Focus

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As a more-or-less right brained person, I tend to see wholes instead of parts. Sometimes this is a plus. Like when planning a garden or a novel.

But when it comes down to the nitty-gritty—weeding and editing—I tend to get overwhelmed by all the little pieces. And for me, overwhelmed means immobilized.

I do better when I focus on just this one thing.  

This chapter, page, sentence rather than the entire work. This one garden, section, plant rather than the whole yard. When I narrow my focus, I’m more likely to keep moving forward.

We have a courtyard off the master bedroom and the centerpiece is a 15-foot Japanese maple (Acer Bloodgood) that by rights, should not have lived in windy Kansas. During last fall’s storms, branches banged on the roof and gutters until Jim tied them back.

In February, we gave the tree a hard prune—30 percent. The photo? On this branch where we made a cut, the tree focused on just this little sucker today …  Pretty. 

Persistence

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Do you see that frilly leafed plant at the bottom of the photo? Unless I miss my guess, that’s Nepeta (Catmint) Walker’s Low. It has a lovely blue flower and a musty smell. When in bloom, bees and butterflies will cover it, making it difficult for an insect-phobic human like me to get close enough to weed.

Fifteen years ago, I planted a tiny Walker’s Low plant that in five years’ time grew so large it took over a third of my front flower bed.  In the fall of 2008, I spent three days ripping it out.  I dug deep and then deeper to get every bit of root.

Or so I thought.

Now it’s 2018 and if my powers of identification are correct, here it comes again. Out of the ground, like the unwanted dead haunting my garden. Not quite sure what I’ll do. Tear it out? Leave it, having learned to prune it back—severely—every fall? Whatever I do, I gotta admire its persistence.

This past year, I’ve had my own lessons in persistence. I’ve been a technical writer for many years but always wanted to write dark fiction.

Fantasy. Horror. Paranormal (gasp) romance.

But I didn’t just want to write stuff and put it away in a box or on a flash drive for posterity. I wanted to publish. In my lifetime.

Last year, I decided it was time to figure out how. Without burdening you (at least not yet) with all the details, I stumbled upon a fabulous coach who taught me what my Walker’s Low already knew. Keep at it. Do the work. Show up. Persist.

After 14 months of alternating between discouragement and determination, I have two short stories, publication forthcoming sometime this summer. Stay tuned…