Why this is finally the year that I learn to focus

Why this is finally the year that I learn to focus

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Last year, I wrote about my #yearofwriting and even determined new writing goals for 2018. Although I am continuing my #yearofwriting adventures this year, mostly because it is a good way for me to track all of my writing and my income, I also want to do something a little different this year.

And so, after a lot of thinking, I decided that 2018 is my Year of Focus. As with last year, my word of the year is primarily meant to help me in my writing career. Although last year it was all about taking my writing career to the next level (which I did, being published in over 17 places, writing 277,889 words and earning $62,381 for the year), this year is about actually focusing on very particular goals.


That’s what I really need this year, which is why I only really have three writing goals this year. Sure, there are still other things that I want to accomplish (like being published in a print magazine instead of just its website), but the point of the #yearoffocus is that I make decisions based on what is going to best help me accomplish those goals.

That’s also why I kept my goal list pretty short this year, too, so that I could truly FOCUS on: 1. diversifying my freelance writing and earning an income of $5,000 a month, 2. finishing the memoir book proposal and getting an agent, 3. paying off credit card debt and saving to move to Los Angeles.

Basically, this year is about making more money. Yes, that might seem selfish because we writers are often seen as creative types who shouldn’t worry about things like money and just focus on the creative but, well, that’s just freaking unrealistic.

Like anyone else, I have bills to pay and things that I want to do in my life which require copious amounts of money (like moving cross-country). But I also wanted to include a creative goal in there, too, because I think it’s really important for writers to balance between for-money work and for-creative-love work. Luckily, even most of my for money-work is pretty fulfilling, since I write a lot about Latinx issues (a particular passion of mine) or personal essays.

But focusing this year means that I am going to try my damnedest to not let other things distract me… Like ideas to start a podcast, write a YA novel, and travel to Japan. Yes, those are still big lifetime goals of mine but I am not going to let them distract me from my ACTUAL goals for 2018. And that’s, honestly, kind of a breakthrough for me.

You see, I’m the kind of person who sometimes has too many ideas for her own good. I am constantly thinking up something new and trying it, then quitting. And while I never regret the trying something new or the quitting (typically), I need to not allow myself to let that get out of control this year. Hence, welcome to the #yearoffocus!

I know it’s not going to be easy because, honestly, I consider my ability to generate a ton of ideas a positive attribute. But sometimes I get obsessive about them and absolutely HAVE to do something that isn’t necessarily in line with what I previously said I was going to do. I am hoping that by focusing on, well, focusing this year, I will be able to let go of some of that energy and instead channel it into my other goals.

If I get an idea to start a new blog or write a new book or even start a podcast, I can instead figure out a way to make that into a story that I can pitch and accomplish goal #1 (diversify freelance and earn more income). In fact, I am starting a pitching challenge in March that I am hoping will seriously help with this goal… More on that in the future.

In the meantime, here’s to recognizing that, sometimes, focusing is the best thing you can do for yourself, even when it’s difficult. Hopefully my #yearoffocus will go just as well as last year!

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(Image via Stefan Cosma/Unsplash)