Nothing gets in the way of writing more than life. Except maybe a cat.
Even if you do manage to sit down, there are so many distractions that sometimes we can’t focus on what we should be doing- writing. Sure we’ll jot down some words but then we need to research something, or edit what we’ve just done or check how well that tweet we’ve just posted is doing.
Here are five tips to help you focus when it’s time to write.
I’m an advocate for writing sprints. They work so well for me, I always recommend others try them as well. You basically set a timer for 20 minutes (or however long you want,) and write until the timer goes off. I find that the deadline gets me to focus on writing, and it helps when I make a competition out of it. ‘I wrote 789 words last time. Can I beat that?’
Do something different
Chances are, when you write you sit in the same workspace you always do. If you can’t focus, then do something differently. Move to a different room in the house, head out to the library or a coffee shop. Swap your laptop for a pen and paper (or vice versa.) A change in scenery and atmosphere can help focus because you’re not surrounded by the usual distractions.
I’ll get to my laptop, sit down and go to write, but struggle to start. Then my focus wanes because I’m not writing like I should. At the end of the day, plan ahead for your next writing session. Write a few lines about what you’re planning to write next. That way, when you open your document you’ll know exactly what you need to write and can get straight on it.
Put the phone away
I know, right? I’m constantly checking my phone when I’m supposed to be writing. Emails, social media, pinterest. I’ll flounder with my words for a few moments and my phone will end up in my hands for the next 30 minutes. So move the distraction. Turn it on silent, put it in a drawer or move it completely out of arms reach. If you can’t see it it can’t distract you. And chances are, you won’t be bothered to get up and walk to check for notifications.
Take care of yourself
If you’re stressed, or tired, or hungry it’s going to be very difficult to focus on anything. You come first, and your writing comes second. Make sure you take breaks to stretch. Keep yourself hydrated with water or mugs of tea, (none of that coffee rubbish.) Eat regularly and get a decent nights sleep. If you’re feeling refreshed and energetic, focusing will come a lot easier.
Good thoughts and happy writing!