Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing,  running,  workshops

Getting Refocused

Getting Refocused

Sometimes, when the world hits with far too many things, we all lose focus. I am no exception to that. But I am pretty good at getting refocused.

So I have two major things I am going to refocus on. I have a marathon I want to at least start in November, so over the next weeks I need to give that some top focus.

So that’s first. Very short term. So for the next month I will be reporting at times and doing some more videos on the marathon progress. That starts on Wednesday (today as you read this, tomorrow for me).

Second, going to be bringing back in the writing in a very strong and focused way, but that’s going to take a little more time. Not because it’s hard, but because still some things in the way that will clear in the next month, including the running push.

So my goal on that is by the middle of November to really be pushing at writing hard, ramping up to that point.

See how you get refocused folks when things drift off? You plan it. Can’t just snap back into the chair or into what you have lost attention on. You have to shift slowly but steadily.

Stay tuned.

But first thing is the distance. Tomorrow I go back to trying to hit a streak of 7 miles per day of walking and running. Some days will be much higher, others will be rest days of only walking seven miles.

And with that exercise will come a push to drop ten to twelve pounds as well.

Then the writing gets slotted in.

Other things…

— October workshops started up. If you want to jump in, look back a few posts for the list of October workshops and write me.

— Patreon supporters will be getting two issues of Smith’s Monthly shortly. More than likely next week.

— Kickstarter supporters will be getting surveys in a week or so about their rewards. Maybe two weeks. Going to take us some time to get them all together. And Kickstarter has yet to finalize everything.




November Online Workshops

Click the workshop tab above for description and sign-up or go to

Questions about any of the workshops, feel free to write me.

Class #41… Nov 1st … Author Voice
Class #42… Nov 1st … Point of View
Class #43… Nov 1st … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #44… Nov 1st … Ideas
Class #45… Nov 1st … Character Development
Class #46… Nov 2nd … Depth in Writing
Class #47… Nov 2nd … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #48… Nov 2nd … Cliffhangers
Class #49… Nov 2nd … Pacing Your Novel
Class #50… Nov 2nd …Expectations (Writing on the Rails)

Classic Workshops and Lectures are also available at any time.

If you are wondering what order would be best to take some of these workshops, we have done a curriculum for the workshops. You can see that at


Totals For Year 4, Month 3, Day 4

Writing in Public blog streak… Day 1,111

Total Miles This Month… 18 miles

New Walking Streak of 7 Miles Per Day… 



You can support this ongoing blog at Patreon on a monthly basis. Not per post. Just click on the Patreon image. Thanks for your support.


  • Vera Soroka

    I have not been writing for a while. Getting back is definitely going to take some planning. I’m still working on a house project and now I have to do some care for a very elderly parent and older sibling. That really has zapped my focus. I’m hoping things will come clear by the end of the month. Then I can ease into the writing and art again but yeah going to take some real planning.

  • Harvey

    As I noted in my own blog recently, I had this problem recently, caused primarily by allowing my critical mind to creep in and establish a foothold.

    I got in the habit of cycling, reading back over what I’d written the day before and allowing myself to touch it here and there. But during a recent cycle, I allowed myself to become mired in part of one scene. I moved things around (copy/paste), revised words, etc. and was literally stuck.

    When I realized (after about two hours) I wasn’t moving forward in the novel, I still didn’t recognize my critical mind’s influence. Duh. Instead, I just stopped for the day, decided maybe the novel was dead, and had a ton of other thoughts going through my head.

    Thoughts like there isn’t a whole novel there, maybe I should start something new, the idea for this novel is too old (!), I had this idea back before I learned so much about writing, maybe I shouldn’t be writing at all, maybe I should take another day off to give the idea time to percolate, etc.

    When I finally recognized that I was being mired by my own critical mind, I finally snapped out of it. I had to do it by literally getting back in the chair, pushing aside all other concerns for awhile, and just writing.

    But it wasn’t easy. It was a push.

    I determined in advance (early one morning) to sit down, put my fingers on the keyboard, and Just Write The Next Sentence, whatever came.

    Critical mind pushed back, but I was expecting it, so I squelched it and continued Just Writing The Next Sentence (as you taught me). Amazingly, my critical mind tried several times to disrupt the flow, but I kept pushing it down. Before the first few hours were over, I was back up to writing 1000+- words per hour and the novel (the same one I thought was dead) is moving along fine.

    As you say, all writers are different. In this case at least, had I continued to split my focus and allow other things to take precedence over my writing, I might have just stopped altogether. And that’s unacceptable to me. I literally, physically shudder at the thought.

    So I agree that you can’t “snap back into the chair” if that means forcing the writing. But in my case, if I hadn’t snapped back into the chair and forced myself to let go and just write, well, maybe some other people would be glad, but I’d be miserable. (grin)

    I’ve always liked the old saw about the future. Something like “If it doesn’t matter a year (or five years) from now, it isn’t that important now.”

    Of course, health is important because it underlies everything else. Achieving things is important (your marathon) because it’s an accomplishment. But for me, after health (and interrupted occasionally by “emergencies”), nothing is more important in the ongoing long term than telling stories.

    Just sayin’.

  • Mark Kuhn

    Same here, Harvey. My latest story got bogged down in a trench war with critical voice. How that bastard got out of his cage is anybody’s guess. So blocked right now it’s not even funny.

    • Harvey

      Whip it, Mark. I’m pulling for you. I got past it by just sitting down, putting my fingers on the keyboard, and writing the next sentence. It really does work. I”m SO glad I found Heinlein’s Rules (drives me to the keyboard) and Dean’s writing into the dark (enables the story to move forward). I’m what’cha call one’a them there disciples.

    • Harvey

      Hey Mark, BTW I have a very good friend in LaGrange GA who’s an excellent writer and also a musician. Email me privately if you want and I’ll put you in touch. Click my name on this comment to go to my main website and you’ll find contact info.

  • Kate Pavelle

    My big siderailing issue has been rehabbing an apartment after old tenants left, which is a long-term investment so that couldn’t be postponed. I managed to gouge my left thumb with a tool (5 stitches), which slowed the whole effort down. I’ve been writing, but slower, and blew 2 self-imposed deadlines. I’ll still meet the hard ones for getting work out, but I hate being so cramped for space and time. At least the stitches are out now (that took a while… ) Book research trivia: a smartphone screen turns stupid when slicked with blood 🙂

  • David Anthony Brown

    I recently had a similar problem as Harvey. The book was stuck, and I didn’t want to write it anymore, and what was the point, etc. I walked away from the story for a long time, wrote other things, but knew the dumb thing needed to be finished. So I set a deadline that I knew I could hit at the pace I was producing at, and wrote one sentence after another. Got it done, and sent to a first reader. But I needed the discussion with my first reader to figure out what the problem was, and to do that I had to finish the book.

    Lesson learned. Now I’ve moved on to the next book with more awareness of how I’m setting up the characters and plot. And I’m ticking along, producing fiction every day. But wow, there was no “snap back in the chair” for me, just an every day focus to increase my production. Long ways to go before I’m hitting a stride, but I’m writing a lot more this year than I was last year.