October 04, 2013

Get what you want

I want to be a writer.

Not a TV-watcher, world class beer-drinker, or professional cafe-sitter. A writer. That’s what I aim to be. (For the record, I’m delighted to be an average TV-gazer, amateur beer-appreciator, and occasional cafe-attendee.)

Since I long to be a writer, it only seems natural that I should probably start writing. A lot. Consistently even. And maybe even establish some goals, deadlines, and outlines for some writing projects.

That sounds wise and simple enough, but oh the distractions that prevent this from happening!

On a recent morning, my friends Joe and April did something incredibly helpful to assist me in combating one of my most familiar distractions; scattered thoughts. Such a villain, that one.

We were leaning around the kitchen counter, casually talking about the tasks on our to-do lists for the day. I said that I was going to work on my book, which led to Joe asking what it would be about.

“I don’t really know,” I said in a defeated tone.

“Well then, what’s it not about?” He asked.

I’d never thought about it like this. He and April then proceeded to ask me if my book fit into any of the following genres:

“Science fiction?”




“Historical novel?”


“Parenting book?”


“An anthology?”

“Maybe. What do you mean by that?”

And so it went.

In processing through what I didn’t want, I came much closer to figuring out what it was that I did want.

Now, I realize that not everyone can have thoughtful Joes and Aprils hanging out with them at all hours of the day to provide clarifying questions, but you can start to learn how to ask yourself some good questions when you feel stuck. Start with the one they asked me:

What don’t you want?

Once you figure that out you can stop wasting time on the things that don’t serve the purpose of reaching your goal. You’ll quickly discover that a clearer goal will emerge as a result of being able to quickly identify what you’re not interested in. The nonessentials will fade away, and the work you want to accomplish will remain before you.

Get what you want.

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