Saturday, July 29, 2006

Focus, Breathe, and Pray!

I'm enjoying looking at all the pictures around the blogging world of the National Conference. Still sad that I'm not there - but hey, a bunch of us from my local chapter are planning to go to Dallas next year. It's within driving distance and we can split the cost of gas, saving us lots of money on airfare.

But being at home this week has also made me realize how I really need to focus on my writing. Let me 'splain.

It's so easy for those of us not published to come up with lots of excuses for not sitting down at the keyboard and working. I've been guilty of that this week. Granted, I've had a very emotional up and down sort of week caused by Monday night's events, but now I feel ready to tackle my manuscript again. I'm trying to follow the Great Nora's advice and "just write" and treat this like my job, but therein lies the rub - I already HAVE a day job that I must do. I can't put my work on the backburner and go and sit on the couch and read like I can with my fiction writing. I can't work ALL the time.

But is that an excuse in itself? If I want to make writing my full-time job someday (outside of the office and with a paycheck from a publisher), then I need to put my nose to the grindstone. I'm astute enough to know, however, that we all need a break. And I've had that break this week. Emotional rollercoaster rides really throw me for a loop, but I've taken the time I need to recover.

Anna Nalik (I think that's her name) has a song called Just Breathe. Faith Hill has one called Breathe. When life gets in the way, I just have to remember to breathe. And pray.

That seems like a good recipe for keeping me focused. The key, the absolute key, is to make sure you remember to do all those things. I think it's time to put a little post-it-note on my monitor to remind me.

Focus. Breathe. Pray.

My friend Pauline, who also writes World War II romance, had a brilliant, inspiring post the other day on her blog. Her advice is perfect for those of us who aren't yet published. I encourage you to take a look.

And remember: no excuses - just write!


  1. You can do it, Melissa!! One page, one sentence at a time. Thanks for all your good wishes this week.

  2. Melissa! I'm happy to announce that you're the winner of my blog drawing for July! You've won Tricia Goyer's new novel: Arms of Deliverance. Please check my site and send an email with your addy so I can mail you book out next week. Congrats & blessings!


  3. I found once I got into the routine of writing early the AM before work, it just became habit. Plus that early in the morning I have fewer distractions and my brain isn't worn out from the day's events, so there's only one thing to concentrate on - my ms. Setting aside time each day is essential and sticking to that a must. I think when you do that, mentally you are telling yourself that this is important and it has a high priority.

  4. Just keep putting the words on paper. Build that story line by line and even if it is only one hour a day keep at it.

  5. it IS hard to write when you have a day job and a family to take care of. Never enough hours. But I'm determined to make a bigger dent in pages this year!

    Sorry to miss you at the conference!


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