About Making Time To Focus, Creating Regularly, Even Becoming Prolific

Show up every day, that’s what they say it takes to make it (whatever ‘make it’ means). Here’s my thoughts on that…

Courtesy of Dương Trần Quốc — Unsplash

Show up every day, that’s what they say it takes to make it (whatever ‘make it’ means). Here’s my thoughts on that…

I’m just shooting from the hip here, thinking out loud you might say.

I hold down a full time job, I don’t mind it too much. It allows me pay the bills and have a few bob left over to buy stuff I like and build a little fund to create and publish my ideas as books (eventually).

I’ve been in the business I’m in for almost 30 years and I’ve become pretty good at it even though it’s not what I love to do. I manage projects in the construction industry.

What I really want to do full time is write, draw and share my creations. Work on my own time and make stuff that speaks to me and others.

Now, I realise that in order to do that I need to knuckle down and create plenty of material even if the majority of it does not hit the A grade. After all, I know from the business that lined my pockets since I was 15, that focus and dedication works.

In that game I showed up every day, even Saturdays and Sundays at the expense of things I valued more - my kids, my wife, my health, my sanity!

However, I saw the product of that dedication, which was really good for a while and then it wasn’t so good - I burned out. But I’m not here to talk about that shit, rather I want to talk about how focus and showing up every day might help us succeed, whatever that success happens to look like.

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Every week I publish extracts and first drafts from new material I'm working on. Some of it might not make the final…larrygmaguire.com

Finding The Right Voice

I realise after several attempts online that I need to refine what I’m offering, to drill deep into a particular subject and show some expertise. But then what about all the other things that interest me, that I know are worthy of sharing?

Enter Sean McCabe.

I was introduced to him a while ago via a Pat Flynn interview. Then again in this article here by a fellow writer Shaunta Grimes on The Startup Grind.

I signed up for Sean’s free video series and found what he had to say, even though I’d heard it before, resonated with me more than most other material on the subject.

The realisation that I must focus and dedicate myself became clearer.

An Email From A Friend

About 2 years ago I decided, because of the popularity of an article I wrote, that I would develop the subject and write a book. I found lots of excuses not to write that book even though people bought a pre-launch copy.

So I recently shot my subscribers an email explaining my procrastination. I admitted I let them down, I was flakey, inconsistent and broke as a pie crust. A songwriter/musician friend of mine emailed me back and said lots of things but one or two things stood out.

Here’s some of what he said;

I know you used the term [flakey] from the outsider’s point of view, and you probably know that internally, it’s a different experience.

For me, I get energised and fired-up for a new idea, but lack the long game, and get distracted when a newer idea comes, sometimes at the expense of my word or commitment.

I guess that’s why I settled with songwriting, in and out in 3 mins 30 seconds. Anytime I’ve tried to sit down and write more, I get two or three chapters in and leave it.

Second draft is a pain in my ass. I see creativity as tending an orchard, and the fruit only falls when it’s ready.

If you pick it too early, it tastes forced and shallow. Leave it too late, or re-visit old ideas, and the taste is bitter and distant, often self-indulgent.

I’m sure it’s the same with you, I come alive in that timeless moment of creation, when I’m so ‘inside’ the idea that the ‘real world’ fades to the background.

Ray was right in what he said. Right in so far as that he caught my experience of making things also, especially when I draw. The biggest challenge I’ve found is the ability to focus on one thing and not be dragged off into another great idea before finishing the first.

In the past I’ve failed to spend time making the first idea great before dropping it and picking up the next. And I know I’m not alone here, I’ve read and spoken to plenty of creatives who feel the same.

So let’s give it another go…

Where To Go From Here

Sharing ideas can often come across as a little self indulgent. So I’ve decided to build my ideas into dialogue between characters in a story. Short stories that will eventually form a book of short stories, and maybe even an entire book on one story.

This way the ideas become the reader’s, not mine. I’m not sharing my boring ass story of how I became enlightened n’shit, rather the reader gets to see it through others, they get to witness the story behind the story… if you follow me.

Instead of the reader being told a thing, they get to create it with the characters.

So let’s see how that goes…

To finish off then…

I know I need to be regular and consistent. I need to make time to create, edit and publish the stories - I’ve got to show up because what I want won’t grow if I don’t tend to it, like the orchard Ray spoke about.

The first short story in the series I’m calling “People From The City” is titled “The Day The Child of Prague Died” (will be published Sunday 16th April). It’s a funny yet somewhat sad story of a 14 year old boy named Connor who is at odds with the religion in which he was brought up. He goes against the grain and has his young heart broken by the very person who should love him regardless of what he does.

I’ll post the story here in about a week, but if you’d like to get it straight away you can subscribe here or below, and I’ll shoot it over to you Sunday morning.

Howdy, I’m Larry, Writer & Artist. Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. I write short stories about the ordinary lives of people and the challenges they face. My stuff can be edgy, hard hitting, and sometimes controversial, but never contrived. If that’s your bag you can Sign-up To Sunday Letters Here.