different things that are not as urgent right now. I have to start managing what I am doing and for whom. I have to evaluate which projects intrigue me most and give me the most joy, and then put away all the rest – or turn down future requests. I believe if I focus on what is good and moves my career forward in the direction I choose, then I will be happier – and a better writer. It’s a matter of me choosing the direction and not letting the direction choose me.
These are goals of course, and I plan to meet them. Of all the things I can say about a writing life, the journey of it is certainly the most interesting. See you on the road.