7 Ways To Focus On Your Writing

We all want to write – right? But our brains have other ideas. We’re surrounded by so many things all jumping for our attention – work, kids, family – and then TV, books, and oh so many apps. So how do you focus on your writing? Well here are seven tips to try out.

1) Plan for other tasks

If you’re like me, the thought of “other stuff” you have to do will likely get in the way of you cracking on with your latest WiP. There are a few ways to deal with this ever-present to-do list. First, getting other people involved. If you live in a household with others then you should be able to share the load. Second, if you can afford it, you could pay for a bit of help around the home. Third, try tackling one or two tasks before you start writing to help put your mind at ease. And fourth – I know it’s hard but you don’t have to have everything perfect before you start to write. The “other stuff” isn’t ever really completed anyway – so why let it get in the way of your writing?

2) Go off the radar

Turn off your phone. Yes, you heard me, turn it off. Or at least put it out of reach in another room. The same goes for the Internet or any other device that can distract you even… books. Put them all out of sight and out of mind. There’s so much vying for your attention, that you need to make sure you take care of those distractions.

3) Find somewhere you can concentrate

Run away! No, not literally. But, if you can, finding a spot outside of your usual sphere can make it easier for you to get your writing head on. Being physically away from everything that can distract you may be the easiest way to keep away from it. It may be you don’t need to go far – the end of the garden perhaps. Or you may need to trek further afield to a library, park, or local cafe.

4) Schedule your time

I have a whole post about using a schedule to write. Suffice to say, I think it’s a useful tool to help you focus, especially if time is hard to come by. Yes, you will have to actually say “this is my time” and fend off the demands of the needy – but it may just be what you need to get going.

5) Work in chunks

Many studies agree we humans aren’t designed to be good at concentrating for long periods of time. That isn’t to say we can’t spend a long time on something, it’s just that we need breaks to do so. Try the Pomodoro method or any other way of timing your focus periods. There are plenty of apps and extensions that can help you do this. Or just use a good old-fashioned timer.

6) Have an aim

Starting a writing session without some kind of aim can mean what lies in front of you feels overwhelming. So try to work with an aim in mind. It could simply be, as tied to the suggestion above, that you’ll write for a certain number period of time. Or you may prefer to aim for a designated ever-present word count. Perhaps your aim is just to reach the end of a chapter or scene.

7) Occupy your ears

Our eyes and our minds are focused. Our fingers touch only the keyboard. Our nose smells only coffee. Our ears…are off earwigging on what’s happening outside the window. Blocking out external noise can be very beneficial when you’re writing. Some people like to work to music, others to podcasts, whilst some prefer simply white noise or silence. Whatever you prefer, a pair of noise-canceling headphones can go a long way.

What do you think? What are your tips to focus when writing? Please share in the comments below.

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8 Self-Care Tips For Writers

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