Courtney S. Barr

Welcome to My Kingdom!
Join me, the Princess, on my Royal Adventures in the Land of Writing!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday Memos...First Focus...

"It's not what's happening to you now or what has happened in your past that determines who you become. Rather, it's your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you're going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny."
-Anthony Robbins
Focus is a big word right now in our house. We have come to discover that within those five letters lie a host of directions. By now most of you have seen the post(s) regarding our newest family member Kristin, have seen that we have been vacationing last week and that my blog has been more sporadic than ever before - well it has not been purposeful and I realized that I had let my focus stretch out. There are moments where I focus on one schedule, then another, then another until I am such a mess that you cannot even consider my thoughts to be collective!

We sometimes do this when we are writing. We begin at one point and plot through our story then we find a hole/a change that we jump to examine. We adjust, we make note then shift back to where we were; only to discover something else that might need tweaking. We tell ourselves to wait until it is complete, when revisions should be the focus but it is hard. The characters are everywhere, the details are forming and we feel the draft is beginning to take the shape of a large building. The hardest part is when the draft/building begins to show early wear & tear. The sides are bulging, the floors are becoming dingy, there are way too many pink flamingos on the lawn and the windows are not only open but missing in some rooms. Often we lose hope and the drive to refurbish or sometimes we continue to add elements that truly make an ostentatious, over done, extravagant & cheeky place that really needs to be bulldozed!

That is not the way to utilize focus. Anthony Robbins is right-Its where you place your focus that determines where you will end up. Those decisions to add TOO much or revise TOO soon, well it normally means you will be working on that draft for MUCH longer than you expected; cull the parts that need to go, kill the character that needs to die, change the setting, end the story - all actions that determine your draft's destiny. Yes, yes, there are agents & publishers to woo and seduce but before that, before the great announcement there must be what I now call First Focus.

Don't worry I am in First Focus myself and trying desperately to not have the tackiest house on the block. I have discovered that focus is not always easy, that distractions are not always simple to push aside and that learning from my mistakes is still a work in progress. But no matter what I must remember to Focus. That with the proper First Focus I will hopefully be ready to have that curb appeal we all seek. Though a few flamingos can be cute...can't they?? (just lie and say yes ;o) )

So how are all of you? Are you aware that you need to slow down and maybe refocus in order to find the right direction?

A few announcements...

Rebecca asks if you have a System?

Jamie over at Writer's write, right? is hosting a FIRST GIVEAWAY... - be sure to check in on 8/9 for more details!

Oh yeah...there is a for a prize pack of Harper Lee goodness...


To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
To Kill A Mockingbird featuring Gregory Peck DVD
Surprise from the Monroeville, Alabama Heritage Museum



Now Liza did not leave an email in her comment and I laughed out loud when her name popped up especially since her comment was this:

"How did I miss this last of my all time favorite books? So, old follower...6 little points for me. I won't win, but may get out my yellowing, thumb-eared copy and give it another read. Thanks for reminding me that it is time."

So Liza I am going to try to track you down!

If I cannot find you by Wednesday, 8-4-2010 I will have to draw another name, so please if you read this send me an email!

Don't despair, I have another contest coming up...yep a good one since I am dancing around 300 followers... so look out for that post coming up... ;o)

Have a Marvelous Monday!


  1. Hello, Princess! Welcome back. This was a wonderful post and exactly what I need right now. I have been out of focus all summer and need to find my "Right Focus" now, too. We can re-focus together! :-)

    Congrats to Liza - I'm envious! LOL.

  2. Oh my!!!! Truly, I never win...and therefore have stopped entering...a self-fulfilling prophecy, I know...but I couldn't resist this contest! Thank you Courtney for making my day. An email to you will be forthecoming. Yippee!!!!!

  3. Congrats Liza!!!! High Five!! :)

  4. Aw... Thanks for the linkage :) Have a marvelous week :)

    And congrats to Liza!

  5. CONGRATS LIZA!!!! :)

    Welcome home, Courtney.

    I'm working on my focus too.


  6. Congrats Liza :)

    Focus is not easy! Especially in the summer when I'm on the downhill slide before returning to school :)

  7. Hi there, Princess Courtney!

    I wanted to congratulate LIZA...and now I wonder...did she ever contact you? What a shame is she didn't.

    Wow. I was praying SO HARD that I would have been the winner, but I'm sure everyone else was, too (except maybe Liza, or else she would have been checking back like the rest of us, right?)

    Oh well. It would be so sad if Liza had an emergency and then wasn't able to win the prize because of it, huh? (There goes my writer's imagination again.)

    Best wishes to everyone if there's another drawing. We can all hold our breath again while we wait to see who wins THIS time. (Oh please, let it be me?!!!) :o)

    I bow to your loveliness, your "Highness", and thank you so much for having such an amazing contest. Your generosity knows no bounds, your majesty.

    With all due sincerity,

    Cynde of Cynde's Got The Write Stuff 'kingdom'

  8. Good morning, Princess! It's Friday and you have been tagged! Mwa-ha-ha... :-)

  9. Focus. You're right. It's important to a well-lived life and a well-written story. You talked about having a system for writing.

    I have the suitcase system : you've been vacationing -- you know the angst of deciding what to put in and leave out of the only suitcase allowed you. You quickly decide what is essential and what can be left out.

    A good story is the same way : putting in only the essentials will make it fly better.

    I look forward to your entry in D.L.'s High Drama Blogfest. Roland

  10. I see it. No wonder you ignored me. Oh well. Everybody has their "off" days, Princess.
    "Waaa-aaah!" (*sniff* *sniff*)
    Golly. I'm just a plain old serflike girl from your kingdom, so what'd you expect from me?
    Besides...I'm NEW here. Can't you give me a break?
    Never mind. You just don't understand.
    I won't return unless you say you forgive me, so it's up to you. I'm at your mercy.
    Do you forgive me for being a dummy and not noticing that LIZA did finally contact you?

    (Please leave a message on my blog, info. below, if you do.) I sure hope you do!!!

    Cynde (Cynde's Got The Write Stuff)

  11. Hi Courtney. I'm late visiting this post, but the pep talk about focusing is exactly what I needed right now. I'm trying to take the next step in my fantasy novel, but haven't been able to get there.

    Last week my son and I had a "discussion" regarding the plot, and that helped me really "focus" on what I needed to do. Now, its just about finding the writing time!

    Great post. Thanks.

    I think I'm a follower. I'll click on it again to be sure.



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