March 9th 2023 | Cheryle Writes
Anyone spending extensive time behind a computer knows it’s not hard for your mind to start wandering off task. Writing of any kind, for many, is their job, or their hobby, and even then with those motivations, long writing sessions are especially prone to distractions.
Cheryle Boyle, a professional writer and self-published author, knows this better than anybody and today she wants to share 5 tips to maintaining focus during long writing sessions.
Inevitably, your mind will wander off-topic and you will be distracted. What happens next is what’s most important. Instead of feeding into the distraction, recognize it, and will yourself to get back on track. Since you know what that distraction is, it should be easier to avoid the next go-around.
Why are you writing at length? Is it a job? Leisure? What’s your goal? The point here is to emphasize the first point by changing your point-of-view. Getting out of your usual space and to a place more conducive to what you’re writing about, or simply getting away from here, may be all you need. When we’re here, wherever that is, the laundry, our dog, the TV, all tug at our attention. If you know a long writing session is coming, get out of dodge and try somewhere new.
Again to emphasize the point above (see the theme here?), scheduling a dedicated time to write means you’re more likely to be fully in the game when you sit down to put words on paper. This places importance on the task, allowing your mind to fully engage in the process since it knows the dirty dishes in the sink are coming up, right after you run out the clock behind your computer.
What is your goal for the session? What about the paper, blog post, or novel? The length of the project should be considered and just how many words or pages that looks like. With quantification, especially when you know how quickly you can type or write, it becomes a simple equation to figuring out what your ideal session will look like. This quantification becomes an expectation for yourself.
Writing sprints are a technique utilized by advanced writers, but may be something you add to your toolbox and train yourself to do. Some of the greatest minds in history used a form of this technique by which they would ‘sprint’ for a period, and rest for a shorter period. This technique can be used with writing by putting forth maximum effort in short, timed bursts, then taking a rest period and allowing your mind to wander for a much shorter period. The most common sprint is ten-minute sprints with a five-minute rest. Add in a timer for maximum effect!
Whether you’re a new writer or an experienced novelist, anyone can utilize the above techniques to avoid distractions during long writing projects. Cheryle Boyle is an expert in putting words on paper, quickly and effectively, and encourages you to check out her book, 538: Murder, Suicide and a Mother’s love, and her blog for more tips.