It's All about Focus.

Posted by Mary Marvella | 12:41 PM | , , | 10 comments »

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. The lessons weren't wasted any more than my years in choirs were. I enjoyed the singing and can play a tune if I want to.

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 the 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.

FOCUS AND WRITING (Or other passions or hobbies)

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. Many artists create for the pleasure of it, not for money. People focus on getting their lives organized, or building careers, or becoming fit.

Writers 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? Some artists dabble in different mediums, while others do one thing. An athlete might play one sport or participate in every sport. Musicians often play more than one instrument, while some focus on one they play really well.

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. Anonymous // September 14, 2008 at 2:52 PM  

    MM, my life parallels your in so many ways. Early on I discovered a love of reading that continues to this day. Later when my kids were small I caught the writer's bug, but time wasn't available. Too many demands on my time, then when the kids were in high school and things began to slow I took up writing seriously. I won several contests, but lacked self-confidence, that led me to enter college in my late thirties. Writing became a chore filled with research and tests. I lost the joy of writing. When I graduated and took a job teaching I figured I'd have the summers free to write. No such thing. I spent the next few years earning a masters degree and working more than half way through a six year degree before I threw in the towel and yelled enough! By then I had a new grandbaby! You guessed it. Writing completely vanished from my daily life. I allowed my memberships in my favorite writer's organizations to lapse. (Big mistake)Several years later, I was cruising the web wondering where all the writers hung out and ran up on a couple old friends. (MM, Mel and Nancy) by tossing bread crumbs they lured me out of my doldrums and back into the writer's community I'd left nearly 10 years before! It took a while and lots of encouragement from MM, but I am writing again! Thanks MM, but you already knew you were my lifeline, didn't ya!

    Scarlet Pumpernickel

  2. Anonymous // September 14, 2008 at 2:54 PM  

    Why is it the minute your hit publish you see the typos in a comment? Aarrrgggh


  3. Anonymous // September 14, 2008 at 2:57 PM  

    Oops, MM! Got so carried away with my response to your blog I forgot to say great post! But that's the response that's best, isn't it? When the reader gets carried away with what you've written? So I guess my compliment was in my comment!


  4. Liz Jasper // September 14, 2008 at 3:11 PM  

    Am off to focus on getting some work done. Great post.

  5. Mary Marvella // September 14, 2008 at 3:25 PM  

    Thanks,Scarlet and Liz. I aim to help. Besides, Scarlet was itching to be dragged kicking and screaming back into writing.

  6. Mary Ricksen // September 14, 2008 at 5:37 PM  

    I write for me. I think it's a gift.

    Whether you write for the money or just the joy. It's all yours!

    We can all find parallels to each others lives. But the one thing we surely have in common is that the writing is all ours. At least until it's finished. We can go into our minds on the plane where creativity is formed and get lost in our stories, forgetting every problem if just for a while.

    In the end it's a solitary means to give a gift to myself, one that I really deserve.

    That's why I write.

    The only thing that makes it perfect, is when others enjoy my

  7. Anonymous // September 14, 2008 at 6:47 PM  

    Mary R, what a wonderful gift to give yourself. I agree it is a gift to be able to leave the real world behind and escape into the world we create with our writing. We are all sisters of the pen! Write on!


  8. Mary Marvella // September 14, 2008 at 7:02 PM  

    I agree, Mary R. and Scarlet. If I knew I'd never sell a book, I'd still write, probably with more innocent joy! I'd give the stories away!

  9. Beth Trissel // September 16, 2008 at 4:06 PM  

    Good question(s. I write historical and now more and more paranormal mixed in with it, or as the primary theme. I like to dabble.

  10. Nightingale // September 17, 2008 at 2:05 PM  

    Focus. I could use a bit of that. My house has a contract and I have to move out the furniture; I got my final proof from TWRP today and I'm trying to finish a polish on a WIP to send out.