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Week 19: Simplify & Commit

I have realized many things over the past week-and-a-half about my creative life, and all of them have had the same basic underlying message: simplify & commit.

I am happy to share two of the realizations that brought clarity to my writing:

You Don’t Have to Chase Every Item on the Teeming List of Potential Projects and Exciting Opportunities

I realized I have been sabotaging my progress on my book manuscript by distracting myself with other book ideas, manuscript contests, and potential applications to writing residencies. I experienced a wild burst of creativity this summer, and I was so thrilled to have so many new ideas that I tried to go after all of them. (Not recommended.) As I pushed forward, I realized I was moving dangerously close to Burn Out Land, and I needed to slow down and simplify.

For a while there, I honestly thought I could work on three book manuscripts simultaneously, while also putting together a poetry collection, while also applying to writing residencies and contests. All of these things excited me. But, I realized the more I filled myself with ideas of these potential projects and opportunities, the more I ignored my main manuscript. I was distracting myself with shiny new things, instead of continuing the work that I set out to do.

So, I re-commit to finishing one book manuscript.
I commit to finishing a full first draft by my birthday, January 23.

And, as my friend and mentor, Dodie Jacobi, always says, I’ll park my other ideas in the parking lot for now.


Research Doesn’t Count as Writing; Writing Counts as Writing.

Ok, so as important as research may be, it still doesn’t count as writing.

Sitting down and writing is the only thing that counts as writing.
(Lightbulb moment, ammiright?)

So, I commit to meeting my word count goal each and every week, as I continue to ask my parents interview questions and collect their responses. Even if I feel stuck, I will write at least 500 words a week, to keep up the momentum and to remind myself of how good it feels to write and add to my total word count every week.


I feel renewed in my energy, and I truly have this blog and your readership to thank. Without you reading and holding me accountable, it would be so easy to let another week slip by without taking action. So, thank you.


Goal for Sunday, September 27:



Email me at barbaravaranka@gmail.com

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