5 Ways To Focus On Writing



There are so many different things in this digital age to distract us from writing.  The picture to the left is of Ernest Hemingway typing a novel on the beach, but the days when a writer could isolate themselves from their tech may be completely gone.

Even though I love writing (the process, the planning, the function and the therapy) sometimes after a hard day at work or a long day of work on Saturday doing numerous housekeeping tasks I just don’t feel like it, and I’m sure if you are a writer who doesn’t do it for a living you also feel the same way sometimes…or most times.  However, this does not produce writing and can sometimes destroy any productivity you might otherwise achieve.

Here are 5 things that I do to keep myself focused on the task:

  1. Schedule Time – I couldn’t get anything done if I didn’t schedule time for writing.  Don’t think of writing as the thing you do once you get everything done.  Schedule a set time for writing and stick to it.  Move all of your other tasks around to focus on that task.  Don’t let the other tasks interfere with it.
  2. Get Some Software – There are several great productivity apps out there that will take over your computer to keep you focused. Nothing kills productivity like surfing Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites while trying to write.   I have found this list of software for you so that you can spend less time shopping for them and more time writing.  You’re welcome.
  3. Reward Yourself – Be sure to reward yourself somehow when you reach your goal word count or your goal writing time.  This will help you to get busy on the task at hand because you are looking forward that reward.
  4. Shut Off Your Phone – Don’t just put it on silent.  Shut the thing off!  Pretend like you are in a movie theater.  There are several apps out there that claim to cut off your phone for a short period, but they are all expensive.  Just shut it off!
  5. Inform Others – The best accountability that you have is a buddy or a loved one who knows what time you have scheduled for writing and will help people and children leave you alone.  My wife does this, but you need to let your friends know when you will go “into your writing cave” and that this time is for you to get things done.  These people don’t necessarily have to be your watchdogs, but it helps.  All you need is one good watchdog and the rest just need to know that you are busy during that time.

I hope this helps.  If you have any other things you do to stay focused, please post below.

Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

5 thoughts on “5 Ways To Focus On Writing

  1. I also find it helpful for myself to stay focused by making sure I won’t be thinking about other things. I struggle with wanting to focus on my writing when I know the house is a mess, for example. I make sure that any of these things that will mentally pull me away from writing is done beforehand, or I have a solid plan to get to them later.

  2. Couldn’t agree more. Busy life seems to always be finding innovative ways to butt in to my writing life 🙂 Recently, when I’ve had a good chunk of time, I’ve found the pomodoro method really useful for productivity and concentration – 25 minutes of writing then 5 minutes reward time to do what you want (usually the loo!). Repeat 4 times then have a 30 minute break. Then start again. Works wonders. Plus there are loads of apps that use the method. You can waste hours checking out which one is the best…or at least a lot of 5 minute breaks! Useful post, thanks Roger.

  3. It probably helps to be an eccentric narcissist, too! Somehow it was easier in the days of the Great American Novel to indulge in one’s passion. It takes a bit more juggling now.

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