Thursday, September 22, 2011


The other day while running errands, I had the radio on as normal and heard something interesting.  The guy said the reason most people don't succeed is because they don't focus.  Then he went on to explain what he meant.

Focus = Follow One Course Until Successful

He said people tend to start one thing, work at it for a while but then we drop it when something we think is better comes along.

And I don't know about you, but I am so guilty of this with my writing.  I'll work on one thing for a while, then a new idea comes along and I drop what I've been writing and start this new, great idea that just can't wait. The process then repeats itself over and over and over.  I don't know how many stories I have that abandoned for something that seemed better. 

This leads to something else I came across lately.  It was a blog post (and I can't find it to post a link) about the difficulties of writing, publishing and promoting in multiple genres at the same time.  One point made was that each genre will suffer because none of them are getting your full attention and your best effort.

Again, this hit me just like one of Gibbs' slap to the back of the head. I've written romance, fantasy, mystery, horror, non-fiction, inspirational, a little sci-fi and even some poetry.  I've got novels in various stages of revision and editing in fantasy, romance and mystery along with an inspirational self-help thing plotted out.

Naturally, I went into denial.  I can write 5 or 6 different genres at one time and do it well.  I can revise 3 different genre novels at one time without any problem.  What does this person know, what makes her an expert on me? 

After getting over myself though, I realized she was right.  I love my fantasy novel.  But it's suffering because I'm not FOCUSED on it.  And my mystery novel, the one I hope to pitch to New York one day, we'll it's suffering right along with the fantasy novel, and the romance novel.  Because I'm not FOCUSED.

So, I asked myself some questions.  Hard questions like just did I think I was accomplishing by spreading myself so thin.  And, just exactly what did I hope to accomplish with my writing and was I making progress the way things were going now. 

I made some hard decisions too.  And I'll be posting more about those soon but for now, I thought I'd share what I've learned lately.

And I have to ask... 

What about you?  Do you have a stack/file of unfinished stories?  Are you working on multiple genres at the same time but not giving each your best because you're spreading yourself too thin?


Indigo said...

I don't necessarily stick to one style of writing or genre. Take my blog for example: My followers feel it's emotive and poetic. Yet my novels are heavily delved into horror and the paranormal.

Which goes to say I think it's the writer's personal style that crosses the genres. Even so, I agree we need to focus at one task at a time in order to accomplish something worthwhile.

How do I handle it? When I first started writing the most difficult task was new story ideas. I felt compelled to write them out, while being overwhelmed with the WIP I already had on my plate.

Now I simply write the gist of the ideas down and save them in a folder. I'm able to finish what I'm working on and still keep the ideas flowing. (Hugs)Indigo

Jaime Callahan said...

*raises hand* I do the starting new stuff thing too. I've been trying really hard to stick to my latest WiP, and it's been really hard. I have to keep giving myself pep talks, even though I KNOW giving up would be a mistake. It's very frustrating.

KarenG said...

I should be focusing right now. I have resolved to type my ms into the laptop today and I keep getting distracted :)