Today’s Biggest Challenge

This poster by Courtney E. Martin and Wendy Macnaughton hangs in my bathroom. I work at home so you can imagine how many times a day I see this message. It’s a powerful message, an important message, and what I want to do. And what I’m having the biggest challenge doing.

Like most of us, I’ve got many projects going at once: writing the memoir (I’m 125,000 words in and close to the end of the notebook draft, but I don’t have the beginning yet); creating new workshops (The Southern California Writers’ Conference/LA is coming up and I’m really excited about three new memoir workshops I’ll be offering); leading a couple of memoir read and critique groups through San Diego Writers, Ink;  I’ve been invited to edit their annual anthology, A Year in Ink, again this year (thrilled!). Oh, and I’ve also been invited to be on a panel at the first San Diego Festival of Books later this month.

That’s lots to focus on and that’s the thing—I can only focus on one thing at a time; that’s what focus means: a central point of attention or activity. I’m glad I’m learning about time-blocking, meaning setting aside a specific time for a single focus. I hope I get better at doing it, and keeping to the structure.

And of course, I see that poster several times every day reminding me to Focus. I love the last couple of lines of the poster:

A wise man once said, There’s a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in. Get after that light. This is your assignment.

How about you? How do you get after that light? How do you focus?



11 thoughts on “Today’s Biggest Challenge

  1. Thanks for this – I shared it on a FB group I moderate, “Innovative Journaling.” Lots of good stuff. Keep it coming.

    • Thanks, Mary! and thanks for ordering “Notes for the Journey,” the companion journal for Wild Women, Wild Voices.

    • Hi Mary, Thanks so much. I hope your group finds the post helpful. And thanks, too, for ordering “Notes for the Journey.” It’s in the mail tomorrow!
      with appreciation,

  2. Thanks for the post Judy

    I try to create ( writing / photography ) everyday. That’s my discipline, however insignificant the outcome. And if I cannot find an outlet for the work ( publisher ) I still carry on knowing that primarily I undertake the work for myself.

    “… myself it speaks and spells,
    Crying What I do is me: for that I came.”
    Gerrard Manley Hopkins

    Thank you for your inspiring writing Judy. Your book A Writer’s Book of Days is fabulous! Truly inspiring! I have read it many times, over the years; it’s one of the best books on writing that I know!

    • “…crying what I do is me: for that I came.” I love this Michael. Thank you. And thank you for your comments on A Writer’s Book of Days. I’m so glad it’s been your companion over the years. Thanks for stopping by, as always I appreciate your comments and thoughts.

  3. How do I focus: let’s see. On Sunday I made a sauce with blueberries so I could put it on my hot rice cereal. On the upper left burner was a pot of water prepping for cocoa. On the lower right was the huge Dutch oven with the berries. I focused on the little water pot. And failed to see the other pot ooze blue goo all over.

    I had just read Richard Rohr’s daily essay on contemplation. Apparently I do it too well.

    Maybe that’s why I don’t always focus well on NoteBook. Could I be afraid the world will cave in and disappear the minute I stop paying attention to it? Maybe put me into a safe corner first?

    • Oh Linda, do be careful at the stove. But making our own blueberry sauce sounds wonderful. Always good to know what you’ve been up to.

  4. Dear Judy,
    Your post hit home for me. The older I get, the more trouble I have focusing on
    one thing at a time. The joke about the old person going into the room and forgetting why, is often true for me. I also like the last couple of lines of the poster. When I get home from Amsterdam, I’m going to try and do some “time-blocking.” of my own.
    Arlene kosakoff

    • HI Arlene,
      Listen, I know what you mean about going into a room and forgetting why. I do that too. One of the reason it’s hard to focus is that idea (fact) of going into one room, forgetting why you’re there and focusing on something in that room and that leads to … well, days can be spent that way. I’m much better so long as I stay in one place.
      Have a wonderful trip to Amsterdam! Make notes (of course you will) and tell us all about it when you get back.
      safe journey,

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