For those of you who know me, don't faint, I was actually tossing some articles I've saved from older Writer's Digest magazines. One that caught my attention dealt with focus.

Focus. Now that word can send chills to my heart. I'm not the kind of person who maintains focus in many areas of my life. I certainly can't keep my focus on cleaning. I don't focus well on organizing or filing.

At different times in our lives we need to focus on different things.

From the time I discovered the bookmobile I focused on reading. (A bookmobile is a traveling library. I was in first grade and suffering from withdrawal pains. Summer meant no school and no school library.)

Even as a teenager I focused on reading, making the school library and the public library my second homes. Oh, yes, I did other things. I did homework, played the oldest sister, and helped around the house while my parents worked. I took piano lessons but read novels instead of practicing.

For years I had to focus on motherhood, teaching, and helping my husband build a photography business. There was no time to focus on anything else, including reading for pleasure.

I couldn't focus on writing until I left teaching and my daughter entered high school and began to work part time at her dad's studio. My focus on writing developed as I discovered the new Macintosh computer at the studio. I had access to it after studio hours and worked after everyone left for the day. Often I worked until dawn. No way would I leave the studio at 2 or 3 AM, so I kept working.

During my daddy's illness, I changed focus to him and Mama. Both have left us and I sometimes question my focuses before those later years. Often as families grow and scatter, our areas of focus change. Our spouses and kids demand our time and attention, leaving less for our parents and siblings and extended family.

Since my daughter is married and my husband is now my EX, I can focus on my writing, my critique groups, and my friends. Because of my focuses, most of my friends are writers. I did not mention cleaning as a focus, because it isn't one.

Mary Marvella Barfield

We must each decide if now is the time to focus on writing in a big way or as one of the things we do. We are entitled to have some things that bring us pleasure.

We can focus on writing for pleasure or on writing to publish. Whatever you do, don't give up the joy of writing.

What is your focus when you write?

What do you write? Do you write stories in the same genre, the same kinds of stories?

I find that whether I write suspense, or women's fiction, or romance, one focus is always there. Family - family lost, or gained, or valued. My heroes and heroines or protagonists are loyal to family and value family. Family that's there for them, or family they wish they had, or family they miss. Sometimes the family consists of a parent and a child. Some families include couples and sometimes parents and siblings.

Do you have one central focus in your projects? I prefer to call mine stories.


  1. Sherry Morris // August 22, 2007 at 7:24 AM  

    I remember the bookmobile! I loved it and looked forward to it every other week in the summer. I'd go with my friends. We were reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder "Little House on the Prairie" series. My Aunt Dorothy took me to the last house Ms. Wilder lived in when I visited her in Missouri.

    The bookmobile is alive and well again. It comes to our neighborhood twice a month and parks at the community center, by the pool. I've not gone yet. I think I will soon.