Focus and Discouragement

It’s been a while since my last post so excuse me if I ramble a bit…

On Focus-
I’ve always considered myself a pretty focused person. I’m a planner, I make lists, devise methods and get the job done. I ‘m all about working now so you can rest later. No taking breaks, no scenic routes- in the words of Mater just “Git ‘er done!” But now when it comes to writing I feel like a scatter brain. So many ideas-poems, plots, dialogue, commentary- some of them make it to paper while others are like a flash of the brain and then forever gone (those days I wish I carried a recorder). I sometimes wonder why I can’t be one of those writers with sudden urgent inspiration and produce a novel in like two weeks. No really, I realize that the craft of writing is a practice of diligent, deliberate action, a commitment.  NPR (National Public Radio) recently did an interesting segment on “harmful” reads for aspiring writers. Not because the books are bad but because they’re so well written and loved, that their style might invite imitation (which we know is the highest form of flattery). It’s a point well taken. I remember reading Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and attempting to write a story through a series of “Dear God” diary entries. Recently I read a classic christian fiction novel by Francine Rivers and while I have always been inspired by her style, I was especially taken with the story. A story that nudges me to focus on an unfinished manuscript, just a few pages abandoned in my files. I’m inclined to take a second look.

On Discouragement-
Ever heard the saying “Jack of all trades but master of none”? I think that sentiment can be applied when one says “yes” one time too many, trying to do it all yet sufficiently accomplishing nothing. I’m disappointed I won’t be walking with the LLS Team in Training in the Iron Girl Half Marathon this week as I’d planned (remember that post and my little fundraising widget?). First I was unable to make crucial group training sessions, then I had difficulty fundraising, didn’t meet my goal and it pretty much went downhill from there. Could I have done more? Yes I know I could have. Fundraising was the one thing I dreaded and I probably subconsciously sabotaged myself. I chalk it up to poor planning and unrealistic expectations, I’ve lived and learned.
Then there’s the writer’s discouragement. You know when you wonder who if anyone is reading your stuff, when you’ve received another one of those nice form letters saying, “Thanks but no thanks.” You begin to wonder if your words are impacting anyone or anything. Am I delusional? In the past this discouragement would become full fledge deflation, I would just stash the pen & notebook on a shelf. But this time around the passion is undeniable and I’m determined to push forward. I’ve settled within myself that if I have an audience of just one, it’s one person whose life has been touched in, I hope, a positive way. I’ve been challenged to determine what defines success for me. Is it being published by a traditional publisher? Is it self publishing? Having a web presence? I’m still sorting out the answers to those questions but I’m encouraged and I’m motivated.

Challenges can make you bitter or better. I choose better. Let’s write on, friends. Write on!