Many writers have unspoken struggles. One of them is staying focused. There always seems to be things that compete for a writers’ attention rendering them completely unable to focus. But good news! You can improve this – and here’s 8 simple steps how. Ready? Let’s go …
1) Set An Achievable Goal
The ability to set a goal and doing all it takes to reach it has a great impact on your overall focus. You can start by setting a goal of writing 500 words every morning. This is an achievable goal. If done every day, one could even comfortably write a whole book without much struggle. The premise here is setting small achievable goals and meeting them. This will build your confidence, so you will improve your writing focus. MORE: How To Set Meaningful Goals And Stick To Them
2) Create a Daily Schedule
Anything that’s left to chance can only get worse. So make a point of creating a daily schedule for writing! It should be custom-made to suit your needs. Just schedule some time to write at each point of the day. For example, in the morning, you could write for three hours; in the afternoon, two hours; then in the evening, one hour. During your weekends, you could schedule about four hours of writing.
Perhaps you don’t have as much free time as this? That’s fine too. Anything is better than nothing! You can choose any schedule provided you stick to it.
You can also write about anything, provided that you write. The premise here is to write regularly on a set schedule. The bottom line is that you’re better placed to improve your writing focus if you create a writing schedule and better yet, stick to it!
3) Have Breaks
After writing continuously for about two hours, always give yourself a break. A 20-minute break can be refreshing. Ensure that you break away from your computer screen and do something unrelated. You can have a snack; watch a quick episode of your favourite show; call your best friend or even simply take a stroll. Take your mind completely off work issues. Taking breaks enables your mind and body to rest and rejuvenate. It enables you to fight fatigue and burnout. This postures you for better focus once you resume, thus improving your writing.
4) Make sure You Exercise
Exercise has many benefits to your health. It improves your overall health, while keeping your body fit. It also improves your blood circulation, which improves the functioning of your mind and body. This translates to a better focus on all your daily activities — writing included!
Exercise also relieves stress and is linked to better sleep patterns. All these are vital to improving your focus. You could join a gym for regular workout sessions. You can also do some low-impact exercises like swimming, walking, and jogging. If you’re fit enough, run regularly. Participate in marathons if you think you can.
The reason why you may lack focus in your writing could be due to a sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, make a point of exercising regularly. The benefits will be immense on your health as well as with your writer’s focus.
5) Stay Away From Distractions
Distractions are real, and they are effective in making writers lose focus. To remedy this, simply remove all distractions. Yes, this is obvious – but difficult!
Different distractions may affect different writers. For example, there are those which are tied to hobbies. They may include cooking, gardening, socialising, sports and travel. There are those which present themselves as unavoidable tasks such as home chores, fixing stuff around the house, etc. There are those which are more connected to lifestyle. For example, the internet, smoking, alcohol, etc.
So, use your phone only when it is necessary – hide it or leave it out of reach if you need to! Avoid using the internet, especially social media – you can turn this off via apps like Freedom. Always do your research before you start writing. Gather all the information that you may need to write and after that, switch off your internet connection until you’re done with writing.
6) Refrain from Editing as You Write
Writing and editing are two different activities that need different sets of skills. They should not be done concurrently. The reason why some writers lose focus as they write is that they edit as they write. This may have devastating implications such as losing a trail of thought or messing up with the flow of the writing. It also takes much of your time hence leading to late submission of work. To avoid this, simply write uninterrupted until you finish. Do not even try to edit while you’re writing! This will significantly improve your focus when writing.
7) Write Less but Frequently
Many writers write for more than four hours in a single sitting without a break. This might seem like a good idea, but many professionals believe this is an unhealthy practice that leads to reduced productivity in the long run. Writers should work in spurts of 1-2 hours at most. In a day, it is better to write in short spurts but more frequently. It significantly improves your focus and aids your creativity. MORE: 43 Famous Writers Share Their Secrets On How To Be Happy
8) Avoid Stress
Stress destroys focus. In fact, mental health and productivity experts believe stress is detrimental to creativity and productivity. Stress has a negative effect on one’s cognitive ability which significantly reduces their focus. So do whatever it takes to reduce stress in your life!
So, as a writer, your aim should be to reduce stress to improve your focus. You can reduce stress in the following proven ways:
- Engage in stress relief activities. They include meditation, yoga, massage therapy, aromatherapy, pet therapy and also martial arts. Take long walks and dedicate time for rest, daily.
- Stay positive. Positivity has been proven to counter stress. One way of staying positive is by having gratitude. Make a list of everything that you think you should be grateful for before you start writing. Show others gratitude.
- Don’t spend all your time writing. Take a book and read too. Reading has been found to reduce stress considerably. Try reading for about 10 minutes before writing. It will reduce stress and ultimately increase your focus.
If you are struggling with focus when writing, apply any of the tips discussed above. They are proven to be effective and will assist you immensely to improve your focus
BIO: Lori Wade is a freelance content writer who is interested in a wide range of spheres from education and online marketing to entrepreneurship. She is also an aspiring tutor striving to bring education to another level. If you are interested in writing, you can find her on Twitter or Google+ or find her on other social media.