Wednesday, January 3, 2018

IWSG: Focus, Finish


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Looking ahead to 2018 was like walking around my house without my glasses on - everything was blurry, vague, and I kept bumping into walls, tripping over tortoises.

I spent the last chunk of 2017 cleaning up and cleaning out, and finally saw a better, clearer view of the new year.

It's about fewer goals, more follow-through. It's about focusing, about finishing. I named two large projects that will probably take the whole year. In the meantime, a handful of small ones will help me feel like I'm accomplishing something. A hobby or two (art!) and some fun experiences (classes! day trips!) will round out where most of my effort and energy will go.

With this plan, I feel like I just slipped on a new pair of glasses, and now I can finally see where I'm going.

* And speaking of positive starts to the new year, my 25 word story "Pillow Talk" made the Best of 2017 issue over at Nailpolish Stories! *

*****

How is 2018 looking to you? If you're good at following through on projects, what's your secret? If you struggle like I do, what do you think holds you back? Too many projects, interests? Time management issues? 

74 comments:

  1. Congrats on the success with Pillow Talk - nice way to start the New Year.

    I'm terrible at following through on projects. I'm a natural procrastinator and sloth at heart.

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    1. Thanks! It really is. :)

      I used to be much more on top of things, but it seems like the older I get, the slower/lazier I become. Must change that!

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  2. I feel positive about 2018 so far. 2017 was tough for a number of reasons both personal and global so I'm glad to be shut of it. My secret to following through on projects is threefold - 1st - make small manageable goals not huge sweeping ones. 2nd - give your rebel child some wiggle room. I do this by saying I want to do three daily practices (for instance - write, walk, and meditate) and then I can go to bed happy if I do at least one of them. Usually I do all three but no matter - the kid feels she has a choice. 3rd - I remind myself daily that I chose my life. That always sets me on the path of discipline. Also I don't allow myself to waffle and redefine everything.
    What holds me back? Fear that I am not enough.

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    1. Love your comment, Jan! Especially the parts about the rebel child and reminding myself I chose my life and the path of discipline. Unfortunately, I can waffle and redefine with the best of them - something I'm working on changing.

      Fear I'm not enough? I hear that. It pretty much lives in my head/heart space.

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  3. Re: I feel like I just slipped on a new pair of glasses, and now I can finally see where I'm going.

    I love this!

    re: focus
    Oh, girlfriend! I've got the focus of a border collie on a mission. LOL! Maybe that's why my border collie looks up to me.

    I don't have a secret, or maybe it is a secret, I don't know. Regardless of my goal, the reason it usually succeeds is because I try not to look at the mountain I have to climb, but rather the little base camps I make along the way.

    All of them are little goals that make up the big one.

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    1. LOL! Maybe I should be as focused as tortoise heading for banana?

      I like the idea of the base camps. I need to make more of a point of celebrating when I reach one of them. I tend to just blow them off as not as important since they're not the main event.

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  4. I think you are spot on. I've done detailed long lists of plans in the past and sometimes there has been a lot of progress. But other times it bogs me down and it NEVER gets to stand unaltered. Stuff comes up and the plan needs changine. So a couple big ones makes more sense. Best of luck to you!

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    1. I think a lot of my past goals were too scattered/unfocused or there were too many of them. Not sure if this plan will work but it feels good so I'm going for it. :)

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  5. Here's to a better 2018! 2017 DID feel like walking around without my glasses on.

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    1. I hope you got some new ones, Deb! Or at least cleaned up the old ones and slipped them on. :)

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  6. I have two books I'm working on right now that will keep me busy writing/editing for the next few months. I do like to follow through with things. It irks me to leave stuff unfinished!! I hear you, though. I like to clean things up/out before I break out my laptop.

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    1. I used to be a lot better at finishing what I started. Not sure when that changed but must get back to it! :)

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  7. Oooh, your "Pillow Talk" is a LOT different from the romantic comedy of years ago! It's deliciously ominous. Congrats on making the "best of" edition.

    I'm pretty good about accomplishing projects. I may not be the fastest tortoise on the block, but I get there eventually.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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    1. Thanks so much, Susan! Love that description - "deliciously ominous." :)

      Happy New Year to you, too!

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  8. That's very wise. We usually set too many goals and then feel bad when we don't hit half of them.
    Congratulations on the story!

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    1. I'm hoping this plan will work - fingers crossed!

      Thanks, Alex!

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  9. Yeah...I am definitely not good at following through on projects. I do believe I had a tendency to bite off way more than I can chew.

    Best of luck with your goals this year!

    (Hope you're keeping warm today... ;))

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    1. As much as you don't care for FL, you have to admit it's at least a little warmer here than New England. :)

      I know it's cold here when I have to put socks on. I know, I know, poor baby. :)

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  10. "It's about fewer goals, more follow-through." YES!

    Best of luck on your plans!

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  11. Awesome news on the story! I think fewer goals does sound like a good way to go. That way you don't stretch yourself too thin.

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    1. If only I could stretch myself thin...oh wait, that's not what you meant. :)

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  12. I like that: fewer goals, more follow-through and focusing. I read an interesting article from an editor who said to not forget the things you started in 2017 but didn't finish. It is so important to learn not to be carried on by something new that keeps us from finishing what we started doing.
    Wishing you a successful 2018.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. Great point, Pat. One of my big projects is something I've started previously, picked up then put down. This is the year I WILL finish it. :)

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  13. Focus, as in "stick with one thing until it's finished" is always an issue for me. Time is the other thing, but I'm fixing that in April. No more time excuses. Congrats on Pillow Talk! Exactly the creepy kind of story I love!

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    1. Yeh on fixing those time issues in April!

      And thanks! Creepy is such a great compliment. On my stories. Not so much say, on my hair or clothes. :)

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  14. Congrats on Pillow Talk!

    Sounds like you have a good plan for the year. Sometimes it's best to keep it simple.

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    1. Thank you!

      I'm hoping simple works better for me. :)

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  15. Love it! I stick to smaller tasks to feel like a accomplish a thing or two and make lists. There is nothing like crossing something off a list. hehehe

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. Oh, I do love a good list! And crossing things off it. :)

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  16. Follow-through is the most important part. Good luck and Happy New Year!

    IWSG post: Taking Chances

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    1. Follow-through is my mantra for this year. :)

      Happy New Year to you, too!

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  17. Oh wow, congratulations on Pillow Talk!! Woo-hoo! So awesome and well-deserved.
    I like your analogy to the glasses. I still need new ones but I'm starting to see better. :)

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    1. Thank you, Julie!

      Sometimes cleaning off the old pair works just as well. :)

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  18. Is it bad of me to hold off on making my plans for the next project until I have Death By Adverb off my plate? I'm afraid to even think about the next book lest I run off to play with it and don't finish those pesky revisions!

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  19. You've come up with a perfect metaphor! Loved it.

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  20. Good to have some major and minor projects to focus on through the year. Happy New Year, Madeline!

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    1. I usually try to do that in general. Problem was having too many of both kinds of projects going on.

      Happy New Year to you, too!

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  21. Congratulations on your best of the year. I read it. Stunning and chilling. Hooray! Best wishes in accomplishing all of your goals.

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    1. Thanks so much, Liza! I will definitely take "stunning and chilling." :)

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  22. I like the idea of fewer goals and more follow through. I pretty much just have one main writing goal this year, so hopefully I can get it done! Good luck in the new year!

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  23. Yay! I'm glad you're not bumping into walls anymore and that 2018 isn't so blurry. Focusing on one or two main projects seems like the way to go. Good luck!

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    1. I'm sure I'll still bump into one or two - I'm not particularly graceful - but it will hopefully be less often. And not hurt as much. :)

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  24. Best wishes on getting that focus down and running. It sounds like a good plan. Congrats on the story!

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    1. Thanks, Susan! For the wishes and for the congrats. :)

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  25. Hi Madeline, I too have two big projects to complete this year and several small ones. Congratulations on your story Pillow Talk. Sounds very interesting.

    Rachna Chhabria
    Co-host IWSG
    Rachna's Scriptorium

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    1. Good luck on your projects, Rachna! We can do this! We will do this!

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  26. Congratulations on your story being the best! I'll have to check it out.

    I have lots planned for 2018. I don't know if I can get it all done, but I hope to accomplish some of it at least!

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    1. I hope you enjoy the story, Cynthia.

      Good luck on accomplishing all of your goals - go for it!

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  27. Congratulations on the sound plans. Wishing you much success and joy in 2018.
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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  28. Congrats on your award. I think mismanagement of time can hold me back. Sometimes I stay up too late watching TV or too much time surfing about. Once I start working, though, I am fine and productive.

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    1. It's so easy to get distracted! But I'm with you - once I'm in the zone and focused, I'm usually good for awhile.

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  29. Focus is something I need this year as I'm another one who is easily distracted.

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  30. Congrats on the Best of 2017! And good for you for getting a clear view on things. Finding the way through unnecessary clutter isn't an easy thing.

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    1. Thank you! It definitely wasn't/isn't easy, but I'll continue moving forward the best I can. :)

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  31. Great news with your 25 word story! Congrats. What classes are contemplating taking? Thanks for the post, and happy writing to you. Happy 2018, too. :)

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    1. Thanks, Kathy!

      One class is on marine science, another is about forensics. Not taking too many since I need to focus on my two big goals, but I need to have some other things going on, too. :)

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  32. Glad you're seeing things clearer! I think narrowing our focus to fewer goals is definitely better than spreading too thin. Good luck this year!

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    1. I definitely think I've been too scattered the last few years.

      Good luck to you, too!

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  33. Wonderful you are seeing things clearer. I purged and cleaned a lot at the end of last month too. Funny how it does clear out my head as well. :) Good luck in 2018!

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    1. It really is funny how decluttering physical areas also seems to do the same with mental ones. :)

      Good luck to you, too!

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  34. I like to make gigantic goal lists, so one of my "hidden" goals this year is to simplify. It all has to fit under one of my "guides" for the year. I posted two of three on my blog. 6 Impossible Ideas Before Breakfast (it sounds crazy, but it means I get to day dream, rough draft, etc, as much as I want this year). Hope (explained at blog). And the unstated one: health. That's it. Everything has to fit there. My job type stuff happens under health and 6 Impossible Ideas. Impossible actually stands for "I'm possible." Why not say that? Well ... that would be too simple. :)

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    1. I enjoyed your post, Tyrean. And I love the "I'm possible" phrase. Also the 6 Impossible Things is such a fun, freeing, creative idea - I might have to borrow it. :)

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  35. Congrats on the Best of 2017!! AND on cleaning off those glasses for a wonderful, well-rounded vision for 2018.

    Happy new year!

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  36. It's good for me to get those small projects in too because I feel like I finished something when those big ones take forever.

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    1. That's why a lot of times I'm working on a novel/novella AND flash fiction/short stories.

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  37. I'm good at following through, but my secret is probably pretty boring: I don't let myself stop until the project is done. If I'm working on a book, for instance, I don't let myself get distracted by shiny new novel ideas. I keep slogging away until the first draft is finished.

    There's not much of a silver bullet to it, but it works.

    Happy New Year!

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    1. That's the way to do it. For me, it's not so much the shiny new idea - I usually make a note of them and put them aside - as it is more of an attitude. I start questioning EVERYTHING then anxiety and depression rear their ugly heads, and before I know it, I'm way off track. Again.

      Happy New Year to you, too!

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