Lately, I’ve been struggling with focusing. After I’ve gotten the daily outlining done for my stories, it’s time to write. However, I find that I can hardly go an hour without needing a “break” to check up on my emails, which leads to 20 wasted minutes of internet surfing in the name of research. So, I’ve been trying other methods of taming my distraction and focusing in on my goal.
Set your writing time and get used to politely saying “no.” Writing isn’t a hobby that you can put on the backburner. It is a job and sometimes, you sadly have to decline that social event in order to protect your writing time. It’ll be hard, but if you are serious about writing, you are going to have to say no. Get the people closest to you on board with the truth that writing is more than a hobby and it will help keep you on track. If you have the support of your spouse or others around you, it will help you to focus on completing your novel in a timely manner.
Set a writing goal for the day. Some days, I have more time to write than others, so I try to adjust my goals accordingly in order to get a realistic expectation of my day. If my goal is too high, I just end up getting frustrated. If it’s too low, I feel like I am cheating when I record that I went way beyond my word count goal, so I chart out how long it will take to have a 90k book completed and then go from there. Setting a word count goal is something I’ve been doing for a while and it works great, but it can’t be the only way to insure that I don’t get distracted.
Schedule your distractions. As you are making your goals and setting your writing time, write down your “fun” time. You want to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Having time to yourself and with your friends and just relaxing is important, but it will help you focus if you actually schedule it out and know that your break time is coming; however, it just isn’t during writing time.
Outline your writing for the entire day. I tried the method of taking only 5 minutes of outlining every day before I write, but I found that it only buys me 1-2 hours of writing and I get distracted again, so I’ve been outlining for my entire day, so I have no excuse for running down the rabbit trail of Internet researching. Since I’ve starting my new outlining process, I’ve doubled my word count, but I need it to triple and I think the Internet is to blame….
Disconnect to maintain the perfect writing environment. I find that I write much better in coffee shops because I refuse to allow myself to connect my computer to the Internet. With the Internet not being available as a distraction, I pop in my earbuds and write for hours (with occasional stretch breaks…no surfing). However, one cannot go to coffee shops every day, so on the days I cannot spend $5 at Starbucks, I plan on just turning off my home Wi-Fi to not allow myself to “multi-task” by checking emails, social media or read other blogs. We will see how this goes.
And, of course, caffeine. Everyone knows that coffee is the real hero of writing. What would we do without a little bit (okay a lot) of coffee to help us get into the relaxed zone while still maintaining focus? Thank you Lord for caffeine.
What ways do you use to focus on your writing?
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