Time to Focus


Raindrops on the aloe. January 2016


For the past month, I put aside blogging and writing and spent time reading through my stories. One of the goals I had for this time was to decide on the top writing project for 2016.

Time to focus.

I have a problem: I can’t resist a good short story idea. They come to me from everywhere. I write them, and some of them I share. The rest I file away and plan to publish as a collection one day.

And though I love the craft of writing short stories, I realized during this writing hiatus that I might be using that love as an excuse to get out of the harder stuff (hard for me, at least) that comes with writing a long story.

So, I chose one of the four stories that I have in my “Novels” file and decided that this story would be my focus for this year.

How did I come to my decision? I asked myself several questions:

  • Which story will show off God’s goodness, wisdom, and love?
  • Which one did I write because it is the kind of story I want to read but cannot find?
  • Which story will be interesting enough to people who are not me?
  • Finally, do I sense that God will be pleased with me spending hours of His time on it? I may want to write it — really, REALLY want to write it — but are things pointing to God wanting me to write it?  Am I feeling a sense of His peace and purpose about it?

I felt good about all of my stories as I answered the questions, but the second question pointed me to the story of Lena and her family.

Now, if I get the urge to write a short story, even if I think it’s “the most fabulous story idea EVER” and “I MUST get to it RIGHT NOW” … I will wait until I have spent an adequate dent in my novel writing time.

Sounds like a good deal, yes?

To meet two more characters in this novel-in-progress, read this and this.

Darla McDavid

I'm Darla, a writer of stories about family, friends, goodness, and God. I love cats, coffee, gardening, and tall stacks of books. Click here to subscribe to my blog. You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram. In my other life, I'm an administrative professional and a Sunday School teacher for preschoolers.

4 Comments Write a comment

  1. Sounds like a plan to me, Darla. I could have reminded you of so many wonderful, read, touching and honest posts you’ve written about your parents, family, and especially your older sister and the things she taught the rest of you. All are the seeds of great short stories, but anything you “focus” on and write will be excellent. (I’ll have to wait and see; all the “click here” and gray print signals to click on for details, didn’t work with my computer for some reason…but I have every confidence it will be wonderful.)


    • I’m not sure why the links aren’t working. Please try again, though I’m sure you’ve already read the posts. This project will have plenty of my family worked into it — you can be sure of that! For starters, Lena is the name of my great-grandmother. 🙂


  2. You always seemed well organized – how do you organize your time and discipline yourself to sit and write? I am working two part time jobs (around 34 hrs a week) and thought I could keep up the pace. Any advice? Sometimes I think I am too organized – meaning I spend more time organizing than doing if that makes sense.


    • Thanks, Patty. I developed a habit of writing daily when I participated in the National Novel Writing Month event several years ago. When I come home after a long day’s work, getting to write for a couple of hours is my reward. It helps that I love my Mac laptop and the writing app that I use for stories. Some nights I have a set project and other nights I don’t. But I always write something, short or long. One piece of advice I’ll give you is to lose the cable television, if you have it. I haven’t had TV in my home since 2007, when my son went off to college. If you really need to watch something, you can find it online or you can share the viewing with a friend who has cable. Without the TV habit, you will instantly have more time in your evening. I could write a blog post on this — and I think I will! Be on the look-out for it soon, but I hope this helps a bit for now. Also, here’s the link to a post I wrote about being a writer with a day job. http://www.darlamcdavid.com/find-time-for-writing/


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