Focus to Finish

Mar 30, 2024 | Newsletter

How to Keep on Track and Finish Your Projects

I have a lot of projects bouncing around. Some are web design work that pays. Some are writing projects. Some are illustration ideas. Some are family activities, or friendships, or church. There’s just a lot, and I find myself sometimes… unfocused. Do you ever get that way? With so many ideas and so little time?

I am going to show you how I prioritize and how I get things finished. It’s easy to start something. It’s hard to slog through the middle and get to the ending. Here’s how I do it.

1. Prioritize

I put my paid work first; others are counting on me to help their business/organization run. I also try to finish work for clients quickly because I want them to know I prioritize them and am dependable.

2. Schedule Time

I bought a planner to sit on my desk. Yes, I use my phone calendar for all my regular life stuff, and timed activities. My desk planner is for work. My creative stuff is my work, and that’s where I plan it out.

A super-rigid plan doesn’t work for me because I need to keep my time flexible for client work. Instead, I pick one thing to prioritize each day and write that on my calendar day. Then, I list my weekly To-Do activities at the top of the page. If I finish my one activity for that day, I can look at all the weekly items and do another one.

 

3. Make long-term goals

Not a goal for my whole life, but I planned out what I wanted to accomplish this year in my writing/illustrating creative work. Then, I took those goals and broke them into tasks. Then, I took those tasks and put them on my calendar as to-do activities.

 

4. Keep On Task

If I have a brilliant idea, I write it down. Then, I let it sit there. I have a project that I am working on already, and time spent on something else delays and confuses the work I’m currently doing. So I write it down and wait. I keep doing the daily tasks I have set out to do to finish my book.

It’s hard to finish something as big as a book. It’s a monumental task. In order to finish something, you’ve got to keep on track and keep going on your one thing until it is finished. Once it’s done — great! You can pick up whichever shiny idea is next, but first… finish.

I don’t focus on what I’m up against. I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest.

Venus Williams

Updates:

What I’ve been up to this month:

I have some new spreads for my upcoming picture book completed. Here’s some sneak-peeks!

FLASH
Axel in window

Books This Month:

Picture Book:

The Widow’s Broom

by Chris Van Allsburg

The enchanting story of a widow who finds herself in possession of an extraordinary broom after a witch falls into her garden.

Some of Minna Shaw’s neighbors don’t trust her clever broom. “It’s dangerous,” they say. But Minna appreciates the broom’s help. She enjoys its quiet company.

But one day two children get taught a well-deserved lesson by the broom. For her neighbors, this is proof of the broom’s evil spirit. Minna is obligated to give up her dear companion.

My Take: The kind of picture book I wasn’t allowed to read as a kid because there’s a witch, but she’s not really a big part of the story. It’s a tale about her old broom that has a tiny bit of magic left in it. It’s core message is actually speaking to what I mentioned to start with about not being allowed to read a book like this: Being fearful of unknown things leads to hate and isolation. I love Van Allsburg’s pictures and imagination.

Middle Grade/YA:

The Return of the King

by J.R.R. Tolkien

The third part of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic adventure The Lord of the Rings.

While the evil might of the Dark Lord Sauron swarms out to conquer all Middle-earth, Frodo and Sam struggle deep into Mordor, seat of Sauron’s power. To defeat the Dark Lord, the One Ring, ruler of the accursed Rings of Power, must be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom. But the way is impossibly hard, and Frodo is weakening. Weighed down by the compulsion of the Ring, he begins finally to despair.

My Take: Our family read-aloud this month. We’re almost finished our Lord of the Rings adventure. We started with the Hobbit and are on this final LOTR book now. Tolkien builds a different breed of fantasy story that is a fully built world but with parallels I sometimes point out for my kids to the TRUE story we are all in, of Good and Evil and redemption through Jesus. 

Adult:

Killers of the Flower Moon

by David Grann

n the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. One of her relatives was shot. Another was poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more Osage were dying under mysterious circumstances, and many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered.

As the death toll rose, the newly created FBI took up the case, and the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including a Native American agent who infiltrated the region, and together with the Osage began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

My Take: This story is one that is hard to read with the horror of real-life tragedies. I wanted to read this because I live right next to where these murders took place in Osage County, and I was really moved to learn how corrupt and wicked the oil boom made people. Money plus racism is what fueled this tragedy and even though the book itself is written in a hard-to-read way, the message through the book is important.

Until next time,

Charlotte J. Glaze

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Charlotte Glaze

Hi, I’m Charlotte!

As a mom, writer, and illustrator with a background in preschool education, I’m dedicated to creating picture books that inspire and empower young children. Join me on an unforgettable adventure where imagination knows no bounds, as we journey together through the pages of storytelling magic!