Where Dreams Meet the Business of Writing

Posts tagged ‘focus’

A2Z-BADGE [2016]

In participation with the A to Z Blog Challenge for 2016, Writer’s Zen is posting affirmations for writers in an A to Z theme. We’ll post every day during April, except Sunday’s – when we all get time off for good behavior.


I maintain focus in my writing life.

My daily, weekly, monthly goals signal to me, like beacons in the night.

I remain steadfast, headed towards my goals – focused.

Distractions are merely a minor blip on my radar. I honor my time for scribing the words in my head and my heart.

The chores, tasks and errands, email, Facebook and the phone all wait. They will have their turn.

I turn off the internal distractions. If they return, insistent on getting my attention, I quiet them with my mental ‘snooze’ button. I tell them I will give them my full attention – in 500 words – in 1,000 words – in an hour – when I’ve met my goal.

My research is ready. My tools are ready. I am prepared.

My writing is a priority and I remain focused.

meditation_stones candle sand

My $35,000 List

My $35,000 list

35k listDo you ever feel like you’re running all day long without accomplishing much of anything? Do your days feel full of endless activity, yet at the end of the day your list remains without many items crossed off?

That was me. Working, working, endlessly busy. For myself, I found that my biggest problem was that I spent more time off chasing ‘rabbit’s. I’d be hunkered down, busy at a task … and … flash … there went a thought that I thought I should chase. There I was, off across the field, chasing the newest rabbit in my field of vision, leaving my current’s day’s to-do list in the dust.

That changed when I read Miracle’s Happen, by Mary Kay Ash. In it, she shares what she called her $35,000 list. Basically, she advises that at the end of each day you make a list of 6 things to accomplish the next day. Prioritize them 1 – 6, in order of importance. The next day, start with #1 and work your way through. If you don’t finish, transfer the items to the next day and continue working. (Read more about the Mary Kay’s version of the story here.)

I started using this method with my writing 1/31/14. That day I crossed one item off the list. But, I kept it up. Now to be truthful, with working full time and only writing in periods in between my work and home life, sometimes I’d work three to four weeks on those 6 items. But now that I’m writing full time, I’m finding this method indispensable in keeping me on track. (This blog is #4 for today.)

maintain focusSomething I discovered with this $35,000 list, is to break some of the items down into smaller bites for an individual item. When I had: Edit Scooter’s Tale (a whole manuscript), Finish Starting Over (only about another 30k words needed), write 3 blogs, research next project … well, with each item having this magnitude, there was no way this was all happening in one day. So I’d end the day frustrated because I hadn’t made a dent. I’ve learned to list my tasks in more manageable pieces. List each blog separately – that’s three items in itself. Add 2k or 3k to my WIP. Edit first 50 pages. Being realistic with what I can accomplish in my allotted time is just as important as staying focused.

Now, I’m off to upload this and head to Task #5.

Give it try and see if this helps. Let me know!

Staying Focused – Tips from Carmen Welsh, Jr.

Writer’s Zen welcomes a guest blogger today, Carmen Welsh, Jr.

She writes. She blogs. She tweets. She creates artistic works far beyond what my fumble fingers can draw or paint. And in her spare time, Carmen is in graduate school furthering her education, completing papers, taking tests and completing the myriad tasks and assignments that go along with graduate work. How does Carmen maintain focus in the midst of constant deadlines and demands? Here, she shares some tips and inspiration with us about how she stays focused.

Thanks for stopping by at Writer’s Zen and sharing your thoughts with us!


Stay Focused

kayfeyFor me, staying focused is constant list making, jotting down odd vocabulary, and check boxes.

It’s putting up reminders – on my desktop, in journals, on a cellphone app, and on a netbook. It means Stickies and Post-Its(r). It means raving about my work-in-progress on my blog and other social media.

How I stay focused is to tell others who give a damn while I’m in a draft desert. Sometimes, they cheer me on. Other times, they tell me to shut up and go back to write. I guess we writers often need masochism.

Staying focused for me means to surround my outer world with references to the craft, to the topic at hand. That involves research both offline and online.

It’s jumping to a new project when I’m stalled on another; this helps to get the juices flowing and my fingers going. Both on paper and on the keyboard.

Being focused means to immerse myself in research notes and other writers’ voices so that when I am stuck in my head for too long, I will be bombarded by the very things that knock me back.

Staying in focus means there isn’t a writer’s block if the neighborhood is a constant source of inspiration.


BIO: Carmen Welsh Jr. (yes, I’m a girl) holds an AA in Art Ed and a BSc in IT. She’s published artwork, short stories and articles in fanzines, magazine anthologies, e-zines, and other literary blogs. Two of her early short fiction became podcasts. She says tweeting is an addiction. She’s an official member of the Furry Writer’s Guild and AWP. Carmen is currently in grad school. Her official site is http://TabbertheRed.com. You can find her ranting and raving about many topics on Twitter @kayfey. Her ongoing art portfolio with works old and recent can be found on http://CopperSphinx.deviantart.com


It’s April! That means it’s time for the ‘BLOGGING A to Z CHALLENGE’. Everyday this month (except Sunday) bloggers will be blogging to a theme, using different letter of the alphabet – running, of course, from A to Z.

I’m blogging about WRITER’S ZEN: Where writing and meditation meet.

Meditation and positive affirmations can directly benefit our lives in many aspects. It also can benefit our writing — in the creative aspects, our productivity, our career as an author, our feelings about writing and much more. I’m making a conscious effort to make more time in my life for meditation. I’m also practicing using some of these techniques to improve my writing. Through the A to Z blog challenge, I’m sharing some of mine with you.

Read through the affirmations for each subject. Some will probably resonate with you better than others. Maybe all of them will. Maybe none of them will. We are all on our own paths, having diverse needs at different times. Even on our own individual journey, we still require different words and messages on different days.

Pick one or two thoughts that speak to you. Sit quietly for a few moments. Repeat the affirmations to yourself. Say them aloud. Reflect on how these thoughts affect your life and your writing. Are there roadblocks in your life that is stopping the goodness from entering? Are we in any way allowing this roadblock to exist? Are we putting it there ourselves? Open your mind to allowing new possibilities to present themselves.

If a phrase feels more needed, copy it onto an index card or post-it note. Keep it with you, in the car, or on the computer. Repeat throughout the day, reinforcing the message.

Give it a try! Let me know if these help your writing, or if you have any thoughts on affirmations that would be useful to use in your daily life.

Happy Writing!

maintain focus


I maintain focus in my writing life. My daily – weekly – monthly goals signal to me, as beacons in the night. I remain steadfast, headed towards my goals. I am focused.

Distractions are but a minor blip on my radar screen. This is my writing time. I honor my time for scribing the words in my head and my heart.

The chores, tasks, errands, email, Facebook and phone; they wait. They will have their turn. When it’s my writing time, I write.

I turn off the internal distractions. If they return, insistent on getting my attention, I quiet them with my mental ‘snooze’ button. I tell them I will give them my full attention … in 500 words, in 1,000 words, in one hour … whatever my goal is for that session.

My research is ready. My tools are ready. I am prepared.

My writing is a priority. I remain focused.

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