Thursday, January 5, 2012

Focus People!

So, it's January again, a time for reflection on the past year and to make promises for the new year. A time filled with hope and optimism and of "HOLY CRAP, I HAVE A DEADLINE IN 31 DAYS!!!" Yes, that does deserve multiple exclamation points.

I do it every year. I leave the Oklahoma Writer's Conference and the Friends of the Library awards ceremony (which fall within 2 weeks of each other) and say, "This year I'm getting ready for next year's contests starting now." Then I'm busy hiding from tornados in the spring and going on vacation (not to mention having a baby) in the summer. Fall rolls around and I tell myself, "It's time to get busy." I put it at the end of my to-do list right under steam cleaning the carpet (which hasn’t gotten done either), because it's fall, and I have plenty of time.

I think writers are natural procrastinators (except for my friend Rita who writes a book every other day). We tell ourselves we have plenty of time, a whole year, in fact. We do our laundry (gotta have clean undies right?), take care of our kids (most important job in the world), and catch that new episode of Grey’s Anatomy (which is on right now), because we can write later, after the kid’s are in bed and we’ve had quality time with the spouse.

Before we know it, later becomes now and “plenty of time” becomes “no time at all”. Then we’re running ourselves ragged to get our work done on time, forgetting about the laundry (nobody knows what’s inside-out if it’s underneath), kids (Wendy’s anyone?) and Grey’s Anatomy (love my DVR), because we have to do that stuff later in order to meet our deadline. We lack focus.

So my challenge to you, as well as myself, this year is to find focus. It doesn’t have to be on writing. Focus on what you’re passionate about. Maybe you want to put together a knitting pattern book, open a no-kill shelter for pit bulls, lose a couple (or more than a couple in my case) of pounds, or write that bestselling novel, all those goals require focus.

So here’s to 2012, a year of hope, optimism, and focus to accomplish our dreams.