What Does It Take To Complete A Book? Key # 2: Focus

In last week’s newsletter I began a discussion of three keys that I’ve found to be essential in the long term project of completing a book. The first key, which I wrote about last week, is devotion.

If you missed the article you can read about it here. https://deboraseidman.com/take-complete-book-key-1-devotion/

And, here are a few of the main points:

  1. Devotion is a sacred quality. To find the energy that will sustain you through the long haul of completing a book, you need to draw upon the highest reasons—you need to find the sacred nature of your calling to write.
  2. Your devotion for your book comes directly from Source.  It’s bigger than your fears and doubts. It’s rooted in your soul’s blueprint for fulfilling your highest destiny.
  3. When you make it a practice to connect with that devotion on a daily basis, you’ll start to get momentum with your writing, and make progress on your book.

Remember: if you want to finish your book this year, consider joining my Soul Writing Manuscript Group. Just reply to this email, or write to me here Debora@DeboraSeidman.com with a brief description of your project and we’ll find a time to talk.

This week I want to talk about the second key:  Focus.

Focus is connected to devotion, and it’s the next step.  Devotion is what will get you centered and present to yourself and what really matters about this book that’s yours to write.  Now, it’s time to focus. What will you do today, to get you closer to your goal, of finishing the book?  Will you clear two hours so you can write? Will you organize your office so you have a clear space in which to write? Will you find the last piece of writing you did, and read it, so you remember where you were?

Completing a book will ask you to continually return your focus to the next, very specific step, even as you take into account the bigger picture. You’ll be cultivating focused vision, and peripheral vision, throughout the process of writing your book. The focused vision keeps you grounded in today’s task; the peripheral vision helps you make the decision about what today’s task needs to be.

Focus is both an art and a skill, and it takes time to sort out how to apply it to your own work. When I first started writing a book, I really didn’t know what I was doing. I could write and write, but that only meant I had lots of pages. They may have been good pages, pages full of good writing, but that didn’t mean I had a book.

I had to learn to focus my mind in a different way, for a book to come together. I love writing for its own sake. But writing to create a book is another animal. As I learned how to focus and organize my material, I began to see how to shape a book.

This shaping is never an entirely linear process, for me, but it helps if I can bring a certain linear perspective to it, in order for my very non-linear brain to have a structure, within which all kinds of circular ideas can flow.
Your turn: try this: take 15 minutes to assess where you are in your book, or other writing project. Are you nearly done a first draft? Do you have lots of odds and ends of writing and you’re not sure what they amount to? Have you already completed a draft and are starting to think about revising?

Write down the very practical, nitty gritty steps you need to take to make the progress you’d like to make in a year. Then write where you want to be in a month. This may seem boring and mundane to your wildly creative mind, but it will also be calming, to the part of you that wants to get the book done before you die.

Your list may look like this if you already have a fair amount of writing done:

  • Buy manilla file folders
  • Find individual sections, arrange them by themes
  • Put sections in appropriate labeled file folders
  • Start reading sections
  • Make notes on what is in each section

Or, if you’re just getting started, your list may look more like this:

  • Write for thirty minutes, four times a week, for the next two weeks
  • Check in with my writing buddy on Sunday, about how this is going
  • Evaluate whether I can write the way I need to in thirty minutes
  • Reconsider my schedule, at the end of two weeks

What would focus look like for you?

Remember: if you’ve got a book or a manuscript you’re ready to devote yourself to, and you’d love more support, contact me to have a conversation about my Soul Writing Manuscript Group. It’s a small group of committed writers and we’d love to welcome you to the circle!

Send me an email with a brief description of your project and we’ll find a time to talk.