Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How Do You Stay Focused?

I'm in need of a few pointers today. My attention likes to wander a lot lately and I find myself getting distracted where my writing is concerned.

So here's a simple question for today:

How do you stay focused on your writing?


  1. I don't. I assume my mind knows what it's doing when it needs a break. I let it wander, and mull over unrelated things. The novel becomes someone else's history for a bit, and I leave my characters to get on with things alone. When I settle down to work with them again, even if it's weeks later, I become so focused, it almost hurts! But the mini-break seems to benefit all concerned - me and my characters! Of course, if the book is bad, nothing can save it but a long-term, possibly permanent, separation.

  2. I wish I could say I eagerly turn on my computer each day and the words pour out. But...that's not what happens. I force myself, and sometimes the words come, and sometimes they don't.

  3. Do you mean while you're writing or throughout the day? I try to unplug my wifi while writing so the internet doesn't distract me. Other than that, I kinda feel like writing takes over and I have to fight not to be distracted by writing when I should be doing other things.

    When I get distracted, I'm usually stuck with the plot and need to think really hard to get past it. When the plot's moving along, I find my thoughts just tend to go there.

  4. Funny, I'm just about to write a blog post on this very thing.

    If I'm not focusing, it's usually because the writing isn't going the way it that I mean, the story is heading down a wrong road. I find that if I leave the computer and work somewhere else with pen and paper, jotting notes, I can usually figure out where the story's going wrong. Sometimes I need to take a break entirely, and let my subconscious work on it.

    This happened over the weekend. Writing going badly. Spent 4 hours trying to brainstorm a plot point. Got nowhere. The next day, I woke up with an idea. Wrote for 3 hours, felt fabulous. Went back to it the next day, and...guess what, couldn't move forward. Took another break with pen and paper and I think now (I think) I've got it straightened out. We'll see!

    So for me: lack of focus = story going off the rails. Time to regroup!

  5. I have to love my story and then have the house alone!!

  6. Right now, I'm not staying too focused. I need to work on that.

  7. With great difficulty! ;o)

    I try (very, very hard) to just sit at the computer and write anything at all on the basis that rubbish can be edited/improved whereas a blank page is just depressing. When that doesn't work though, I tell myself that the subconscious is busy doing the important stuff even if I'm a bit distracted.

  8. When my writing is paying my bills, that's how I stay focused. When it isn't, I just wait for the muse, which often takes forever.

  9. I'm the wrong person to ask, but I'm starting to get back in a focused groove and probably reading a lot has led me back as much as anything.

  10. I write first thing in the morning before work so my distractions are minimized but lately I've been distracted too. My head just isn't in the game. Happens sometimes but it doesn't make it any less annoying...

  11. Guilt that I'm not writing tends to get me a little more focused. Although I've learned to ignore that a bit too.

  12. Great tips in here, everyone. I love how we all work so differently from each other. I think the best thing for me, when I'm actually writing and need to stay focused, is to work on a computer that is not hooked up to the Internet - which is why I mostly do all my writing on a laptop, sitting on the couch, and far away from my Internet connection.

    I really like to stay in touch with the story when I'm NOT writing, though. I feel so much more in-tune with it that way and feel as if I can pick up right where I left off when I get back to writing.

    Last night as I was driving home, I brainstormed the entire way - it was exhilarating, and also made the commute go much faster.


I love to hear from you!

New Digs

I've got a new home on the web - stop by if you get a chance!