Simple Tips To Stay Focused On Your Writing

By on March 22, 2017
Simple Tips To Stay Focused On Your Writing - Writers Life.org

Writers have to be lots of things; organised, thick-skinned, creative, and determined, to name but a few. However, one skill that sticks out far beyond the rest is having the ability to focus.

Do you ever sit down to write, absentmindedly type a few sentences then stop, and stare out of the window for the next ten minutes?

Do you find yourself starting to work then suddenly remembering you need to hang the laundry out or run the shop to buy some milk?

Do you find that you can’t quite ever get into your writing flow because you have to read another text message, take another phone call or reply to another email that pings up infront of you?

All of these are common distractions a writer faces each and every time they sit down to write. A focused writer, however, knows how to combat them, or, better still, stop them from happening in the first place.

Here are some simple tips to stay focused on your writing.

Turn off your phone and email notifications

Turn your phone off completely and put it in another room. Unless your job requires you to be contactable 24/7 then your writing time needs to be as calm and distraction free as possible. It’s all too easy to 'quickly' check your phone, but before you know it you're in an hour long text chat with your mum. Make life easier for yourself and turn it off until you are done. The same goes for email and any other annoying notifications that are likely to flash up or sound as you work. You’ll be surprised how much more you get done without these little distractions.

Create the perfect writing zone

Understanding when and where you best write is crucial if you want to stay focused. It might take a bit of trial and error to get this right. You may have had visions of looking artistic in a cafe but soon find that the noise distracts you and there is only so much coffee you are willing to pay for before you start getting evils from the barista. You might like to sit businesslike at a desk, or lazily stretched out on your bed. You might like to listen to music or have perfect silence, you might enjoy sitting in your garden, or going to the local library or even hiring out an office space. Finding a place where you feel focused and ready to write can make all the difference.

Tell your nearest and dearest

It’s going to be hard to focus if people keep distracting you every five minutes so it’s important to stress to those who might that your writing time is important and a time where you shouldn’t be disturbed. If your friends and family know how much your writing means to you, they’ll respect your wishes and leave you in peace unless absolutely necessary!

Relax and enjoy it

Sometimes you can get yourself so worked up about your writing it can be difficult to concentrate. If your inner critic is stopping you from focusing try to silence it. Take some deep breaths, clear your mind and allow yourself to write freely - if you are enjoying it you will remain attentive and feel so much more in the zone.

Get to the root cause

If you have done all of the above and you still can’t focus on your writing, it might be time to dig a little deeper. Are you being honest with yourself about how you feel about your work? Are you scared of really trying and letting yourself down? Perhaps you are just at a difficult part of your story in which case you need to figure out how to get over it. Perhaps, and while this may be hard to accept, your story just doesn’t interest you, in which case you probably need to go back to the drawing board and start again.

Remaining focused on your writing isn’t always easy. However, the more you practice at it, and the stricter and more self-disciplined you are, the better you will become. Staying focused will make you a more proficient and productive writer, so it is well worth working out what distractions you have, and how to keep your attention focused on your writing.

Do you have any tips on how to concentrate? Share them here!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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2 Comments

  1. Cheryl

    March 30, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Hi Bethany,

    I wanted to let you know that I read every one of your articles and appreciate the advice.

    Last night, I came home form work, put my phone on dnd, no tv, did not check any email or social media, got a big glass of ice water and set an alarm for 60 minutes. I wrote until the alarm went off and ended up with 1296 words. If I can commit to this daily, that’s 9K per week and brings my goal of finishing my first draft of 6/26 a bit closer to 6/7.

    Thanks for all you to do inspire and encourage me.

    =)

    Cheryl
    http://www.shihwrites.com (working on my website – not up yet!)

    • Bethany Cadman

      March 31, 2017 at 6:37 am

      Hi Cheryl,
      So glad you are enjoying the articles, thanks for reading – and that sounds like a great aim, good luck with your book!

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