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Writing, Fiction, Focus

January 24, 2011

One of the toughest situations a writer faces is focus. Not simply focus on the story at hand, but focus on items such as writing time, deadlines, new ideas, organization, finances, interaction with other writers, etc. This installment of Fiction’s Footsteps is a bit of housecleaning. A clearing of the writing cobwebs, if you will. Even if you won’t, I’m still going to do this…

Confidence is king when it comes to fiction or any writing for that matter. You must have a conviction of your heart that what you are about to put on screen will indeed be read-worthy. To accomplish this, you must feel secure in your ability to convey ideas, fantasies, situations and nuances to prospective readers. No small task.

Most of the writers I meet possess this odd tendency to focus on mistakes and blunders. Writers will often downgrade their abilities to others as some warped aberrational humility which serves only to lessen their footprint on this world. I’m not suggesting all writers should become egomaniacs, but more confidence in their craft certainly would not hurt.

I’m not simply speaking of other writers, I include myself in this category. Writing is a lonely business, at least the physical act of writing is solitary. I don’t necessarily view writing as ‘lonely’ because my characters keep me entertained. Outside of the imagination, though, writing consists of you, your writing medium, and your imagination. No one will do this for you. If someone did, then the writing would not be yours, correct?

Writers struggle to discipline themselves adequate writing time in many cases. I hear the excuses every day about time. Hell, I use half of those excuses myself! The fact remains, you have time to write. You simply do not focus and MAKE time to write.

Finances embody another writing bugaboo. Writers don’t want to focus on business. Business is the bane of most writers. Business jerks writers out of their ‘zone’ and into the real world where they must act and behave in a responsible manner so the food on their table does not slip away into dust and collections notices. For many writers, finances can decimate their writing by distracting them with jobs. Yes, work with something other than a keyboard and a dream…

Writers tend to throw away new ideas. I know, foolish, isn’t it? Often writers get so tunnel visioned by the project they’re working on, they neglect the delightful nuggets of some other work that may pop into their heads. Writers should focus on taking down insightful notes to be accessed at a later date rather than hoping they’ll remember when they need it.

Interaction with other writers is a lifeline to a writing career. I’m sure there are exceptions out there, but most writers desperately need other writers if for no other reason than to stay sane. Writing requires a person to steep themselves in their own mind. That’s enough to drive anyone crazy. Writers should focus on separating out time for people who share their love of words. This interaction most often proves motivational as well as often inspires writers in new directions.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, it’s time to focus on fiction…

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Michael Ray King

Book Writing Coach


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