Another important aspect of becoming/remaining a good writer is maintaining your focus. I’m not sure if other writers are like this, but if I am distracted while writing, my writing is choppy and simply doesn’t flow. I must maintain complete focus on my writing and eliminate other distractions. When I do that,5 I can become part of the story and see it all unfold in my mind. It makes it much easier to write that way.
If you are the same way, I’ve uncovered some tips along the way that help with maintaining focus:
Write in a quiet place. I know a lot of people like to write in coffee shops and the like, but I cannot write well in an environment like that. Perhaps I am somewhat ADD, but all the foot traffic and noise keeps me from truly focusing on what I am doing.
Get comfortable. I don’t like writing sitting straight up at a desk. I don’t know if it is my homeschooling background or simply the fact that my brain functions best when I am relaxed, but for whatever reason, I write better when I feel comfortable.
A theme song can be inspiring. I once read that Douglas Adams listened to the One-Trick Pony album over and over while writing The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Since then, I have experimented with listening to a variety of song types while writing. For me, the songs can’t be too active or crazy, otherwise I lose focus. Classical music and folk-style music works best for me.
See yourself there. This is especially helpful for fiction writing. I like to imagine the scene as if I were watching it in a movie. What would the camera capture? What would be included in close-ups? That is what I try to describe in detail when writing fiction passages.
Disconnect from the Internet. The Internet distracts me. Some people say that writing on paper is better than writing on a screen, but I have not found that to be so. I type much faster than I write. I prefer to type my writings, but if I have Internet access, I usually waste way too much time. So, turning it off is helpful to me. There are also Internet-blocking apps you can download that will help you stay off the Internet when you are trying to get work done.
This is how I stay focused while writing. What are your focusing tips?