My Goal for 2018: Focus

Image of a man's hand holding a camera lens in front of a landscape, through which the scene can be seen in focus
Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash

For the past couple years, I’ve tried to come up with one word or phrase that could capture my focus for the coming year. In 2016, it was “completion.” I wanted to complete the draft of the novel I was working on. And I did that, although in 2017 I ended up setting it aside when it was no longer working. That is somewhat related to my goal for 2017, which was “embrace rejection.” By that, I meant I wanted to submit my work frequently and broadly, with the full knowledge that it would be rejected more often than it was accepted. As it turned out, I could have done a better job of that, but I did my best.

Last year came with its fair share of opportunities and challenges, chief among the latter being depression and time, or rather the lack thereof when it came to time. (I had plenty of depression, thanks very much.) As I may or may not have mentioned, after a couple years of freelancing and living very hand to mouth, I took a full-time job last year. While that came with a lot of benefits—health insurance, steady income, less of a persistent fear that I was going to starve or die—it also meant that from eight thirty to five fifteen every weekday, my time was not my own (and continues to not be my own). I’ve been trying to get a handle on the hours outside of that window, and figuring out how to maximize as much of that time as possible in the service of my writing. This is an ongoing process.

I didn’t make a lot of progress on my major projects last year: a novel, a raft of short stories, a community-based writing project that I’d really like to kickstart. Given all that, the keyword for 2018 was obvious:

Focus.

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Friday Flash Fiction: The Librarian

Another Friday, another flash fiction piece! As mentioned previously, I’m in a Facebook group called Friday Flash Fics. We’re given a photo as a writing prompt, with our flash fiction responses (500 words or less) to the photo posted every Friday.

This one’s a little tamer than most—which may be a good thing. Facebook actually flagged me for the one that went with “Santa Baby.” Prudes. Hopefully this one won’t raise anyone’s ire:

image of a muscular man in a t-shirt that says "Librarian—the hardest part of my job is being nice to people who think they know how to do my job."
(Image credit unknown; if you know, please pass it along so I can give attribution. Thank you!)

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January Flash Fiction Draw: The Artist

So, flash fiction seems to be something I’m getting into. In addition to the Friday Flash Fiction courtesy of the Facebook group I belong to, my friend ’Nathan is also doing a monthly flash fiction draw challenge. The parameters are determined by a random selection of playing cards. Check out this post on his website to get the details about January’s challenge, but the guidelines are:

A fairy tale, involving a tattoo machine, set in a prison.

I wrote this yesterday in my notebook while sitting in one of my favorite hangouts in St. Louis. So, I don’t know how long it is until I type it in here. Also, I took liberties with the guidelines. I think we all reserve the right to do that.

So, without further ado:

January Flash Fiction Draw: The Artist

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Friday Flash Fiction: Watch How I Soar

Happy New Year! I hope everyone survived 2017 relatively unscathed. Me, I think my mantra for 2018 might take a page from Selina Kyle: “Four… five… still alive!”

But anyway. It’s Friday, and that means a flash fiction piece. As mentioned previously, I’m in a Facebook group called Friday Flash Fics. We’re given a photo as a writing prompt, with our flash fiction responses (500 words or less) to the photo posted every Friday.

I’m beginning to notice a trend in these photos:

image of shirtless man with tattoos in marijuana boxer shorts

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