Heart Stone Feathers

Word Nerd – Feather Finder – Heart Stone Hunter – Synchronicity Searcher Winging It While Lovingly Writing Through Life

Category: Word of the Year

Shifting Focus

Poppy's Afghan

Two days before Christmas, I’m sitting here at my desk – wrapped up in one of my father’s handmade afghans – trying to decide if I should feel horrible that my last blog post was more than ten months ago. Perhaps even worse is the fact that such a post was the ONLY one I made this year. Although I did declare that “focus” was my word for 2014, I wonder if I focused too much on certain things (like reading) and not enough on others (like writing)?

I confess that part of me is actually elated with the way my writing has evolved in 2014, even if it wasn’t something I chose to focus on by sharing the details here in my blog. If I had to summarize those details into a few sentences for this post, I’d simply say that – by submerging myself in the words of others – I found my own voice this year. My style of writing. And I like it.

So much so that I’ve been busy since October writing the words that I dream might be my first book. (Even as a wannabe author, I’m currently lacking the ability to sufficiently describe how surreal it feels to have written that last sentence.) Surprisingly, my biggest challenge to focusing on such a large project occurred only a couple of weeks ago when a SECOND book idea forced its way to the front of my mind. I’m blaming my limbo-land vacation since then on being wrapped up in the impending holidays.

As I sit here allowing myself to get lost in the task of braiding the fringe ends of the afghan that’s blanketing me, my father, dead now more than thirteen years, is managing to impart his own holiday spirit into this post.

I can’t remember if I’ve ever mentioned it before, but my father was also a wannabe author. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a support system like the one I’ve been blessed with. At one of the many breaking points in his life, he packed away his typewriter and traded in his pencil stubs for a collection of crochet hooks. Instead of weaving words, he refocused his efforts on entwining colors and textures.

As his health began to deteriorate, so too did the size of his hand-woven projects. Mobile lawn chairs morphed into stationery floor rugs which eventually became enveloping afghans. I imagine that each of his creations had a story woven into their fibers, ones that perhaps only he could decipher.

I don’t know what the story is that’s embedded in the brightly colored shawl that’s now draped over my shoulders and that cascades all the way to the floor. I do know that my father wasn’t shy about the color choices he made and this afghan is unarguably the “flashiest” of his creations. I could be wrong, but I believe it was the last one he made before he passed away. I like to imagine that it was his subtle way of saying, “Life is short – be bold in your choices and be proud of them.” In other words, “Be all in!”

It’s that thread of revelation that has led me to my word of the year for 2015…COMMIT. Be all in. No more half-assing it and no more downplaying that which I truly desire.

Maybe “commit” isn’t a very big leap from “focus,” but it feels like the next logical step of my journey. Where will it lead me? I hope it brings me back to this blog a little more often. Time will soon tell.

Until then…may 2015 weave a year of beautiful stories for each of you and may you commit to what feels right for your own soul.

 

My Focus for 2014

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As my first year of blogging comes to an end, I can’t help but look back and notice that I “only” made twenty-two posts, including this one. Instead of being disappointed though, I’m choosing to focus on the fact that I posted throughout the entire year, regardless of the final count.

If 2013 has taught me anything, it’s that I’m done with synopsizing my accomplishments with the use of such words and phrases as “only,” “at least,” and “yes, but….” In fact, I’m quite proud of and honored by the fact that in 2013 – the first year I spread my writing wings – I managed to get four flash fiction pieces, two poems, and two short stories published. I simply refuse to let the dozen or so rejections I also received to taint my thinking otherwise. And by the way – I prefer to think in terms of the other publishers “declining” my offers, not outrightly rejecting them.

As for the purpose of this last blog post for 2013 – for the last few weeks, my Facebook news feed has had quite a few posts from people talking about their “chosen word” for 2014. I had never really heard of such a concept, but I liked the sound of it. I spent a lot of time thinking about what word I might like to focus on for the upcoming year and the word that kept whispering in my ear – no matter how hard I tried to ignore it – was actually “focus.” It seemed too intense for what I had in mind, but it finally dawned on me that it only had to be that way if that’s what I CHOSE to focus on.

I’m not sure why, but once I “had” my word, I went on a Pinterest quest to search for inspiration. I was pleasantly surprised at how much my focus expanded (no pun intended) on that one word. I ended up with 87 pins on my Pinterest Focus board and I’m certain there will be plenty more throughout 2014.

But why choose “focus,” you might wonder? For me, it’s primarily a shift in my writing about everything and anything, to defining a short list of what I’d like to focus on writing. But it extends far beyond just my writing. It’s about focusing on my dreams – not on my doubts; on what I can do – not on what I can’t do; on what I have to gain – not on what I have to lose; on how far I’ve come – not on how far I still have to go; on living – not just on surviving. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg (again a matter of focus).

There truly are layers upon layers to much of what our days present us with. It’s up to each one of us to decide what we need and/or want to focus on. And while we might never solve Edgar Allen Poe’s riddle of why a raven is like a writing desk, we can enjoy the journey of discovery, even if it “only” leads us to more layers vying for our attention and focus.

I’d LOVE to hear what word you might have chosen for yourself to focus on in 2014. I’d also REALLY like to hear your thoughts on the actual word “focus.” Until then, as 2013 fades into the rearview mirror and as 2014 comes into focus above the horizon, may each of you be filled with the joy of peaceful possibilities that patiently await your gaze.

Addendum: For anyone who might be curious about what had my attention for the last month or so, it was my Flash Cards Project, something I might expand – and continue to focus on – in 2014. You can see pictures of the completed project on my Flash Cards Project Pinterest board.

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