On Writing,  publishing

Do I Do This? Or That?

The Dilemma of Focus and Choice…

I got a hunch this will be very familiar to many, if not all of you.

Right now, in this new life here in Las Vegas, I have been focusing first (and with a lot of attention) on ramping up brand new habits of writing. Writing in the mornings. I have talked about that and actually it is working so far.

But it is taking a focus.

And I noticed today that the focus on the writing has taken away the focus on the running and exercise. Now, I am still getting over 10,000 steps per day. So that level of exercise is still in place. But not once in the last few weeks have I gone to the gym with the idea to run.

And even more annoying, my weight has stabilized instead of going down.

So why did the writing focus take away the running and weight-loss focus? My theory is that this writing focus is taking a lot more mental attention than my old writing habit of writing late at night. Since I had written that way for so many decades, it just came naturally, like walking.

Now, I am learning how to walk again, which is why I had such troubles this fall. Not learning how to write again, got all that, just the part about “getting to” the writing. That is the focus.

And the running takes the exact same kind of focus. Exactly. A focus to “get to” something. And I guess in my poor brain, at the moment, there is only room for one major focus.

My sense is that after a little time, like another week or two at most, I will be used to the morning writing routine and it will not take the focus anymore to do it. I will just do it automatically. Almost there now.

Then I can take the focus and move it back to the running, which needs a strong and long-term focus before that will become a habit like it is with Kris.

Anyhow, no real point to all of this, other than I am finding this an interesting dilemma. And figured some of you might have the same battle going on as well in different areas, where one area has to fade for a short time to let another area focus come to the front.

Annoying having to make the choice.


  • Harvey

    Very interesting. And also annoying that you have to think about it instead of just doing it.

    I’m in a similar life roll at the moment. Because of some great news I received (what I emailed you about) I’m also having to adjust my mind set. So good all around, but still disruptive to my established writing routine.

    • dwsmith

      Yeah, Harvey, that was fantastic news. And I can see how it would really change a focus. That is a major life roll to the good side, so focus will change. Can’t help but not. Just like being here for me and Kris being healthy is a major life roll to the good, but like yours, wow what a focus change.

  • emmiD

    21 days to break a habit; 66 days to make one.

    Although it seems that I can break a habit in one day alone LOL.

    I wish you all good luck incorporating writing and walking and running. I can barely juggle two balls. That will be three in the air.

  • Mary Jo Rabe

    Thank you for writing this! I am often unhappy with myself because I’m not able to concentrate on more than one goal at a time, i.e. as soon as I concentrate on one thing, I neglect others. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who faces this dilemma.
    Mary Jo

  • Chrissy Wissler

    I’ve actually seen this with the kids every single time they start working on a language burst or some cognitive jump—their behavior, their ability to regulate emotions, is always the first thing to go. Always, When this happens over a consecutive number of days, that’s what clues me in that something else is going on here.

    (Also, it’s on my mind right now because Eric’s definitely in the middle of a… something. And it’s meant I now have less energy for writing because *my* focus has shifted to helping him through this and to show up as the parent I want to be.)

  • Kate Pavelle

    RIGHT??? I’m so with you on this, as though hauling my carcass to the gym was some kind of a grand feat. I find I do fine establishing a pattern for 2-3 weeks. Then *life* will happen (Vegas, con crud, our kid’s HS musical, you name it) and my pattern falls apart. Writing is easier because I’m here already. Going to the gym takes activation energy.
    One thing that helps: outside commitments, and piggy-backing on them. For instance, I use my one private karate lesson near the park to bring the bike and go biking afterward. Hitting Trader Joe’s used to be a reward for going to the gym because they’re across the street. I’ll have to establish that “rule” again.
    Thank you for spurring this line of thought!