Writing can and is a solitary endeavor. Writers sit alone, starting at a computer screen, creating worlds and fictional characters, chatting with the voices in our heads. As such, we don’t usually have anyone standing over our shoulder, supervising, ensuring we write our words or meet our deadlines. And it can be hard to stay focused. I mean, there are so many distractions out there–between day jobs, families, friends, social media, church, extracurricular activities, focusing on make-believe doesn’t always seem so important.
Here are 4 easy tips for staying focused on your writing:
- Dedicated writing time — Whether that be early in the morning before work, or late at night after everyone else is in bed and the house is quiet, carve out some time where your sole focus is to write words and nothing else.
- Eliminate the distractions — If that means you need to go to a different room and lock the door, then do it. Shut off the TV and the radio (unless you need music to write, then by all means, play those tunes!). And close out of all your social media; turn off access to the internet if you need to.
- Word Sprints — These can be as long or as short as you’d like. 15, 20, 30 or 60 minutes where you simply write as much as you can. Don’t worry about what you’re writing, and do not go back to edit while you’re writing. Simply write. Once the sprint is over, take 5 or 10 minutes to stretch, get a drink, check email, etc., and then repeat the process. You can even make it more interesting by trying to beat your previous word counts and essentially “compete against yourself” to write more. Or invite other authors to sprint with you and check in with each other when the time is up. It’s a great way to stay accountable and on-task.
- Goals and rewards — Set a daily / weekly / monthly goals for your writing. A certain number of words, a set number of pages, or something else entirely. And once you meet that goal, reward yourself with anything you want. Sweets. Reading your favorite book. A new pair of shoes. A night out. Positive reinforcement is a powerful motivator!
So, how do you find your focus? How do you make time to write and utilize that time wisely, without too much distraction? Sound off in the comments.