There are so many things competing for my focus. I have my day job, my hobbies, my friends, my family, my cat (Loki), that all deserve my time and attention. Plus, there is the news cycle, which has been pretty dark and depressing this year. And the cold weather doesn't help.

It's hard to stay focused on a long project like a novel. As I write, the story changes and my motivation changes with the story. Dreaming up an idea for a novel is fun and exciting. It's easy to get sucked into the creative process. But seeing the novel through is quite different. I find myself getting bogged down in details. How can I advance this scene? What is supposed to happen next? Should this character be a man or a woman? What is the geography of Atlanta actually like, and how realistic do I need to be for this novel?

It feels like my writing is progressing so slowly. The hardest part about the writing isn't just the process of thinking up the next word. It's also deciding again and again to stick with this novel, to not get distracted by a new story that is more fun to write. To keep going, even when the writing feels boring, or stilted. Even when I feel like I've written my character into a corner. Even when I need to rewrite chapter, or reorganize my structure, or throw out a character's description again and again.

I need to commit over and over to this novel in order to see it through. It's my first novel, I don't need it to be good or interesting. I'd like it to be, but that's not really why I'm writing it. I just want to get the story down on paper. And I want to see the project through because I think there's value in persisting.

Recently, I put my book away for a week or so. When I came back to it, I remembered why I love my character and what intrigues me about the story. So I'm committing again to writing and trying to get this story down on the page. I'm choosing again to focus on this novel and to see it through.