10 Tips To Focus On Writing

Life has become extremely hectic during the past decades. With the current development of technology, which, by the way, can be extremely helpful, in particular to us writers, it can as well be an enormous distraction. I caught myself so many times surfing through the internet, checking this or that social media account before writing, that, at the end of the day I had updated my accounts but haven’t written one single word.

According to scientists, the current average human attention span is around 8 seconds, which means, we are in fact, almost as low as a goldfish.

I was reading myself through psychological essays, meditation websites and a few other interesting pages for support on how to focus until I finally decided I needed my list of tips and tricks.

I am a writer, and besides being distracted by household things, health issues, cat stuff and social media, I love spending time outside… which, I finally realized, was one of the ways to focus on writing.

1. Spend time outside

Spend time outside. Maybe by going for a nice walk or enjoying the sunshine or taking a swim and thinking about your story, it will give you ideas you need to write down as soon as your back on your computer.

2. Work offline

Work offline. It will help you not to go on ‘checking’ on social media, and you can concentrate on your writing.

3. To-Do lists

Make two to-do lists. One for your regular day-by-day things and one for writing (and blogging). Make sure you don’t mix them up, but you need to block some time on your daily to-do list to keep some time for your writing.

4. Work spot

Look for your own silent work spot. Make sure you have a clean desk that doesn’t distract you and start your work. Enjoy and embrace the silence and, if necessary, keep the door closed.

5. Music

Help to focus on your work by listening to music you like. It will also help you to tune out the background noise that might distract you from your writing goal.

6. Big and small goals

Break down big goals into smaller ones. They’re easier to reach, and if you feel you are prepared and ready for the next goal, after a break you still can sit down and start to work on your next goal.

7. Breaks

Breaks! Allow yourself breaks in between your goals. Nothing is as relaxing as a break. It will refresh and reboot your brain. Just don’t forget to close the door again after you return to work.

8. Coffee

Caffeine helps to support your focus. It will wake you up, and while enjoying the warm, dark and spicy liquid in your cup your head is already on its way to your story. (You might ask, why does the coffee only make number eight? Well, I figure since we writers usually start our day with coffee, oral or by injection, I thought it doesn’t need to top this list.)

9. A Good Night’s Sleep

Live a healthy life with plenty of sleep. From what I read over the past few hours, many people are satisfied with only a few hours of sleep each night. Unfortunately being tired and confused in the morning after a lack of sleep, this might interfere with your ability to focus. Make sure you got plenty of sleep, with an average of 7 – 8 hours a night.

10. Keep your moods out

Keep work at work, frustration, and anger outside your work spot. Many writers do have a day job and don’t live off writing. To keep the focus on what you like to do, make sure you are relaxed and calm and left work at the office (or wherever) and blend out anger and frustration. It interferes with your writing.

Extra-tip: Certain food types might support the ability to focus. I figure to find out if that’s helpful, you will need to try: Blueberries, green tea, avocados, leafy green vegetables, fatty fish, water, dark chocolate, flax seeds, and nuts.

Picture courtesy of: https://www.liftlearning.ca/areas-of-focus/
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Books And Where They Come From

 

I purposely didn’t title this post “History of Books,” because according to Wikipedia: The History of the Book is an academic discipline that studies the production, transmission, circulation, and dissemination of text from antiquity to the present day.

I was curious what was the first book ever published and did some research on this question. It seems there are some similar opinions about that, in particular since historians disagree on the term “book.” While some say, written text on parchment, papyrus, wood or different other material, a collection of pages between two ‘covers’ are a book; others insist that a roll of parchment or even a collection of rolls or pages are not a book as long as the pages aren’t bound.

Now, it seems the first written language that we know of was archaic cuneiform. What we know it was dated around 3400 BD during ancient Sumerian civilization. (located in current Iraq). The first written story that we know of was The Epic of Gilgamesh, a ruler of the Sumerian state of Uruk. Gilgamesh was believed to have lived between 2700 – 2500 BC. It seems there are several fragmented versions of the story, they were written at different times, the oldest dated around 2100 BC. The most complete version was written on clay tablets and discovered in the ruins of the largest library in the pre-Hellenic ancient world, Nineveh in Assyria. These clay tablets can be viewed in the British Museum.

The first book published in North America was The Whole Booke of Psalmes. It was printed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1640. It seems eleven copies of this first edition still exist.

I discovered several lists of the oldest, still existing ‘books’ in the world. These lists are quite similar, even though there is a protest that the one or other ‘book’ is missing. But I guess this might be an interpretation of the term ‘book’ once again.

• Etruscan Gold Book – approx. 2,700 years old
• Nag Hammadi Library – approx.. 1,700 years old
• St. Cuthbert Gospel – approx. 1,300 years old
• Siddur, Jewish Prayer book – approx. 1,200 years old
• Diamond Sutra – approx. 1,150 years old
• Celtic Psalter – approx.: 950 years old
• Gutenberg Bible – approx. 560 years old

Of course, there are so many examples I cannot mention here at this point. These were just the ones that were the most noticeable during my research.

Over the past millennia, the bookbinding industry has progressed. First slowly, then faster. I’m talking about the clay tablets, the manuscripts, the parchment rolls, the first codex’, the first books, illustrations, hardcovers, paperbacks, e-readers, and of course books we can read on every existing tablet.

When I thought about this evolution of books all of a sudden, I burst out into laughter. Did you notice, in my recital, I used the same word twice to describe two completely different ‘things’?

I admit, this fact caused a certain cheerfulness in my heart. “Retro.” Even the book industry is affected.

          BACK TO THE ROOTS

 

          TABLET vs. TABLET

 

Discipline & Accomplishment

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

Reading the above quote, I was immediately thinking about how disciplined I am; and how disciplined I would like to be.

Me working in a full-time job, of course, I would love to have more time to write. Not that I never take time to. It often seems to me that I barely do anything else in my time outside the office, except working on one of my books. Either I write, or I type one of my drafts into the computer, or I edit, or I work on a copyright, a cover, or anything else that has to do with either writing or blogging.

There were so many days (and nights) I found myself in front of my computer at 2 am and realizing that I should have gone to bed three hours ago considering I have to get up and go to work sometime between 7 and 8 am.

Of course, when I get home, I have to provide myself and the cats with dinner, play with them, maybe have to clean at home, do laundry or get something else done that needs to be done in my daily life.

Occasionally there is just simply no time to do any writing or blogging. On a day like this, I find myself in bed, feeling guilty about neglecting my writing, pushing my passion and obsession to the very end of my ‘to-do’-list.

These are the days I feel I’m not disciplined enough to follow up and do whatever I can to reach my goal.

To this day I have no idea what more I can do to be more disciplined. A plan? A different ‘to-do’-list? I’ve tried it all. In the end, I just had to see: my priorities are set right. But once in a while, daily life needs more attention than expected. And no matter how much I love being a writer. I still need to have a home, pay my bills and get food on the table.

Sometimes I’m asking myself, what more can I do? And I wish I’d be wiser…


When I lately read this quote, I expected this quote to root in the wisdom of a successful and experienced man. And I was right. That’s why I tried to find out more about this man’s life.

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.com

Emanuel James “Jim” Rohn (September 17, 1930 – December 5, 2009) was an American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker.

Emanuel James “Jim” Rohn was born in Yakima, Washington, to Emanuel and Clara Rohn. The Rohns owned and worked a farm in Caldwell, Idaho, where Jim grew up as an only child.

Rohn left college after just one year and started his professional life by working as a human resource manager for department store Sears. From there he worked through different industries until the early 1960s when Rohn was invited to speak at a meeting of his Rotary Club. He accepted and, soon, others began asking him to speak at various luncheons and other events. In 1963 at the Beverly Hills Hotel, he gave his first public seminar. He then began presenting seminars all over the country, telling his story and teaching his personal development philosophy.

He presented seminars worldwide for more than 40 years. Rohn also coauthored the novel Twelve Pillars with Chris Widener.

Rohn was the recipient of the 1985 National Speakers Association CPAE Award for excellence in speaking. He is also the author of 17 different written, audio, and video media.

Jim Rohn died of pulmonary fibrosis on December 5, 2009. He is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. (Source: Wikipedia.com)

Blog Post Resume

After some more than three years of ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest,’ I got curious. I have, of course, shared the most remarkable highlights with all of you. For example my three year blogging anniversary, my 1,000th blog post or my 1,000th follower.

What had me curious this time was, which of my blog posts were the most successful.
It was a surprising list, I admit.

1. (unknown or deleted) This was a poem I once wrote for my ex-boyfriend. Since he didn’t deserve it, I decided to delete it from my blog.
2. How to describe the perfect kissing scene
3. Analogies and Metaphors
4. Romance, Seduction, Taste – A Sexy Male Protagonist
5. 1st Halloween-Poem Contest
6. Fairy Tales reloaded – PG16
7. BOAW – Blog Fest 2016: Beauty changes during the time
8. How to promote on “Writer’s Treasure Chest.”
9. How to find a title for your book
10. Winter Wonderland
11. Author Spotlight – Renee Schuls-Jacobson
12. Featured Author – Interview – The return of Darlene Foster
13. How to start your own Author Newsletter
14. Author Marketing Support 2017 – here on Writer’s Treasure Chest
15. BOAW – Blog Fest – Girl Boner Entry – PG-18

I’m very proud that the list of these 15 most successful blog posts on my blog is a healthy mix of different posts I wrote through the time.

It contains a couple of poems, a few posts about writing and book marketing, Author Spotlights and the posts I wrote for August McLaughlin’s ‘Beauty of a Woman’s Blogfest.’

To me, this tells me, that every post on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ was worth the time and efforts, the thoughts, the worries and the smiles invested.

Thank you all for being part of my blogging adventure.

 

Picture courtesy of: http://www.erasmusplus.it/

Adding An Alien To The Story

From a very young age, I have been fascinated by owls. I love owls, as do many other people I meet. According to psychologists, these birds are sympathetic to us for having an ‘almost human face.’ Let’s see if they’re right:

Both pics were courtesy of http://www.google.com

And this isn’t a hint that Johnny Depp looks like an owl. I just picked someone most of us know. Two eyes, a nose, and a mustache. Compared to other birds owls have both eyes on the front of their head instead of the side. But this isn’t the subject of this blog post.

As I said, I’m fascinated by owls. There are many mysterious facts about them:

  • An owls’ eyes are immobile; they cannot ‘roll their eyes’ or move the eyeballs. They can focus on pray. But then, they can turn their heads about 270 degrees.
  • Their ears are asymmetric; one ear sits higher on the head than the other. Since they have excellent hearing, this way they can hear sound in different dimensions.
  • Lager owls eat small ones. And an owl can eat up to 1,000 mice a year. They swallow them entirely: tail, fur, feet – everything. Later they choke up what their body can’t digest. Occasionally these pellets can be found on the ground in the woods.
  • The smallest owl on Earth is the Elf Owl, which is 5 – 6 inches tall and weighs about 1 ½ ounces. The largest North American owl, in appearance, is the Great Gray Owl, which is up to 32 inches tall.
  • Superstitious people in certain parts of the world still believe owls are death omens. In wide parts of Europe owls have been killed by the hundreds because, in particular, farmers believed, owls are a bad sign of destruction. Until in the early 70’s these stupid people nailed owls to their sheds with their wings spread and left them to hang to die and believed this way they could protect their crop, animals, and house from disaster, accident and natural force.
  • For a very long time, owls have been a symbol of scholarliness and wisdom. It seems the origin of this habit goes back to the Ancient Greeks: In Greek mythology, a little owl (Athene noctua) traditionally represents or accompanies Athena, the virgin goddess of wisdom, or Minerva, her syncretic incarnation in Roman mythology.[1] Because of such association, the bird — often referred to as the “owl of Athena” or the “owl of Minerva” — has been used as a symbol of knowledge, wisdom, perspicacity and erudition throughout the Western world.[2][3] (Source Wikipedia)

To me, they have a trace of magic about them.

The series of books I am currently writing is classified between paranormal romance and fantasy, and there is some magic involved. For a while now I have considered adding an owl to one of the stories. But I cannot place it.

No matter how much I think and try, no matter how fascinated I am by owls, that particular owl has no room in these books. It would feel like an alien within those stories. I even considered to build a story around the owl to add it, but it doesn’t make sense at all. It seems owls are not foreseen to be in this book series.

I then thought I might write another story about an owl. But I admit, I didn’t see a plot that does not make a children’s book. At this point, I never considered writing a children’s book. So, what am I doing with my owl?

Does anyone have an idea? And did anyone of you authors out there have an idea for a character and found out that it doesn’t fit into the book you’re writing? What did you do? How did it make you feel? I’d be happy to read from you in my comments.

picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

 

Interview With One Of My Characters III

Hello, 

Welcome to ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’. It’s wonderful to have you here.

Thank you, Aurora Jean. I really appreciate the invitation.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Of course. My name is Mairead McCarthy. I’m originally from Ireland. Currently I’m looking for Simin Arnatt. I have been searching nearly everywhere. But whenever I seem to get closer, she disappears.

I know Simin. Is it important that you’ll find her?

Yes, very much so. I do have an order for her. From what I hear she’s the best in her job.

Oh, she definitely is. But can you tell us what you need her for?

Uhm. I’m not sure I should. Not as publicly as here. However, I need to find her. Can you help me?

Sure. I will give you the phone number of her agency after the interview.

Oh, This is amazing. Thank you.

But, please, tell us more about you. Who are you and what is your occupation?

Oh… I told you, I’m originally from Ireland. I love it there. My home is magical in many ways. As for what I do: I’m a jewelry designer.

I see. And that’s all you do? I mean, you don’t hide anything from us? 

(laughs musically). Of course I’m hiding something from you, what do you think? But don’t expect me to blurt it out here in public, I doubt that would be very smart. In particular not, since I need Simin’s help.

Of course. By the way: I’m very intrigued by your name. Does it have a meaning?

Yes. Mairead is the Irish version of Margareth and means ‘pearl’.

Hence, the jewelry designer.

Well, I figured I wanted something to do that fits me. Designing is a passion of mine. For quite a while I used to make my own clothes. But then: everyone is a fashion designer, obviously, even if they haven’t studied design or gotten the right education. You simply have to be some TV starlet and you’re an ‘expert’. That’s mainly why I decided to do something a bit different.

I studied gemology and mineralogy and closed with a degree in design.

Do you design for big houses, like ‘Cartier’ for example? 

No, sorry. I run my own business and it’s quite successful. It’s tiny but exclusive and I’m making quite a good living.

This is wonderful to hear. I am as well fascinated by your look. The strawberry blonde hair and the green eyes. 

It’s genetic. My mother looks just like me and so do my baby-sisters.

I’m sorry for interrupting. But I’m a bit eager to get Simin on the phone. Can we end this? It’s wonderful that I can be here. But I’m a bit impatient. I was looking for her for quite some time now.

I understand. But may I ask you something before we quit?

Sure, go ahead. What do you want to know?

Are you a creature of light or darkness, normal or supernatural, with or without wings and are you single?

(laughs) I’m definitely a supernatural creature of light. As for the wings: occasionally I have them. As for my marital status: I wonder why you want to know that, but let’s say: being one of ‘us’ means it is quite difficult to be in a relationship. Does that help?

Yes, it does. Thank you very much.

It was my pleasure. Thank you for having me.


Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

 

Characters and what or who inspires them – by Aurora Jean Alexander…

Today, our furry friend, The Story Reading Ape, published one of my gest posts. I’m very honored and flattered. Thank you so much for publishing it on your blog, Chris! ❤

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

When I start developing a character sometimes, I construct the person in my head; then I start writing down how she/he is going to be. First the ‘shell,’ then the inside. I very rarely ‘use’ someone I already know… someone I have met or is familiar to me.

It’s more that sometimes I recognize later, after the first draft, when I’m typing the book into the computer, that I find similarities with people I know.

This one time it’s a bit different.

A couple of months back I met a new co-worker of mine. She’s simply beautiful with her shiny black hair, blue ocean deep eyes, and her open, symmetrical heart-shaped face.

We talked about her descants and found out; she’s Irish. After talking to her and listening to her wonderful Irish accent, I decided I would love to use her as one of my main characters in one of…

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