Focus, or Lack Thereof

The world these days changes so rapidly. Pandemics and civil unrest in the macrocosm; the year is more than half over now, and we’re still in the center of a global health crisis. George Floyd didn’t make it to the six-month mark, but his horrible death created a firestorm that spurred nationwide conversation about racism and its deadly implications.

Over here in the microcosm, I’m still spinning around, trying to process and acclimate to the macrocosm stuff while reassessing what goes on for me personally.

I’ve submitted a couple of stories in the past year, both to anthologies. I anticipate two rejections (or two non-responses, or one of each). But I’m glad I was able to do it. Still, I’ve been hitting walls left and right when I try to finish larger pieces.

It occurred to me a couple of weekends ago while I was out in the woods, alone, and trying to write, that I might be trying to force stories out of me that aren’t there. I can’t seem to move forward on the novel I’ve been trying to write for 10 years, and I think it’s because I just don’t have the story. I have really good characters, and some great scenes, and a semblance of a plot, but not enough of one. The one I’ve concocted to fit what I have feels thin.

In this time of change in the macrocosm, I’m wondering if it’s time for more change within the microcosm. It’s time to think about whether I should scrap the book and try to write something entirely new, something that feels more organic to me. I have the privilege of being alive and being safe, of being well, and I feel like I’m squandering some of that on dicking around when I should be trying to produce things. Instead of writing, I play games. I read other people’s books (to be fair, I think all good writers must read, and I’ll always be a reader). I’ve read so many books over the last six months, but I have yet to write one.

This post might be a little convoluted. That’ll have to be okay. I wrote it simply to get my thoughts moving. I don’t owe you anything! You’re not my mom!


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