?

How long do you write at a time(as a hobby, not a job where you write)

  1. 30 minutes or less

    20.0%
  2. An hour or more

    80.0%
  1. Divorescent
    Offline

    Divorescent New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2016
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    5

    How do I stay focused on writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Divorescent, Jun 15, 2016.

    Lately, it's been very hard for me to write, which is bad because now that I have time to write, I can finally begin to write one of my stories. I get so distracted while writing that I can hardly write for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time. It's always social media or my phone. I'm sort of a beginner writer, so I need help staying focused so I can improve my skills.
     
  2. aguywhotypes
    Offline

    aguywhotypes Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    77
    Location:
    Millersburg, Ohio, United States
    You answered your own question.

    To write, do the following steps in order:
    Step 1: SHUT OFF THE INTERNET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Step 2: Write.
     
  3. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    Usually by thinking about my writing. Constantly. If I'm on the internet I scour for pictures that will help me with my story. Right now in my WIP my mc is a 14 year old boy who dumpster dives so I've been reading articles, looking at old junk, saving pictures creating a kind of collage to get me in the mood. I listen to music that he'd like and I have a picture of what I think he looks like. Before writing I look at the photos, listen to a song to help get me in the mood. I don't have the internet at home so I don't have that as an added distraction. But when I did I tried to put limits on myself - only check stuff every hour - five minutes, no more. That way I had an hour to write and often I'd be so immersed I wouldn't bother checking sites or if I did, I'd be eager to get back to work.
    The only thing that keeps me going is feeding my interest in my own story. I jot down lots of ideas on notepads when I'm away from the computer and then when I sit down I want to bring them to life. I want to flesh them out. I never think of writing as just that moment I sit down to write. It's creatively going on all day building till I can sit down at the computer.
     
  4. Simpson17866
    Offline

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,756
    Likes Received:
    1,297
    1) Shutting off the internet to avoid temptation to distract yourself with something external
    2) Putting on instrumental music (not lyrical) to drown out the distractions inside your own head
    3) Going someplace specific for writing that you don't normally go for anything else
     
  5. A.M.P.
    Offline

    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Messages:
    2,032
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Location:
    A Place with no History
    I find going to Sbux helps a lot with staying focused on writing.
    I think it's the environment, the white noise of drinks being made, and the atmosphere.

    Also, shut down your internet and open up your document.
    Even if you don't write, force yourself to stare at it for an hour.
    Eventually, writing will be so much better than doing nothing :3
     
    Divorescent likes this.
  6. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,685
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    All great suggestions. Especially #2, which I often narrow even further - not only don't I listen to anything with vocals, I try to make sure that even the instrumentals are not too invasive - smooth jazz, bebop, or certain classical composers, like Bach, Mozart, Respighi, or Debussy. If the music is too engrossing, it will dominate your attention and whatever else you are doing will fade. You want the music to be in the background.
     
    Simpson17866, Divorescent and jannert like this.
  7. Brindy
    Offline

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    I have a quiet place in the house to write, away from distraction where people know to leave me alone. I don't take my phone with me and close the Internet. If I come across things I need to research I make a note on a notepad, as I know if I go on to the Internet there and then, I will get distracted and lose my train of thought. I have separate research sessions, which means when I am writing I can focus on writing. It takes some strict self management though.
     
  8. ArQane
    Offline

    ArQane Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2016
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    23
    I'm bad at this, since I use Google Docs. Normally, playing epic music and avoiding other tabs helps me write for solid 30-60 minute intervals
     
  9. Simpson17866
    Offline

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,756
    Likes Received:
    1,297
    Personally, I find that heavy fast-paced music is helpful for writing heavy fast-paced scenes, and in my current vampire WIP my favorite heavy-theme is
    But you're right, there are also slower scenes in the same work that need a slower theme for writing. My favorite for those is
     
    Divorescent likes this.
  10. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,685
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Hmmm...I guess MJQ isn't on your playlist. :D
     
  11. Simpson17866
    Offline

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,756
    Likes Received:
    1,297
    MJQ?
     
  12. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,685
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Modern Jazz Quartet.
     
    I.A. By the Barn likes this.
  13. C Earnshaw
    Offline

    C Earnshaw New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2016
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Cheshire, United Kingdom
    I think there is no point waiting till you feel like writing or for the inspiration to strike and living on will power is usually a bad idea because will power isn't strong for anyone 100% of the time. I switch off all media, close the door on my office and keep going for a certain time period. It may be that what you write is absolute rubbish sometimes but you are setting a new habit and once a habit is formed things become much easier - plus the more you exercise that writing muscle the more they say you will improve. I treat it like work so I have to turn up on time and if I'm ever late I have to make my time up 'to keep the boss happy'. If you aren't happy writing for long periods it may help to break it up into bursts, you should be able to find out by experience what suits you as everyone is different. My husband always said when I took up long distance running that it's all the times I didn't feel like doing it that it most counts, and I apply this to my writing now.
     
  14. Sack-a-Doo!
    Offline

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,231
    Likes Received:
    1,511
    Location:
    [unspecified]
    Go write somewhere that has no Internet access and leave your phone at home.

    We never had these first-world problems when I was growing up. I feel so smug. ;)
     
    Simpson17866 and Brindy like this.
  15. Sack-a-Doo!
    Offline

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,231
    Likes Received:
    1,511
    Location:
    [unspecified]
    This one never worked for me. Being a musician, I put on music and it takes over my entire focus, whether I hate it or love it.
     
  16. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,685
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Well, that's the thing about these suggestions. They are very specific to the individual. Being a musician myself, I try to pick something that either is evocative of the time/place about which I'm writing (when I was writing about Cuba, I spent a lot of time listening to BVSC and Los Van Van) or else completely non-invasive.
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  17. Zorg
    Offline

    Zorg Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2016
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Sonora, CA
    This may sound utterly bizarre, but I will read something by another writer and get it in my head that I can do better. Then I take a notebook - not a laptop because it would be tempting to go online - and a pen and commit to a solid fifteen minutes. I may even take a beer with me or a pipe with some English tobacco and pretend I'm Faulkner. Even if nothing happens, I'm in the right place where something could happen, always thinking, and when it does, it goes on to paper.
     
  18. Zorg
    Offline

    Zorg Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2016
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Sonora, CA
    Which is why I kind of stick to soundtracks. There are tracks available that could correspond with the emotion of a scene or what have ye.
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  19. Fernando.C
    Offline

    Fernando.C Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2015
    Messages:
    170
    Likes Received:
    125
    Location:
    Lands Beyond the Wall
    This right here is one of the biggest problems I've been having with my writing. It's just so damn easy to get distracted and I've yet to find a conclusive solution. The only thing that sometimes works great is listening to music. I find when I'm listen to music it kinda 'fills' my brain, effectively drowning all other annoying and distracting thoughts. allowing me to focus single-mindedly on my writing .

    Of course it doesn't always work. Sometimes the distractions are too strong for the music to combat, and sometimes the music itself becomes the biggest distraction because its too invasive. So if you wanna go with the music solution try finding the music that works just fine for you. I have a pretty diverse taste in music so I listen to different songs based on my mood.
    But one songs that works great most of the time is the Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme song. Not only it's an awesome badass song, it's also just loud enough to drown out the distractions but not to loud as so become one itself. Well, it works for me at least :D
     
  20. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,685
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Not bizarre in the least. Challenging ourselves is how we get better.
     
  21. fred22
    Offline

    fred22 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2016
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    6

    Put the phone in another room.

    When you sit down, look at the clock and decide to write until a specific time. Perhaps for the next 75 minutes. Write until the time is up. Then, leave.
    The idea of writing at anytime, or for as long as you want, can stop you from starting. If you have too much time, you may procrastinate, and waste time.

    A temporary deadline focuses the mind.

    If you can, write at the same time each day. Cultivate a habit. You need to keep turning up to write to wear down your resistance.

    Much later, when you are up and running, you will disregard your older habits, the activity of writing coming naturally, and with less stress.
     
  22. nastyjman
    Offline

    nastyjman Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2010
    Messages:
    318
    Likes Received:
    139
    Location:
    NYC
    I set up a timer: 25 minutes for full-on writing and then 5 minutes for break. I do this three times, then I call it a day.
     
    BayView likes this.
  23. haider
    Offline

    haider Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    12
    I have the same problem , only when rewriting or writing boring scene. But push through.
     
  24. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,667
    Likes Received:
    5,162
    I think attention span/mental discipline is absolutely a tool that you need to consciously exercise and develop. Follow the suggestions in this thread - no phone, time, etc. - but keep it for a short period of time at first. If you're only confident you can manage ten minutes, then set a timer for ten minutes, and as soon as the time is up give yourself a short break, then set the timer for another ten minutes. When this is way too easy, bump it up to fifteen, then twenty, etc.

    Exercise.
     

Share This Page