Read a lot
How many times have you been reading a book and all of a sudden an idea for that story you have been working on pops into your mind and you have to scribble it down before you forget? Use that to your advantage. If you’re struggling to focus, read for a while. Reading, after all, is research for writing. This gives you a break but keeps your mind in writers mode.
If something keeps pulling your focus
Write for you
Everyone knows how good it can be to write down your thoughts and feelings or just scribble in a journal. Sometimes it’s good to vent like this with your writing. Writing crap is better than writing nothing at all. Everything you write is still a learning experience. So, grab some pen and paper and write down
Make it a game
If you’re really struggling to focus think outside the box. Instead of seeing writing as a chore or just something you need to do. Make it fun and make it a game. Set yourself challenges such as completing a word count by a certain time or getting a reward when you’ve been writing for so long. This can force your brain into focus mode. You could even create some word of word games from your writing. Give yourself a break and see how many times you can use the word ‘sight’ in 300 words whilst making sure it still makes sense to the reader. Challenge accepted.
Remind yourself why you’re doing it
Sometimes a loss of focus can be because you’re doubting your skills as a writer or you have fallen out of love with what you’re writing. In that case, you need to remind yourself why you started writing in the first place. Focus on how it makes you feel.
Similar to when you remind yourself why you started in the first place. Sometimes it can be as simple as rewinding or replaying the story in your mind or an idea for a story to be able to pick it up again. Sit back, get comfortable and ready what you’ve already written. That can be enough to make you focus again and can even give you a new insight into what’s next for your story.
Schedule time for writing
It’s too easy to avoid writing if you don’t set time for it. Just like setting time for housework, your job and even eating. You have to set time aside for writing. Creating a general schedule to keep to can really help with this so you know on Thursday Morning, for example, you will be writing the plot line for the story whereas Friday Evening you need to be focusing on spending time reading. This is also a good way to make sure you don’t miss anything throughout your week.
Play that funky music
There have been endless studies done on the effects of music on your focus and general mood. There are even playlists on Spotify for concentration. Sit down, relax and get in the mindset of writing with some appropriate music.
Write or die
There is writing software and tools out there that help you with your lack of focus. Well, when I say help, I mean to punish. The premise is, if you don’t write a certain amount of words or right continuously without a break for a whole thirty minutes then everything you have written will be deleted. It doesn’t work for everyone but it’s worth a try. I like the one attached to the software ‘Storyline Creator’.
Take a breather
If you have tried all of the above and still can’t seem to get back into writer’s mode then take a step back and take a break. Sometimes that is all you need. Write something completely different or don’t write anything at all for a few days.