I wonder if other writers/bloggers find themselves having any of these problems frequently:

  1. Coming up with lots of writing ideas and getting one or two paragraphs into each and then finding that the exploration of those topics wasn’t as interesting as it first might seem to be;
  2. Writing something, then thinking it is either too personal or too depressing or too silly or too whatever, even though it might be a good piece of writing;
  3. Becoming discouraged from writing because you’re distracted too often – i.e. simply being unable to concentrate.  Incidentally, the book Focus that I mention below made me realize this might be more of a problem for me than I thought it was.

I have all three of those problems, but unfortunately #1 is the one that kills 90% of my writing.  I have dozens and dozens of 1, 2, or 3 paragraph blog posts started, 3 eBooks with about 10-12 pages apiece, and 2 novels with one chapter apiece.  I started two other blogs besides this one that did fairly well for a while, but I lost interest in the subject matter (one was family/child oriented and the other was focused on the accounting/audit industry).

I’ll have to reread the aforementioned Focus by Leo Babuta again – I read it quickly in two lunch breaks this week – because if you want to do anything well you have to focus on it.  Leo’s written a nice little book with some practical tips, which were nice and helpful.  The overall theme of focus, though,  and why it’s not just an important thing but the MAIN thing in any endeavor really fired off a few of my own neurons.  I realize I can focus, simply because I’ve spent a few weeks building an incredibly complex financial model for a client, and they’ve been very pleased with the result.  So I know I’m capable of it.  But I don’t do it nearly as often as I should, and in certain areas I’ve let my focus atrophy to the point it’s non-existent, which is a very, very bad thing.

Originally this was going to be part of my roundup post yesterday, but I decided it could stand on its own.  But even that decision indicates I have a certain start-stop-start-stop mentality of not having a clear idea where I’m headed with something when I start it. I can be very good about focusing on my own habits, but that has to be coupled with a strong focus on goals, which unfortunately change too frequently for me.  I’ll have to take my one-habit-per-month plan and start adding goals, not just habit changes.  Because sometimes a nice long walk in the park can be pleasant, but if you don’t plan to end up in a certain location – i.e. back at your car, or your house or whatever – it’s not called a walk, it’s called “getting lost in the park.”

6 Replies to “focus”

  1. Not sure if it makes you feel better but #1 happens to me ALL the time…and then I either abandon the idea, which bothers me because I know the topic is interesting OR I force the post and it probably brings down the quality if the site.

    It might have made you feel better…but writing that comment made me feel worse lol

  2. Yeah, 1-3 applies to me – d’oh!

    I think I have over 200 ideas in Evernote but still find myself scrambling to figure out what to write about.

    I just visited the Focus page and will be downloading the pdf. Thanks for mentioning it! I can use some help with my focus.

  3. Steve,

    Nice new theme.

    I have a problem with 2. getting too personal. I often wonder if readers care about some of my experiences. But, my posts seem pretty boring when I just spill out the facts and figures. I try to mix it up to make it unique, but I wondrer where the line is.

  4. This is textbook blogger’s block for me. Nice to see that others are suffering from these afflictions. I find it helpful to chat with colleagues/co-workers whenever possible. I do my work from an office, so just yesterday I approached a few co-workers with a need for newsletter article ideas. A few minutes later and I had a full plate of great ideas to choose from.

  5. I know just where you’re coming from Steve.

    Coincidentally I have set aside some this weekend to work on a one-sheet plan for Monevator for the next year or two, including when and for how long I’ll blog, as well as the main things I want to achieve. Then I’m going to forget all about the stuff I’m *not* doing that theoretically I could with infinite time, and be content because I’m doing what I think is the most important.

    Well, that’s the theory! 😉

  6. Well, I have to say, as FaM approaches its 1500th post (not counting the ones that were lost in the switches from iLife to and from to Bluehost), I’m having a harder time coming up with story ideas. Probably just getting tired. Right now, really…how much would I rather be fixing breakfast or out walking around the park with the dog than writing yet another post?

    Now that I’m no longer struggling with the obnoxious workplace or worrying how to make ends meet, I find myself interested in subjects and activities other than personal finance. Retirement changes your thinking…for the better, IMHO.

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