Regular readers of this blog know that I write every day. Another goal I have is to spend weekday mornings writing and afternoons working (which involves some more writing). I seldom realize that goal, but I am moving in that direction. Then in the evenings, when my schedule permits, I work on my platform. Again, this goal is only somewhat realized.
This week was a whirl of activity. Here’s what I remember:
- I write blog posts on weekends but had one unfinished. I wrapped that up first thing Monday morning.
- I’m working on a book proposal that an acquisitions editor asked for. I hoped to complete another section of it on Friday, but I didn’t so I finished that section (with two more to go).
- I had talked with a literary agent about a couple of book ideas. Inspiration hit, so I wrote the opening chapter for one of them.
- I think I spent the afternoon following up on emails for work.
- That night I listened to some platform building podcasts, adding more items to my to-do-list.
- On Tuesday, I wrote a chapter in another book about the church we visited on Sunday. I needed to capture my thoughts quickly before the details faded.
- I tried unsuccessfully to connect with a writers group before lunch. Since that didn’t work out, I went to a different one in the evening.
- Work that afternoon was a blur, but I begin working on a freelance project for three blog posts.
- Wednesday, I made edits to the piece I shared at my critique group the night before.
- I went to edit the piece I wrote on Tuesday but realized I hadn’t edited the prior 12,000 words. Major distraction.
- In the afternoon I worked on TAStrader that will go out next week. Now I just need to write my column for it.
- I reviewed cover options for another book. Both are great; now I need to pick one.
- I finished my freelance project and sent it out. Then I charged the client’s credit card. Both are great feelings.
- The evening brought more platform work—and another item on my to-do-list.
- Thursday I came up with the concept for the other book the agent and I had discussed. I outlined it before I forgot. I’m itching to start writing, but that will need to wait.
- Then I finished editing the 12,000 unedited words I discovered on Wednesday.
- Next, I made a final edit to another book. (A book is never done, but this one is now on hold for a while).
- Email at work stacked up, and I whittled that down to a manageable level.
- I sent out my writer’s newsletter (WriteOn!). It only takes about an hour to do, but it also takes an hour to do.
- I worked on something Friday morning, but I already forgot what. I’m behind at work and cut writing short to start work early.
- In the afternoon I edited some submissions for the next issue of Connections Magazine. One article came in at 1,200 words, and it was supposed to be 750. I knew I could edit it down to hit the needed length, but that took time.
- I ended the week finishing another freelance project and charging the client. Plus the words were really good ones. Triple bonus.
I never did get back to my book proposal, and I’ve not started my newsletter column (but I do know the topic). I have a nagging feeling I have something else, but right now I can’t recall what. In the midst of this week, I had a near meltdown and a couple of times of overwhelmed lethargy-producing frustration.
I don’t share my week to complain or to boast. I’m happy I have work to do, am overflowing with ideas, and have an agent and editor interested in my work. It is good, so very good. But the multitude of projects and ever-present distractions are insane. Sustained focus is elusive. It’s not manageable. I need to cut something out. Change starts today.
My purpose in writing this is simple: Be sure to guard your writing.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.