Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Clearer Focus


I've been lacking it in my writing and in my life. Of course, recognizing that is only half the battle. I lay part of the blame squarely on the internet, Facebook and Twitter. I can click thru on an email or Twitter link and surface 45 minutes later not even sure where I started. (You'll notice I refuse to incriminate blogging!)

But I realize that the internet isn't the problem, just the symptom. The problem is me. And my lack of focus.

Before I had children I made lists, new ones every day. I remember a mother of two seeing my list on a counter and commenting, "You won't get through half of that once you have kids."

"What a *#&!@" I thought. "My life is not going to change once I have kids."


Don't worry. I'm not blaming my lack of organization on my kids. I'm the one that stopped making the lists. I've started making them again. But I don't expect to make it through a full list these days. It might take me a few days to finish. And that's okay. Even if I don't follow them to a "T", they help me focus on what I need to do, and really, the focus is what I need.

Scheduling is helping too. The day planners that have languished on my desk for years are getting used again. Now I'm not wasting an entire day on research, or reading or cleaning the house (yuk!). It feels good knowing I have time for everything if I just make the time for it.

Focus gives me peace. It allows me to be a better wife, a better mother, and a better writer. I still have my days where I'm frazzled, where nothing works out the way I planned. But at least I'm giving myself a chance. And focusing on what's important to me.


Myra McEntire said...

I *kind of* think Twitter is one of the circles of hell for writers. Um ... What's your Twitter handle? :D

lisa and laura said...

Focus is one of my biggest challenges. There are way too many distractions!

I find that giving myself deadlines really helps.

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

do what I do and add the thinsg you do on your list - feels like you accomplish more! :)

Kristen, spinning said...

This is the first I've seen of your blog; it's great. Funny, but my husband says I have a problem with focus (note, he says I have a problem. I say opportunity) because, as he puts it, I jump from idea to idea. Really, if he was in my head, I have it all perfectly planned out, there are just all these things that get in my way (him, the children, life...). Anyways, great post. Likely nothing I said made any sense b/c I am not currently focusing on what I should be.

Corey Schwartz said...

Focus is a HUGE challenge for me too! My husband has incredible focus and it is beyond his comprehension how I can manage to get so little done!

Merc said...

Glad you're getting your focus back! I've been... um, sorta always kinda fail at that. LOL. O:)

Lists are fun though. B-)

Anonymous said...

When I get off track at all, I have to go back to my list. In fact, the best way to stay focused on the writing, for me, is to actually pencil in the hours I'll do it on that day planner. Yep, I had to start that again, too, these last couple of years.

C.R. Evers said...

Same here! Ever since my 3rd child was born I've been living in pure chaos. I still haven't figured out how to make things work yet. I wish I was more naturally organized and focused. ~sigh~

Kelly Polark said...

Focus (especially in the summer) is so hard when you write at home and have so many things (and people) pulling you away. Good luck to you! Once school gets back into session, I hope to be more efficient and FOCUS! Hey, Find me on Facebook (not to distract you, FB is a timesuck for me, but fun)! I tried finding you, but there are a lot of Sherrie Petersons! (Polark isn't as common a name ;)

PJ Hoover said...

It's the secret to everything, isn't it, Sherrie! I'm a firm believer in lists. I make a new one each day. And I love crossing things off.

Yay for you!

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Focus is huge for me, too. But I only have one child, so I'm thinking my lists might be easier to accomplish than if I had more kids! I live by lists. I have piles of them in front of my computer, which reminds me that I have a few things I need to get done within the next few hours, so thanks!

I don't Twitter. I refuse to Twitter right now. I'll get sucked in! And Facebook isn't big for me right now, either. Blogging is going downhill a bit more, which is frustrating, but gives me more time to write.

Good luck with your focus! Sounds like you're making it work.

Sherrie Petersen said...

Myra - I tend to lurk more than comment on Twitter, but you can find me there @SherriePetersen =)

LiLa - I totally respond to deadlines so being in a critique group is a BIG help!

Shelli - You're right - if I schedule in what I really do and really want to do, I get it done =)

Spinregina - I like that you see it as an opportunity! I do a lot of jumping in my mind, too =)

Corey - I think it's good to be married to someone who can focus. Imagine the chaos if neither one of you did!

Merc - Thanks! I like lists too. They make me feel like I've done something!

Becky - That's exactly what I'm doing. And having a "mini" deadline with the schedule makes me work!

Christy - I am NOT naturally organized which is why every little shred of chaos I manage to control brings pure joy!

Kelly - Summer does make it harder to focus, but my kids actually like having a schedule so I can give them what they want and help myself too! I'll look for you on FB =)

PJ - It feels SO good to cross something off my list. I'm glad I "rediscovered" your secret!

Stephanie Faris said...

I'm feeling you. I'm supposed to be writing right now and I've gotten very little done today. I've been hanging out here and on Facebook. I always think I'll just play for a minute, then I look at the clock and realize 20 minutes have passed...

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