To be able to work with sheer dedication, a writer needs the ability to fully concentrate and stay focused at all times. Maintaining your focus for sustained periods can be a difficult task to do. Psychologists suggest a powerful form of concentration for writers called ‘flow’. This refers to an individual fully engaging in the task they are doing. For a writer, ‘flowing’ concentration is essential to write pieces with utmost fluency.
Inability to concentrate can be fruitless, especially for a writer. In order to make each day productive, writers must employ these 5 basic tips to stay focused on work and exercise their minds for better concentration:
Stick to the Schedule
The type of schedule you keep doesn’t matter as long as it caters to your needs and helps dedicate time to your book on a regular basis. If you’re not experienced in writing projects, avoid scheduling as you might not know how long a piece should take.
Create a flexible schedule for yourself each day. A focused writer will begin writing at dawn and continue to do so for the next 3 hours. Take a break and write for 2 more hours in the afternoon after lunch. Writing an hour before bed and when kids are asleep is not so bad either.
Moreover, setting impracticable deadlines like ‘must finish book by Christmas 2016’ is a recipe for disaster. Writers are of different types, each taking their own sweet time and as a human, you are likely to experience uncontrollable interruptions like untimely sickness or a writer’s block.
Break down your tasks into small accomplishable goals. You must have a task in hand for each day of the week. Doing certain tasks in chunks on a regular basis is more likely to create results in the long run.
Recognise Feelings and Thoughts
There are times when you feel overwhelmed by the work load. You might lose motivation to write or experience writer’s block. The dread will make you worry and distract you from the goal; leaving you even more demotivated. As a writer, never underestimate the power of negative thoughts. Recognise them for what they are and nip them in the bud.
Habitual thoughts might come to your mind on numerous occasions, but usually they are not toxic enough to distract you from accomplishing your tasks. The problem arises when you condition the habitual thought process with something negative; for example “If I’m not able to write today, I might not be able to write ever again!”
Let thoughts come and go, instead of swimming in a pool of dread and anxiety. Be fully aware of the negativities, but try your best to keep your mind from being affected. Only you can choose your actions, not your thoughts.
A writer’s job is definitely not easy. It doesn’t only involve typing words on a laptop or generating mind maps on a sketch pad. It takes time for an author to come up with interesting concepts, finding appropriate words to reflect them on paper, and editing and polishing them to captivate a reader’s mind.
Once you have set your goal for the day and started writing, set a timer to track the time on the tasks you accomplish. Tracking time allows you better handling of the write-ups by making you do the ‘thinking’ and ‘penning’ in a timely manner. Time tracking can boost the various activities that you need to finish in a day.
To help you track your time easily, there are several time tracking applications and devices available which you can install and make each day productive.
- Minterapp is an online application that helps you avoid any miscalculations on time spent working.
- Download a free timer or alarm utility on your desktop which works in the background, counting down for the time length you set for each task. It starts beeping once the time is up.
- Some writers let their creativity flow and use their oven timer as a tracking device. They set up the timer and with each ear shot they could figure out how much they had accomplished in the set time.
As a writer, you must know that gathering focus for writing is not something you achieve overnight. It is a skill that is acquired through regular practice. Do not feel bad when you’re unable to follow a day’s schedule. Make a new one and move on. Experiment with different patterns instead of choking on guilt.
Not writing for weeks or even months might discourage you, but unless you push yourself to sit down and start writing, you might not be able to get back into the groove.
Always plan ahead
Experienced and highly motivated writers always plan ahead. They do mental work outside their usual writing sessions. While waiting in line at the bank or grocery store, driving to work or while making dinner, they ponder character summaries, plot twists and structure. Thus, whenever they show up at the sessions, they are primed to do nothing but put their best ideas into words. Standing in the kitchen, boiling noodles has never been so productive!
Keep the novel plot in mind; wear it like a cloak whenever you go out so that when you sit down to write, you won’t have to go through unnecessary thoughts or a mental shift to bring your mind back from a writer’s block.
Article Author, Audrey Throne, Bio
Audrey Throne is a mother and blogger.
She has completed her masters in English literature from the University of Birmingham.
As a blogger she has written quite a few posts on health, technology as well as management.
She loves to discover new places and share experiences in words.