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/

A Productive Writer’s Night

Picture courtesy of: http://www.poesiagt.com/2013/01/tipos-de-versos.html

I would say, the majority of us writer’s cannot financially afford to lean back and spend their life writing, no matter how much we dream of becoming full-time writers. And believe me, I’m one of these dreamers, I know what I’m talking about.

I’m happiest when I write. I’m relaxed and in a good mood, smiling, sometimes chatty, and I felt alive and focused on my task when I see my pen gliding across the paper and build a fantasy world, with fantasy characters and fantasy creatures… you get the point.

I have read so many articles about the power of wishful thinking, the power of positive thinking, informing the reader that only someone who strongly believes in her/his talent, is going to be successful at the end. And to believe in ourselves means to not only “hope” to one day become a full-time author, but know that we will become a full-time author. And that’s why we should resign from our job and become a writer who spends his/her time writing.

I try to be a positive person and believe in myself – I dream of being a full-time writer, but I also have to be realistic. My wishful positive thinking won’t pay my bills.

To permit myself to write, to travel, to meet new people and ‘old’ friends, to see my family and to write, yes… to pay my editor, my copyright lawyer, my cover designer, I need to make money. And that’s why I have a fulltime job.

My job is demanding, as is any other writer’s job. Some days we work many more hours than the ones we should because the workload is enormous. So, when do I write?

I am a night owl. Very often I’m most productive between 11 pm and the early morning hours. Of course, I cannot use the entire night to write and then go to work with nearly no sleep. I need to be able to concentrate during the day.

When I come home, I permit myself a break to calm down, get my work out of my head, wash the day off in a shower, eat, feed the kitties and relax. After that, I get up, turn my computer on and go to work. Depending on how tired I am I might decide to type my draft into the computer or continue to draft the new story that’s in my head, waiting to be written.

I work for about four or five hours (which doesn’t mean I have never extended that time frame). Then I go to bed and get some sleep. Three days of the five I work I sleep for about 5 to 6 hours before getting up and driving to my job. Two days a week I sleep an hour longer. The weekends I catch up on sleep before continuing to write either book or blog posts, for example.

From what I found out, many writers are night owls; I’m not the only one. Danielle Steele and Honoré de Balzac wrote in night shifts as well, only to name two famous writers.

I think the time doesn’t matter. An author writes when he/she is most creative. Currently, my workload only permits me to write nights and weekends, but I got a vacation too, and often then I’m more creative than during the entire work year. My biggest writing progress usually takes part on vacation. Also, I guess, it depends on the writer’s preference and creativity. Some people are larks; some are owls. I am the owl.

And then there are the times when I’m unhappy. During a spiritual low like this, I’m mostly unable to write anything useful and keep on typing in what I drafted before.

Right now, writing this blog post, it is 1 am. And yes, according to my plan I should have gone to bed more than one hour ago. But I couldn’t resist finishing the post before permitting myself to go to bed.

I figure there are as many writing routines as there are writers. And this happens to be mine.

Would you like to share your writing routine with us in the comments below? Thank you!