Each year rather than making a list of resolutions that will be broken by February, I choose one word as a guide toward reaching my goals. This year my word chose me, it was practically screaming at me on a daily basis during the past weeks.
Since completing NaNoWriMo, my writing life was almost non-existent. My mind was full of ideas and random thoughts that never made it from my brain to my laptop. I was easily distracted. When I got home from my day job I cleaned, exercised or cooked to avoid writing, I wasn’t even reading. It was then, I knew something was wrong.
Last week, as I continued to busy myself with anything but writing, I looked out the kitchen window to identify a bird at our feeder. I wasn’t wearing my glasses, so I couldn’t see very well. I put them on and everything became clear. I immediately saw one of my favorite birds, the Tufted Titmouse. Having the feeder to himself, he consumed the seed at a frantic pace.
Standing at the window, I had my light bulb moment. I had no direction with my writing because I was unable to focus. I had this large list of tasks to accomplish; finish a short story for submission, start a new short story, edit my NaNo project, read my craft books from cover to cover and enter several writing contests. I had become overwhelmed and unable to focus. I had left the narrow path and steered off course. I wasn’t following my own advice to keep it simple.
I realized, just like a race car driver, my focus will determine my direction. So this year, I choose to focus on my focus. I’ll tackle one project at a time, rather than juggling multiple projects. I’m hopeful my word will remind me to slow down, to not fill every second with tasks, and to allow myself to focus on one thing at a time. This is the direction I want my writing life to take so I can continue to grow and learn as a writer.