How to Focus Your Attention When You Have Too Many Things To Do: Writing

This is the second installment of my series on how I deal with focusing when I am pulled in a million different directions from all of the things I want to do. You can find the first post here.

Background

As an aspiring author, there are many things I want to do. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Posting on this blog every day (coming up with ideas)
  • Writing a blog post for Coffee House Writers bi-weekly (coming up with ideas)
  • Writing a post for Functionally Fictional monthly (which means finishing a book per month and reviewing it)
  • Read books in my genre
  • Read to study the craft of writing
  • Pleasure reading
  • Helping write and set up the West Oak, OR character blog, which will require:
    • A post every week
    • Editing 4 posts every week
    • Keeping the website updated
    • Writing a newspaper article for it every six weeks
    • Plotting with the group of writers
    • Scheduling, setting up, and administering monthly meetings with the other writers
    • Marketing and social media
  • Writing my novels
  • Editing my writing
  • Doing writing prompts
  • Updating my social media presence as an author to be more interactive with fans
  • Marketing my writing and books down the line
  • Keeping up with reading blogs and other articles
  • Writing every day
  • Freelance writing
  • Freelance editing

That’s all I can think of for now, but I’m sure there’s more. Intimidating isn’t it?  And I am always adding on projects to this list.

Also, keep in mind that I have several ideas for novels going on at once. Right now I have seven novel ideas I am throwing around in my head to figure out which I want to work on after this novel is finished.

Process

So, how do I choose what to focus on? Simple. Priorities and regular check-ins.

I focus on several things when considering which projects to choose.

  1. What do I need right now? (money, keeping my blog updated, meeting a deadline for some of the projects, relaxation)
  2. Are other people depending on me to do something right now?
  3. What will help me reach short-term goals?
  4. What will help me reach long-term goals?
  5. What am I most passionate about?
  6. What will give me the greatest return on investment? (money, followers, a movement towards a goal)
  7. What will give me the greatest sense of accomplishment?
  8. What is the easiest thing for me to do?
  9. What do I feel like doing?

These questions are in order of importance to me. If there is a project that answers the first two questions then that is what I am going to work on. With the lower-tier projects, I answer all of these questions. I do this internally, but writing it out on paper may be helpful for some of you.

Some of these questions may not apply to you. Some of them may not be on the same level of importance to you as they are to me. First and foremost, create a list of questions that work for you in order of importance. You can use and rearrange mine or come up with your own.

After answering all of these questions with projects that meet these questions, I will go through and list them in order of priority. I will also schedule the time to work on each.

Sometimes they take a back burner. Sometimes the projects never come off of the back burner. I have a computer folder full of old, half-finished projects that I will most likely never return to.

Check in with these questions whenever you need to. I do it almost daily when deciding which projects to work on that day. Some of you may need to only do it weekly. Again, this is whatever works for you.

I hope this helps some of you with prioritizing your writing projects. Let me know what you think in the comments!

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