Thursday, July 12, 2012

How do you stay focused?

How DO you stay focused? I'm in serious unfocusedness-land, people. I mean, I really like my YA Romantic Suspense (that's the genre I've decided it is...but that might change. Again.) but there are TWO other plots just a knock-knock-knocking on my brain and I'm having a very hard time focusing on these rewrites.

On the plus side, I've turned into a procrastination genius. In some ways, this is actually good. I'm catching up on reviewing all those lovely NetGalley stories I've read...finally posting them and getting them archived so it doesn't look like I have eleventy-billion novels to review. I've hit the dentist, the doctor, the vet, have my sinus surgery scheduled (yahoo? A week's recovery will be no fun but at least I'll be able to breathe!), all my reviews for the past year have been sent on to the respective publishers (something I've been meaning to do for the last six months), and I've read all my magazines (I told you about the massive pile I it's ready to go to Mom).

How do you handle it when you get unfocused--and yet you REALLY want to get something done? Because I do want to get through these rewrites. When I get through the rewrites, I can get through revisions. When I get through the revision, I can do a quick edit and send it on to some beta readers while looking for crit partners (anyone up for exchanging manuscripts? I lurve y'all...). Once I get it through that process and another revision/edit, I can start querying agents. So, there's a plan in place but my brain is just not cooperating.

Am I scared? Maybe that's it. The last time I finished a novel and sent out queries, my dream agent asked for a partial but then sent a very sweet rejection. I mean, rejection does scare me. But I've failed before and, if I do fail again (despite my investing 2-3 years of my life in this project), I'll pick myself up and keep on writing and trying. 

I'm a late-bloomer as it is. Despite writing (golf magazine, nonfiction) and wanting to write (fiction) since I was a teen, I'd never finished a novel until I was in my late 30's. Before I got deep into social media and found an incredibly supportive writing community, I never thought I could actually finish a novel. Carcasses of my attempts lay scattered behind me...false starts, unconnected scenes but never an entire novel. *sigh*
Okay, if you say so,  Avengers! Credit
Enough babbling and back to my original question: how do you stay focused? Or get refocused? 


  1. I don't have too much trouble staying focused on whatever my current project is. Not sure why. But maybe because I finally made a decision that I was throwing all my energy into this one thing - writing. Now I find it harder when I don't have anything to work on, like now!

  2. I set myself goals. So if you're doing a rewrite, you might say 'okay, I have to do at least 2500 words a day'. Or even make it smaller depending on what type of writer you are; if this is the case, make the target something like 'I have to do 500 words a day'. As long as you have some sort of target, you can feel you've made some progress every day, and soon it will begin to add up!

    I'm not saying it isn't hard, because when you're unfocused and you're struggling to write it can be agony (I have suffered this many a time). But at least you can go to sleep knowing that you've done some work and that you've made progress. Be strict with yourself, reward yourself for good days, and hopefully you'll get your focus back. Good luck, Mary!

  3. I don't know... on the one hand I love your list of other stuff you're getting done; I'd love to knock off items on my long to do list.
    On the other hand... writing!
    My new schedule, where each day (once home from the day job) is devoted to something else (writing, editing, scrapbooking, knitting, reading) helps me a lot because now I've got non-writing time built in and don't have to feel so guilty!