The Power of Being Single-Minded: Focusing on One Main Goal to Achieve Success

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Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The co-hosts for this month are Murees Dupe, Alexia Chamberlynn, Chemist Ken, and Heather Gardner

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

***

 I have this AMAZING friend who is super talented. Like super, super, talented. She’s a photographer, cinematographer, makeup artist, maker of au naturel scrubs and body butters, event planner, and a master craftswoman. I am not making this up, you guys. She’s talented at each and every one of these things. So much so, that she had trouble deciding which thing to focus on.

Last year, she helped me decorate my table at a vendor’s event (I was there selling my world famous pralines, because that’s how I roll), and while there, we bumped into a business consultant. She said, “People keep raving about your candy,” and had a sample (and then of course, she brought herself some). We began to chat and my friend mentioned all of her different endeavors. The woman said, “You will not be able to be successful unless you focus on one thing.”

My friend said, “But I can’t pick. I’m good at all of these things. And plus, I love them all.”

“Okay. Maybe you can focus on a couple of things that kind of overlap, but if you want to see some real success, you’re going to have to narrow things down.”

“But I can’t.”

The woman shrugged, “Well, you’ll just have a bunch of hobbies, then.”

My friend was so upset! She was like, “How can this woman who doesn’t even know me and what I’m capable of tell me what I can and can’t achieve?”

Well, fast forward a few months, and guess what? My friend began making these pieces for children’s parties that really took off. And I mean really. Due to demand, she began focusing on her craft business only and you probably already guessed what happened: that business grew by leaps and bounds. Later, she said, “Oh my God, that woman was right! Ever since I started focusing on my craft business, it’s grown so much more than it would have if I was splitting my time between fifty million ventures.”

Why do I tell this story? Because it also applies to writing: in order to be successful at it, we have to become single-minded.

sin·gle-mind·ed
adjective
1.having or concentrating on only one aim or purpose.
synonyms:determined, committed, unswerving, unwavering, resolute,purposeful, devoted

 
If some of you are like me, then your creativity can be both a blessing and a curse. I have so many entrepreneurial ideas that I hardly have a place to put them. Some things relate to my writing, some things don’t. “I could totally do ______________________,” I’ll say to myself. “That should make me a pretty penny!” And then I’ll focus on said thing and then be totally miserable because I’m not focusing 100% on my writing.

What if you:

  1. Set writing goals and wrote as much as you could, even when you didn’t feel like it.
  2. Took the time to write the best possible story that you could write, even if that meant getting out of your comfort zone. Why not push yourself and write the stories that challenge you?
  3. Dusted off those old manuscripts and resubmitted them to agents/publishers or published them yourself.
  4. Conquered your fear of public speaking by reading your work in public.
  5. Really learned how to market yourself both online and locally (and not just doing a Tweet and run like I do )
  6. Weren’t afraid to promote yourself by actually telling people that you wrote a book–and even better, having a physical copy to either give away or show.
  7. Reached out to some of the book clubs in your city. Why not ask them to read your book?
  8. Got some press: small newspapers and local tv shows.
  9. Participated in an author’s expo either in your city or in a surrounding area. And if they don’t have one, why not start your own?
  10. Reached out to your local library and coordinated a reading. And why not submit a press release for the occasion?
  11. Went to at least one book conference a year where you could meet readers.
  12. Allowed life to take it’s course! Things happen. Many of them unexpected, but don’t let things derail you to the point that you give up. Take the time you need to regroup, get the support you need (hello, blogger community!), and get back at it.
  13. Were kind to yourself (GREAT advice from L. Penelope). We face enough negativity and doubt as writers. The last thing you need is to join the naysayers!

Inspiration

If you had put a hundred percent into your career five years ago, where would you be? Where will you be in five years if you vowed right this second to treat your writing like a business and dedicated 100% to it?

Side note: On my first go, I accidentally typed a dollar sign as opposed to the percent sign, but I think that “Where would you be if you dedicated $100 to your writing career is also a valid question:)

What say you, folks? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 


18 thoughts on “The Power of Being Single-Minded: Focusing on One Main Goal to Achieve Success

  1. I agree with this, with all of this, but at the same time… I’m about as single-minded about my writing as it’s possible to be, I think. But it hasn’t done me a damn bit of good or gotten me anywhere near where I want to be.

    Sorry to come in here and be all negative like that, but that’s all I could think of while reading this post. >_<
    Mason T. Matchak recently posted..Still AntagonizedMy Profile

  2. Well gon’ head and preach then, Quanie! I needed this right now. I’ve been feeling guilty for not writing as much as I would like because I’m focusing intensely on getting my health under control (mentally, physically, emotionally, just ALL of it) and I know I’m the type of person that has to go all in to achieve success in this area, because the struggle has been real for YEARS. So I totally agree that single-minded focus is needed to do something well. I also think that once you’ve made some things a habit, and have “mastered it” so to speak, it’s easier to add more to your proverbial plate. When I’m in learning mode on anything, I kind of become obsessed. But once I’ve got it, it’s on and popping.

    And I couldn’t help thinking that highly successful people who make it in arenas where the odds are against them seem to center their whole lives around achieving their goals and maintaining their success. I’m talking about athletes, mega superstar entertainers, CEO’s, etc. Not only do THEY center their lives around it, but their immediate family members and closest friends usually do the same in the form of support and excusing them from normal obligations.

    Last thing, because this comment is getting ridiculously long. Years ago, I heard a message entitled “Run Focused. Stay Fit. Don’t Quit.” It’s a mantra I repeat to myself often.
    Faith Simone recently posted..Kimberla Lawson Roby and Me!My Profile

  3. Great post! And thanks for the shout 🙂 Staying focused and being kind to myself are always things I’m working on. I wrote just about every day for seven months to finish my last manuscript, and then I had to take a month off. I didn’t plan it, but recognizing when you need to rest is really important too. Now I’m back at it, more refreshed and reinvigorated and ready for the next thing to conquer!
    Leslye Penelope recently posted..Why I Write What I WriteMy Profile

  4. mmm pralines! And I totally agree. I’ve been cracking down on myself with the writing lately–working on it on days I sooooooooo don’t want to. The focused ones are always the most successful!! xoxo

  5. Some fantastic tips there Quaine and I loved the story about your friend. I think deep focus is key. I can manage more than one project at a time but I have to focus on each one individually and be very structured. But I have also overloaded – when researching the marketing side of writing. It was so mind blowing at the time and panic set in as I didn’t have enough knowledge. This had a knock on effect with my other projects and it had to be pushed aside for another time. Great post! Thanks for sharing.
    Nicola recently posted..IWSG: Getting the Fizz BackMy Profile

  6. I know when it comes to my daily tasks, I need to focus on one thing. Every day I have so much to do and it gets overwhelming, so I have to pick one thing and work on it.

  7. I’ve always marveled at folks who can juggle multiple talents AND be successful at all of them. A little jealous too (grin). It’s all I can do to doggedly plod along in order to get to everything, let alone complete one or two before the next day brings in a few more! You’re spot on with the ‘one thing at a time’ method. Focus is my new cuss word because Lord knows, I need to 😉
    Those are thirteen outstanding what ifs! Hope you don’t mind if I post them on my wall (literally) right next to the one that reads “If you don’t do it, no one else will!”
    diedre recently posted..All I will ever need…My Profile

  8. Oh yes. I have trouble focusing, but much of it falls within the realm of writing. Do I work on my novella so that I can release something this year? Or do I work on my novel because that’s what I want to finish this year, even though I won’t be releasing it? So many choices… Guess like your friend, I just have to pick one!
    Loni Townsend recently posted..When Being Mean Gets You Into Trouble #IWSGMy Profile

  9. Thanks for the great suggestions. Like Arlee has said, I know people who are talented and successful in two or three fields. I myself am of them. I wouldn’t part with my music for nothing in the world because it is a part of me, just like writing.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

    http://www.patgarciaandeverythingmustchange.com/2016/06/iwsg-june-2016-recovery-is-not-matter.html
    Pat Garcia recently posted..IWSG, June 2016, Recovery Is Not A Matter Of FactMy Profile

    • Well, two things is definitely easier to pursue than, like, 9 or 10, that’s for sure. I just think that in order to really master something we have to focus most of our energy on it, especially for business endeavors that are labor intensive because unless you have the budget to hire people, it might be darn near impossible to be labor, manager, and marketer for several business ventures all at one time. But maybe some people can do it!
      Quanie recently posted..The Power of Being Single-Minded: Focusing on One Main Goal to Achieve SuccessMy Profile

  10. I’ve known a number of people who were talented in many things and successful in more than one of them. I guess they had a different kind of focus.

    Your suggestions are excellent. I should probably try a few.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    • You’re right, Arlee. I think it’s very possible for many people to pursue multiple things and be successful. But I also believe that most of us, like myself, will need to focus on one main thing (or a couple of things that are kind of related) to be really successful. Or, I’ve seen some people who focus on one thing for a very long time, master that particular area, and then move on to something else. I’ll also add this: for the majority of us with jobs, families, etc., focusing on one thing might just be wise in terms of time, otherwise, we’ll focus on several things at once and get so overwhelmed (and frustrated) that we’ll end up doing nothing. Before I had children, I could focus on my writing and other things. Not so much these days, but maybe that will change as my babies get bigger. And I’m glad you liked the suggestion:)
      Quanie recently posted..The Power of Being Single-Minded: Focusing on One Main Goal to Achieve SuccessMy Profile

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