On Writing: The Secret to Staying Focused

Whether you’re a full-time writer, have another job, or have any other obligations in general, there will always be something that will attempt to steal your attention when you’re writing.

It could be anything. Homework. Your children/pets. Browsing the internet. Cleaning your kitchen. Making a pie chart.

I think you get the point.

There are hundreds of ways you can step away from your WIP and give in to procrastination. For myself, it’s often scrolling through Instagram, watching YouTube videos, or remembering the incomplete assignments that I have due tomorrow (which are actually more important than writing).

But along with other life obligations comes the need to set aside time for writing that is free from distractions. If you’re serious about writing a novel, but you spend your writing time on social media or doing anything but writing, you’ll find that days (or weeks) can pass and that page is still blank.

Today, I’m sharing a few ways that I’ve been able to stay focused and dedicate my full attention to writing that chapter and crushing my goals.

1. Use technology to your advantage

I know, this completely goes against the “no distractions” mindset. But hear me out.

I use the Pomodoro method when I want to stay focused. If you’re not familiar with how this works, you work for 25 minute intervals with a 5 minute break. Use this time to stretch, take a walk, grab a snack, get a drink, etc.

For whatever reason, a ticking clock next to my workspace makes me want to see just how much I can accomplish in those 25 minutes, knowing that I can check Instagram once I’m done.

You could go as old school as using a physical kitchen timer, or you could use the timer app on your phone. If you want to be extra (like myself), here are a few productivity apps I recommend:

  1. Flat Tomato

  2. Be Focused (for Mac users)

  3. Tomatoes

2. Listen to focus playlists

Spotify offers a ton of great playlists for focus/studying/instrumentals. My favorite playlist at the moment is the Spotify Chill Hits playlist.

I’m not entirely familiar with other platforms since I’m a huge fan of Spotify, but I’m sure you can dig up some of these playlists on other platforms. You can also create your own playlists based on your preferences! I’ve listened to several playlists where I’ve skipped 75% of the songs because they weren’t my taste. Sometimes, creating a customized playlist is better 🙂

3. Reward yourself

Use that 5 minute break to reward yourself for all of your hard work. I suggest making a cup of coffee/tea, grabbing a healthy snack, or doing some stretches to help relax your muscles.

It’s tough to sit for in front of a computer for long periods of time, which is why I cannot stress this enough. Get off your butt and move!

On this topic, here are some of my favorite stretches/yoga poses to give me energy (with variations!).

Once you’ve given yourself a break, get back to work. You’ve got this.

Let’s talk! What is your favorite way to stay focused? Let me know in the comments 🙂

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